story by Robin Seaton Jefferson
That’s how owner and developer Cullinan Properties is billing Streets of St. Charles, a sophisticated and distinctive “mini city” on the banks of the Missouri River in the northwest corner of the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area where “Urbanism” meets Midwest charm.
“Individuals are attracted to environments like Streets of St. Charles for the convenience of having most of their daily needs met without the need to drive across town. Business owners, in turn, are drawn to these all-inclusive projects because they offer employees, shoppers and diners in a location that will be seen as a major destination for the entire region,” said Rob Wetherald, vice president of development for Cullinan.
When it’s finished, Streets will offer a town square environment with all the latest amenities for shopping, luxury living, modern offices, hotels, entertaining, and casual and elegant dining on 26 acres, where active pedestrians can visit sidewalk cafes and outdoor gatherings just feet from their jobs and homes.
The first building—a 100,000-square-foot office-commercial building—is 85 percent leased and open for business, said Wetherald. Several companies opened for business May 1 in this building including Wamhoff Financial Planning; Brown, Smith, Wallace; Cole & Associates; and The Art Institute of St. Louis. Five Guys Burgers & Fries opens August 1 and St. Charles Dental August 20. MassageLuXe is slated to open October 1 with Tucanos Brazilian Grill and Prasino following in November.
“The next building in queue is a 400,000-square-foot residential-commercial structure,” Wetherald said Letters of Intent have been signed or are in final negotiation for about 90,000 square feet of that building, he said. Construction began in the summer on the structure that will contain about 45,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Phase II will include ground floor retail, entertainment as well as 310 luxury apartment units on the upper floors.
“So prospective tenants are working diligently to make sure they are part of the next phase of the project,” Wetherald said. “Interest is also coming from prospective tenants for buildings that will be developed in future phases of the project, starting next year.”
A 1,250-car adjacent parking structure will encourage visitors to join residents in their pedestrian-friendly lifestyle, Wetherald said. “The space is designed to mitigate traffic congestion with multiple access points into two parking garages housing 2,000 spaces.” Wetherald admits there are similarities between Streets of St. Charles and New Town St. Charles, another live-work-play community in St. Charles, but there are also differences that make each project distinctly its own. “Streets of St. Charles offers much more of an urban environment than that at New Town,” he said. “Given its location on Interstate 70 and South Fifth Street—the major commercial street in St. Charles— Streets provides an environment unlike anything else in the area, including New Town. Its mix of retail shops, restaurants, office space, residences, medical facilities, educational institutions, hotels and entertainment venues establishes Streets as a ‘city within a city.’ Although unique to the St. Louis-metropolitan area, this urban destination for shopping, dining, living and working is a model that has been greeted with great success in other parts of the country.”
A theater will offer the latest cinema technology and a full range of services and amenities, all presented in an up- scale entertainment setting. Wetherald said Cullinan anticipates a live entertainment club, restaurant and bar in the larger entertainment complex where the theatre will be housed. The company does not yet have authorization to announce the tenants of the entertainment complex.
Negotiations have not been settled on what hotel tenants might be included in the project.
Wetherald said that while an ailing economy played a part in the timing of the project, which was slated to open in 2010, Streets is running at full steam today. “Like all projects of this type, there is a great deal of behind-the-scenes work that must be completed before the first spade of dirt is turned,” he said. “There is no question the downturn in the economy impacted the project, but the project owner and developer demonstrated a great deal of confidence in the project and in the city of Saint Charles by proceeding with the up-front planning, marketing and leasing so the project could proceed. With the project coming on-line as the economy improves, Cullinan’s strategy positions Streets of St. Charles as the most viable solution for any business looking to expand.”
With offices in Chicago and Peoria, IL and St. Louis, MO, Cullinan is a multi-disciplined real estate firm that develops, manages and owns mixed-use, retail, multi-family, office and medical properties throughout the United States. For more information on Cullinan, visit www.cullinanproperties.com.