The SouthSider

Preservation Board approves apartments – with more bricks

BENTON PARK – A neighborhood group is pleased with plans for a four-story, 42-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of Jefferson Avenue and Lynch Street. But they’d like to have more brick and less metal on the exterior. 

The St. Louis Preservation Board agreed. It gave preliminary approval to build the 57,440-square-foot structure, at a meeting on Feb. 24. But the board stipulated that much of the exterior on the southwest corner facing Jefferson and the northeast corner facing Lynch should be brick. That would look more substantial.

The preservation board also stipulated that final drawings, exterior materials and colors must be reviewed and approved by the Cultural Resources Office. The building, at 2800 S. Jefferson Ave., would be in the Benton Park Historic District.

Tim Mulligan, who chairs the Benton Park Building Review Committee, said that adding more brick on the southwest corner would mean that those driving north on Jefferson would see more traditional material. 

Nonetheless, Mulligan spoke positively of the overall project.

“The building we all felt was very handsome [and] will be a tremendous investment to the neighborhood,” he told the preservation board. 

The developer is the Flyover Fund, founded last year; its managing partners are Drew Sandler and Kyle Howerton. Its website describes itself as a real estate opportunity fund focusing on infill and mixed-use commercial development. 

The website says it is planning or developing projects in neighborhoods including Clayton, The Grove, Fox Park, Midtown, Benton Park and Tower Grove East and Tower Grove South. 

“We love the neighborhood,” Sandler said. “We are nearby, and we drive past this parcel all the time. We would love to see South Jefferson continue to grow. There’s a lot of opportunity on South Jefferson.”

The owner is the Land Reutilization Authority of St. Louis.

“We spent a couple of months working with them on some different ideas,” Sandler said. “We put an option contract with them in December and hope to get involved with something that contributes to the neighborhood.”

Sandler said it was too early to come up with a final construction budget.

“Because we’re so early in the process, we obviously still have more work to do with the neighborhood and with the [St. Louis] Cultural Resources Office,” he said.

“We’re ready to go as soon as possible,” Sandler added. “We would love to see this project out of the ground this year, but because we’re so early in the process, there are many more steps before we can actually turn dirt.”

The rentals would be market rate, in keeping with the cost in the neighborhood, Sandler said. But he wouldn’t say what the rents might be.

Forty-two parking spaces would be below the building.

As now designed, the building’s facade would primarily be corrugated metal with some bricks. 

Mulligan expressed concern that the building’s proportion would be too high for the surrounding structures. While it is four stories, most surrounding structures are 1½-to-2½ floors. 

A report by the city’s Cultural Resources Office said the mass of the building would be comparable with 2836 S. Jefferson Ave., an industrial structure to the south. But residential buildings nearby are smaller.

“However, there is a precedent in the district for corner buildings to be larger than adjacent structures,” the report said.

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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