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Construction begins on new apartment project in Forest Park Southeast

Affordable housing key piece of neighborhood revitalization led by Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp.

by Diane Duke WilliamsFebruary 12, 2021

Green Street St. Louis

Construction began earlier this month on an apartment project considered the final piece of a major effort by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and BJC HealthCare to help revitalize the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. The construction — called Union At The Grove — is in a three-block area south of The Grove, a popular entertainment district along Manchester Road.

Green Street St. LouisUnion At The Grove will provide the neighborhood with 160 new apartments, with more than half of the units with workforce-targeted rent — rent that is below the market average but above the threshold for low-income housing units. This type of housing is intended for middle-income employees who want to live close to their jobs. Workforce housing is part of a strategy some urban planners have adopted to retain below-market rent options in areas that have changed rapidly from lower-income neighborhoods into trendy entertainment and residential settings.

Green Street St. LouisUnion At The Grove will be comprised of six architecturally unique buildings on Hunt, Vista and Norfolk avenues between Newstead and Taylor avenues. The units with workforce-targeted rents will be mixed throughout each of the six buildings. Each of the buildings will have private entrances, courtyards, walking paths, shared rooftop terraces and balconies, bike storage and other amenities.

The $40 million construction project is being led by developer Green Street St. Louis and includes support from Greater St. Louis Inc. and IFF, a nonprofit financial institution. Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

Green Street St. Louis“This project is another expression of how Washington University, in partnership with BJC, views its obligation to improve the attractiveness and affordability of its surrounding community and St. Louis at large,” said David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor. “We hope our efforts will continue to draw employees of the university and nearby hospitals, city employees, professionals and young families to this vibrant neighborhood for years to come.”

Green Street St. LouisWashington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp. (WUMCRC) — a partnership between the School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare — began purchasing properties in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood in 2000 with the long-term goal of attracting developers with strong records in redeveloping and supporting mixed-income, diverse communities. Union At The Grove is an addition to low-income and market-rate housing that has been developed primarily within three blocks in the southwestern part of the neighborhood. WUMCRC also has supported investments in neighborhood safety, jobs, education and development of The Grove.

Green Street St. Louis“We were thrilled to work with Green Street and the other partners on this important effort that provides workforce housing, which was the missing piece in this area,” said Brian Phillips, assistant vice chancellor for Washington University Medical Center and executive director of WUMCRC. “Union At The Grove is a key segment of our strategy to improve quality of life for residents in Forest Park Southeast and to provide affordable housing for current residents and people looking to move into this neighborhood.”

Forest Park Southeast has experienced major revitalization in the past decade. This growth reflects the continued expansion of the Medical Campus as well as the development of the nearby Cortex Innovation Community, which has become a noted economic engine in the region.

Green Street St. LouisThe Forest Park Southeast neighborhood lies south and east of the Washington University Medical Campus and is bounded by Interstate 44 to the south, Kingshighway Boulevard to the west, Interstate 64/Highway 40 to the north and Vandeventer Avenue to the east.

Phillips said he is elated to see how the neighborhood has redeveloped. “If I look back at my career, I could never have imagined that Forest Park Southeast, and especially the southwest section, could reach this level,” he said. “It’s very rewarding to see this area come back as a neighborhood that has been stitched back together, instead of wiping a piece of geography clean and starting over. I also am proud of the role that Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp. has played in its revitalization.”