Luxury apartment project moves forward despite public push back

CLAYTON, Mo. – With a unanimous vote in favor, the Clayton City Council’s decision to move forward with the development of its parking lots continues to raise concerns.

The $70 million project calls for a 22-story luxury apartment building on the northeast corner of Brentwood and Forsyth boulevards.

The mixed used high-rise facility will contain approximately 228 luxury market rate one and two bedroom apartment units with 324 parking spaces and 7,852-square feet of tenant retail space and associated service spaces.

But some restaurants and business owners nearby said they rely on the parking lot because that is the only lot where their customers can park besides the limited street paid parking.

“This is the only parking spot for any guest that comes to this side of the city,” said Amer Abouwardah, owner of Ocean Bistro.

Abouwardah said he supports and welcomes development, but is concerned about why an issue such as lack of parking wasn’t taken into consideration.

“This is our livelihood,” Abouwardah said. “So if somebody is going to put a multi-story building and take everyone’s parking away, then they have to do something else to subsidize that.”

Nearby neighbors like Andrew Galakatos said that Clayton is too small of an area to handle what he believes is too large of a project.

“My concern is that it’s going to be over built and the recommendation that many of us have is to slow the process down or stop it all together,” he said.

The city has agreed to sell the property for $1.1 million. Galakatos said he and many other concerned residents know that the property is worth a lot more.

“There’s an estimate that that property itself is worth over $9 million,” he said. “So, in fact, the City of Clayton is subsidizing the development by $9 million.”

Mayor Harold Sanger was asked to explain that discrepancy.

“The $9 million figure was taken as a comparison to a parking lot that we sold to Centene and that is a completely different story,” Sanger said. “It was part of a package that went with another property and it was what the buyer was willing to pay.”

Sanger said that while he and the Board of Aldermen acknowledge business and residential concerns, the project will be beneficial to the city.

“What I tell them is that there will be about 400 people living in that building that will all be delighted to come eat their restaurants,” he said.

“Change is not easy, but without question the proposal that we have will provide adequate parking.”

Sanger said at this point it’s up to the developer to decide when the project will begin because there are still some plans that need to be approved.