By Terry Hillig
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
O’FALLON, ILL. — Balke Brown Associates of St. Louis plans to start work this spring on a 232-unit, high-end apartment development near the intersection of Green Mount Road and Frank Scott Parkway East.
The CEO, Steve Brown, said he thinks Parkway Lakeside Apartment Houses will be the premier upscale apartment complex in the St. Louis area.
Brown said the $27 million project makes sense because of its location. He said there is a strong market for luxury apartments in the area around Scott Air Force Base, which employs about 15,000 people and is largely unaffected by the current recession.
“(Many) people don’t understand that Scott Air Force Base is the Number 3 employer in the St. Louis area,” Brown said. “Scott is growing and adding people.”
The apartments will be built on a 20-acre site on the north side of Frank Scott Parkway, about 2,000 feet west of Green Mount Road. It will be adjacent to Green Mount Lakes Apartments, built by Balke Brown Associates five years ago and later sold. The two projects are at the edge of a booming restaurant and retail district and about a minute’s drive from Interstate 64. The company owns five acres of adjacent land planned for commercial development.
The building contractor will be Holland Construction Services of Swansea. Riverstone Residential of Dallas will manage the property for Balke Brown.
Humphreys & Partners of Dallas designed it, using the “big house” concept pioneered by that firm.
The 20 two-story apartment structures will have 10 to 14 units and be designed to look like large houses. The buildings will have only single front entrances with no breezeways or exposed stairways. Many units will have enclosed parking. Other amenities will include fireplaces, patios, balconies, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, a putting green, a walking trail and a recreational lake.
Prices will range from $950 monthly for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,650 for a two-bedroom unit with two-car garage.
Some aldermen questioned the company’s proposal to make some parking spaces a foot shorter than the city’s 19-foot requirement, but the City Council ultimately agreed to variances that will allow 11 fewer parking spaces than the 476 that otherwise would be required by city code. RELATED LINKS
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Brown said the council agreed that 60 percent of those could be 18 feet rather than 19 feet deep and said the variances will allow a design that will feature 45 percent open or green space.
“We made the argument that green is better than black,” he said. “I think the project would have been less eco-friendly” if built to the letter of the code.
Ted Shekell, O’Fallon’s planning and zoning director, said city officials welcome the project.
“Balke Brown has been a great part of our town so far,” he said. In addition to the earlier apartment development, the company also built an office building on the other side of I-64.
Shekell said he thinks the new development will be “a good fit for O’Fallon and this area. In a tough economic environment, we’re happy to have them interested in our community. I think it’s the kind of project you need for people who aren’t looking to buy (single-family houses) right now.”
Shekell said development has slowed in O’Fallon, but the city of 30,000 still had 110 new houses started in 2009. That’s down from a 15-year average of 240, but house building is a near standstill in many area communities and around the country.
“Scott is a leveling influence on the economy of this area,” Shekell said. There has been a downturn but investment has not stopped.”
Brown said the area “feels like a young Chesterfield” to him.
“There is no recession there,” he said.
A letter to the NAA regarding an email they deleted without reading – please retract your amicus in the Abad case in Arizona – it is fraud by a political action committee, the National Apartment Association, that is furthering another fraud by another political action committee, the US Chamber of Commerce
Political Action Committee – NAA – files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer
Information on Riverstone Residential knowingly exposing tenants to extreme amounts of mold toxins at Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana