South of Highway 290, much of South Congress Avenue retains its original appearance of industrial properties, car dealerships, and self-storage units. After all, this area’s pretty far from downtown by the typical standards of density — but you’ll still find pockets of rapid development along the avenue that seem to imply that won’t be the case for long.
Possibly the best example of this can be found in what’s apparently now dubbed the St. Elmo District, a cluster of industrial properties along St. Elmo Road east of South Congress Avenue being quickly transformed with the arrival of apartment and commercial developments, food trucks, and an indoor-outdoor public market space. It would only make sense that adjacent properties on South Congress Avenue would begin to experience growth, and we’re now seeing the first evidence of just that.
A January 9 Meeting of the city’s Planning Commission discussed the rezoning of a site at the corner of South Congress Avenue and St. Elmo Road, a former car dealership located at 4401 South Congress Avenue, to allow for vertical mixed-use development.
According to the commission, this site will be combined with the property to the south formerly occupied by the Hopf Monument Company at 4411 South Congress Avenue, and though each address has filed a separate site plan, development on both tracts will total 268 apartment units, more than 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and at least 3,000 square feet of office space, possibly between a number of buildings — the commission states that these projects will likely have a “combined appearance.”
(28 of the residential units will be located at the 4401 address, with plans for the adjacent 4411 site showing 240 units built there — that’s where I’m getting the combined totals, you see!)
The developer associated with both sites is Cypress Real Estate Advisors, which holds a variety of investments in existing multifamily and mixed-use projects around the city including Corazon, Sabina, and Lakeshore. None of the filings associated with either site include any indication of their appearance outside of planned usages and unit counts, but it’s important to note that vertical mixed-use zoning for the corner site doesn’t actually change the allowed height of a potential development on the address — the maximum height remains at 60 feet.
Rather, the vertical rezoning will allow the developer to build only 60 percent of the usual minimum requirement for parking if they choose to do so, and grants the ability to add one additional residential unit to the property, bringing the total unit count from 27 to 28 for the 4401 South Congress Avenue address, with 3 of these units designated as affordable housing priced at 60 percent MFI.
In the end, the commission unanimously approved vertical mixed-use zoning for the site, meaning we’ll probably find out more details on what’s planned sooner than later. In the meantime, I’ll have to get used to this whole “St. Elmo District” thing — the pace of development in this general area doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.