The potential sale of a city-owned parking lot in Clayton’s central business district was delayed for a second time, with aldermen split on the deal.
Following a discussion lasting more than an hour at its Aug. 13 meeting, aldermen held a first vote in favor of selling the lot at Forsyth Boulevard to U.S. Capital development for $2,625,000.
Because the first reading vote was not unanimous, the board will take up a second and final reading on Aug. 27. The board began consideration of the sale on July 23, but delayed taking a vote at that time because not all board members were present.
The two votes against the project came from aldermen Ira Berkowitz and Joanne Boulton. Berkowitz said the lot, at a prime city location across from Shaw Park, could be worth substantially more, up to $9 million more, than the current asking price. Berkowitz questioned why an appraisal had not been done on the lot for several years.
Berkowitz also suggested that under the city’s master plan, a residential component for a building at that corner would be appropriate. Boulton said it would be appropriate to send out new requests for proposals for the corner to atract other possible projects.
Other aldermen were generally supportive of the project, saying it would keep several good corporate citizens in the city. The location is the last piece of developable property in the central business district controlled by the city.
U.S. Capital is proposing seven floors of office space above a six level parking garage, with street level retail and a green space on top of the garage.
During the meeting, U.S. Capital representatives said that if the building is approved, and if there is demand, they may come back to the city to ask for permission to build one or two additional floors of office space on the tower. Clayton-based Barry Wehmiller would be the building’s anchor tenant, leasing 50,000 square feet.
U.S. Capital plans to eventually build a second phase to the project, another tower at the eastern end of the block at Meramec, connected to the current tower by parking. For that to happen, U.S. Capital has been in talks with Commerce Bank, which owns property at the eastern end of the block.
In 2015, the city sold the parking lot for about $1.1 million to Flaherty & Collins, which was proposing a mixed use building for the site. The project, however, never developed and the city bought the lot back.
Board Member Sworn In
Susan Buse was sworn in to fill a board of aldermen seat in Ward 2. The seat was held by Michelle Harris, who was elected mayor earlier in the year. Buse, a former Clayton School Board member, ran unopposed for the opening on the board of aldermen.