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Botanical Heights “Phase 2” greenlit

When half of the old McRee Town neighborhood was razed by McBride & Son Homes in 2004 to create the new neighborhood/subdivision Botanical Heights, most people didn’t seem too upset. Although the plan used questionable eminent domain tactics, there was no denying that the St. Louis neighborhood needed a lot of attention. Although the development did help to stabilize the eastern half of the neighborhood, the undeveloped sections of Botanical Heights have not seen much in the way of spin-off development since McBride started their project five years ago. That seems like it is about to change as an unofficial “Phase 2” of project is set to formally break ground on Friday, March 18th.

Following the groundbreaking, developer Urban Improvement Construction (UIC) will immediately begin construction on the $20 million LEED-certified redevelopment of the area, to be dubbed Botanical Grove. Although there had been some growing skepticism about the financing for this project after it did not break ground as planned in late 2010, it seems that things are again lining up.  Plans still call for the first stage to include 17 rehabbed and 14 new infill structures, with the potential to eventually expand that to cover eight square blocks in Botanical Heights neighborhood.

The first wave of the project, which is to immediately follow the March 18th groundbreaking, will be the construction of two display homes on the 4200 block of McKree: one a new home, the other a rehab. The other 29 homes to be built in this first phase will also be built on this block. UIC will also be renovating the former gas station at the intersection of McKree and Tower Grove. This intersection has been featured previously on the Threshold blog as UIC has already completed two projects at the corner. When complete, this building will serve as a neighborhood cafe and sales center for the development. Additionally, with the news of the new groundbreaking date came the announcement that the City Garden Montessori Charter School, currently located at 2109 S Spring Avenue in the Shaw neighborhood, will also be relocating to the project site along Tower Grove Avenue in the near future.

Pricing is set to run from $165,000 to $250,000, with inventory coming available gradually over the next few years, depending on demand. Best of all, the plan will not use any eminent domain and UIC will be including contemporary styling on their infill properties, unlike the more suburban-styled McBride homes to the east. And with the project having the potential to eventually affect hundreds of buildings, hopefully UIC can help give the Botanical Heights neighborhood the happy ending it deserves.

For more information on the project, or for sales info, check out UIC’s dedicated Botanical Grove website. For a closer look at the current condition of the area, check out the gallery below.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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