Case Studies

Streets of St. Charles: A Mixed-use Development a Long Time Coming

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When St. Charles, Mo., city officials approved the Streets of St. Charles mixed-use development in 2006, they saw it as a movement toward urbanization. Development of the 26-acre site continues as tenants begin to occupy residential, retail and office space in what is already being viewed as economic success for the area.

The development was brought to life and undertaken by a residential developer who later sold the property. In 2009 Cullinan Properties Ltd. (Cullinan), based in Peoria, Ill., took over site development and began with a $40 million bond, helping to finance the development’s public improvements.

Cullinan claims more than $600 million in successful real estate project development to date. The developer boasts a strong reputation focused on distinctive projects across the country. The company has undertaken and is currently working on a number of site developments similar to the $300 million Streets of St. Charles project.

St. Louis-based Tri Architects and Dallas-based Humphrey & Partners Architects are the primary companies designing the 1 million-square-foot development. Cullinan and the architects are working with general contractor Brinkmann Constructors (Brinkmann).

Brinkmann, based in Chesterfield, Mo., is a national contractor specializing in large projects in a variety of commercial and industrial fields. Dan Feagans, project manager for Brinkmann, explains this project features a town square environment with all the latest amenities for shopping, luxury living, modern offices, casual and elegant dining, hospitality and entertaining.

Located just off Interstate 70 at the 5th Street Interchange, the development sits on a 26-acre site. The site is the former location of Noah’s Ark, a restaurant and hotel that was a landmark for St. Charles. “The development has great visibility for traffic on Highway 70,” says Feagans.

The first building on-site was completed in spring 2012, and is already near full occupancy. One tenant is the Art Institute of St. Louis, which is already holding classes on-site. Feagans reports that the current construction projects on the development are a 400,000-square-foot residential/commercial structure and a 1,250-spot parking garage. Both projects will being in fall 2012. The second phase of the project features 309 luxury apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, according to Feagans.

Overcoming Hurdles

Once Cullinan took over the Streets of St. Charles project, the team worked with city officials to create a plan that would suit the town’s needs and the developer’s desires. The intent was to create a destination for visitors and a resource for residents.

Plans were tweaked to meet the changing market demands, including increasing the original number of residential units and increasing retail and office space. Cullinan also planned for parking garages to encourage a more pedestrian site once people arrived at the Streets of St. Charles.

These changes also meant cooperation on the city’s side and flexibility on the general contractor’s part. According to Feagans, nearby streets are being reworked to accommodate traffic and meet grade specifications for the site. This includes raising a street south of the development some 20 feet.

As interest in the Streets of St. Charles develops, tenants may request certain features; therefore, the design team and construction team have to be able to adapt to such requested changes. To date, Cullinan has already attracted several businesses, including Five Guys Burgers and Fries, as well as Tucanos Brazilian Grill and Prasino.

It Takes a Village

The Streets of St. Charles is an enormous development project and is expected to take years to complete. With this in mind, Cullinan looked for financial stability and reputable firms that would succeed throughout the project’s life.

Brinkmann competed with about five other general contractors for Streets of St. Charles project. “I think our connection to the St. Charles area and our professional reputation set us apart,” he says.

Founded in 1984, Brinkmann has handled a number of large projects across the country. As a general contract, Feagans reports that Brinkmann doesn’t self-perform work; rather, the company seeks bids from local subcontractors. This allows the company to provide the most cost-effective project and to focus the team’s time on the overall project.

Brinkmann has developed a habit of working only with subcontractors that are members of local unions within the St. Louis area. This helps preserve a level of quality on the job.

Once this second phase of the project is complete, Brinkmann still has a long way to go before Streets of St. Charles is complete. “After that second phase we will probably have completed only a third of the development,” says Feagans. He estimates there will be approximately 10 buildings on-site once the project is complete.

The current phase, which includes the residential building, is expected to be move-in ready by summer 2014. After that, Brinkmann Constructors will continue working with subcontractors until the Streets of St. Charles is complete.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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