Project Category: Building Affordable Housing
Organization Name: Arcade Apartments
Organization Website: http://www.arcade-apts.com
800 Olive Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Project Cost: $118,118,671
The Arcade Building is a historical landmark that was built in 1906. Originally housing offices and retail, Arcade was once known as the largest indoor shopping mall in the country as well as the largest concrete structure in the world. After closing completely in 1978, the Arcade building remained vacant for over 30 years until Dominium purchased the property in 2014. This project is the transformation of a 100-year old, 19-story office building into a mixed-use, mixed-income community comprised of 282 apartments and 55,000 square feet of commercial space. This is the largest housing development in downtown St. Louis in the last 50 years, recasting the area as a community where St. Louisans can work, play, and now live, while subsequently nurturing further redevelopment of the surrounding area.
The architect seamlessly combined two buildings into one project with over 50 distinct unit plans. The measures taken to preserve the integrity of the historic character were extensive.
Current Status: The Arcade is currently 100% leased with a waiting list.
Community Needs Addressed:
The Arcade meets the needs of artists in the St. Louis market that desire a collaborative and artist-focused community in which to live. The Arcade provides them with opportunities to meet other like-minded artists, as well as many studio spaces to support their artistic endeavors (including dance, paint, and music studios, among many more). The Arcade community offers affordable rents that are more than $300 below market rents for the area. The Arcade also serves the needs of those who may work in the downtown area and desire to live in the heart of downtown St Louis. This historic renovation has energized and brought to life an area of downtown St. Louis that is populated with several businesses and housing options. A once decaying and boarded up building has now been revitalized and become a landmark in downtown St. Louis.
Benefits and outcome:
The impacts of the Arcade’s restoration on downtown St. Louis cannot be overstated. This vacant 500,000 sq. ft. structure was once a downtown eyesore, and is now an award-winning, beautifully restored building with 282 mixed income residents, a 55,000 sq. ft. College campus that supports good-paying jobs and classes for over 4,000 people each year. The Arcade provides low-income residents access to excellent housing, a safe neighborhood and hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.
This project offers housing for both artists at affordable income levels, as well as art enthusiasts and creatives in the market rate category. The state-of-the-art facilities that Arcade offers provides resources to many artists who could not otherwise afford them. The building houses a wide array of artistic households ranging from young professionals and millennials to recent retirees.
Another beautiful aspect of the community is that the artists begin to form collaborations with each other. This allows them to expand both personally and professionally within the community. In addition, the walkability of the area surrounding Arcade provides the community a sense of place that this unique population seeks in a place to live.
Project partners and collaborators:
In 1998, the St. Louis community rallied around a downtown revitalization plan called, Downtown Now! This plan actually mentioned the historic restoration of the Arcade building being an important component of the effort. 15 years later, the City of St. Louis spearheaded this revitalization effort by acquiring the Arcade, and hand selecting Dominium to complete the restoration. Of the 17 Arcade funding sources, 15 were Missouri based – this was truly a local community effort.
What makes your project unique?
Dominium arranged financing from 12 different sources to restore this jewel and would not have been possible without the strong financial support of the numerous financing partners. The largest financing partners involved in the transaction were BMO Harris Bank and U.S. Bank. US Bank committed approximately $56 million in equity to secure their investment in the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal Historic Tax Credits, and New Markets Tax Credits. U.S. Bank also provided a $35 million construction loan to help finance the major renovation.
The project also benefits from generous financial support from the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, St. Louis Development Corporation, the Missouri Housing Development Commission and the MO Department of Economic Development (DED). Permanent financing is being provided by Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors (Mass Mutual) and BMO Harris Bank.
Ultimately, our success has been proven by the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the city and neighborhood, as well as the 100% occupied rate. This project sets the standard for how a historic renovation should be completed. The seamless and thoughtful blending of historic features with modern amenities creates a community that fully appreciates its history while providing superior accommodations for residents. Arcade, with its unique gothic design and beautifully restored features will be a landmark property in downtown St. Louis for decades to come. A once decaying and boarded up building has now been revitalized and become a landmark in downtown St. Louis.
Very few projects in the country combine a college campus with housing. Very few projects combine LIHTC with NMTC and federal and state HTC as well. Very few projects are both mixed income and mixed use. The Arcade is all of these things.
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