With a sluggish economy, talks of large-scale development projects often vanish from the local conversation. Considering this consistent trend, it was a safe bet that the proposed plans for two 16-story Drury Hotels in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood would end up in development limbo. According to the folks at Drury, however, this project could still be a “go”.Yesterday, a resident of the neighborhood passed along the following letter from Drury President, Tim Drury:
To the residents of Forest Park Southeast:
With the holidays now behind us, I wanted to bring you up to date on the progress of our proposed hotel development at the southeast corner of I-64 and Kingshighway since I last sent you an update in late October.
Most importantly, our enthusiasm for the project remains strong. We are continuing to meet with property owners in the neighborhood and now have several properties under contract.
Despite that progress, however, we are still in the preliminary stages of this project. As with many development projects across the country, the ongoing downturn in economic conditions has slowed the pace of this project. Accordingly, it may now be summer or later before we are able to define the desired boundaries of the development and have enough other information available to make any further presentations to the neighborhood. While we continue to review and adjust our plans in light of issues raised by residents, we have not yet prepared any new site plans or renderings, nor have we had any further discussions with the City of St. Louis regarding this development.
We appreciate your patience, as well as the suggestions and enthusiasm so many of you have brought to this project. As we move forward, we will do our best to continue to keep you informed of our progress.
Tim Drury, President
Drury Development Corporation
For those unaware, this project was proposed in August by Drury Development. Plans call for two 345 room, 16-story hotels to be built at the southeast corner of the intersection of Kingshighway and Interstate 64 (Highway 40) in the Forest Park Southeast (Grove) neighborhood. Most of the land for the site would be property that was reclaimed after the completion of the Interstate 64, but the project would also call for the demolition of as many as seven properties in the neighborhood. The Saint Louis Beacon has a more detailed writeup of the situation if you want more information on the proposal.
Neighborhood residents seem largely against the project citing concerns that the project is out of place in the low-rise residential community and that it would destroy views throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention the potential for additional traffic-flow through neighborhood streets. Following another meeting on the topic in December 2008, neighborhood officials are still polling the opinions of neighborhood residents. In the coming months the neighborhood will likely put the matter to a vote, which will give a better indication of where things are headed.
If this project, in one form or another, goes forward, it could have a huge impact on the neighborhood. In tandem with other large-scale proposals such as Station G along the northern extremes of the neighborhood, the area could eventually be completely transformed.