Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Housing Coming to Ikea's Neighborhood

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Housing Coming to Ikea's Neighborhood

Article excerpt

Now that St. Louis' Ikea store is open and drawing the predicted swarm of shoppers, developers are busy with residential and commercial projects near the store at Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues.

In sight of the massive blue and yellow furniture store, which opened Sept. 30, is Gerhart Block at 3910 Laclede Avenue. It's an $8 million rehab of a structure built for $40,000 in 1897 for a realty company.

Its current owner, Capstone Development of Clayton, is redoing the two-story building as 17 apartments and ground-floor commercial space.

Capstone's president, Bill Luchini, said street and sidewalk improvements done for Ikea will have a positive spillover effect in the area. Foot traffic will increase, he said.

Already signed to lease a Gerhart Block storefront is a Gyro Co. restaurant, Luchini said. A coffee shop and restaurant is near an agreement to occupy a larger, more prominent corner space, he said.

A Gerhart Block display apartment is opening this week, he added. Monthly rents for the two- or three-bedroom apartments will range from $1,695 to $1,920. Luchini said the apartments will be ready for occupancy by year's end.

Across Vandeventer from Gerhart Block is the Standard at 3853 Forest Park. It's five floors of new apartments for students at nearby St. Louis University. The developer, Sangita Capital Apartments, has said the 164-unit project was 90 percent leased before it opened in August. Sangita and Landmark Properties, a student housing developer from Athens, Ga., are behind the project, which went up without tax incentives.

More than 400 market-rate apartments have been built in the last two years west of SLU and north of the Cortex technology district, where Ikea is situated. More are planned or under construction.

Developers welcome Ikea and say growth of Cortex and expansion of Washington University School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare east of Kingshighway are driving up the demand for new housing. …

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