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The St. Louis Housing Authority and McCormack Baron Salazar/Global9 celebrate groundbreaking of second phase of North Sarah HOPE VI community

February 14, 2013 | McCormack Baron Salazar

Public-private partnership continues efforts to bring new, quality housing and commercial opportunities to blighted areas of North St. Louis.

Construction has begun on the $29.8 million second phase of a mixed-use mixed income development that is working to revitalize a long-disinvested area of land just north of Gaslight Square  in St. Louis, Missouri.  

Projected to open in 2014, North Sarah Phase II will consist of 103 mixed-income rental housing units geared towards families plus 6,400 square feet of commercial/retail space.  Amenities will include a playground, computer center, fitness room, and community clubhouse.  The $30 million first phase of development, which opened in the fall of 2012, includes 120 housing units and nearly 12,000 square feet of commercial, management and community space, which will ultimately contain a small, locally-owned, fresh food grocery store.

The second phase of the community was made possible through a $7.8 million HOPE VI grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the St. Louis Housing Authority (SLHA).  “I am thrilled to collaborate with our development and funding partners in bringing new and innovative housing and business opportunities to the North Sarah community,” commented Cheryl Lovell, Executive Director of SLHA.

Both phases of the development are designed to Enterprise Green Communities standards, a version of USGBC’s LEED rating system adapted for affordable housing.  The sustainable features of the development will reduce the impact of the new community on the environment while reducing utility costs for residents.  Certification of the first phase is expected within the next month. 

“These first two phases represent a total investment of $53 million in this neighborhood – an investment that will generate lasting impacts in the City of St. Louis and for the State of Missouri,” explained Vince Bennett.  “Based on a recent economic impact report, the construction will result in $70 million in direct and indirect economic impact, create a total of 448 jobs, will generate $6 million in state and local taxes and will have an ongoing annual impact of $6 million after construction.  These results demonstrate that these neighborhood-scale mixed income developments not only support families and children, but also create jobs and generate needed tax revenues.”

In addition to the physical improvements, the development team has partnered with the non-profit Urban Strategies, Inc. to engage residents of the community and help lower-income residents follow viable, upwardly-mobile career and life paths, by connecting them with health, financial, recreational, educational, employment and entrepreneurial resources and services.  Another non-profit, TAALKE LLC, was engaged to coordinate disadvantaged business contracts and facilitate job training and Section 3 hiring opportunities for residents.

The North Sarah project is being developed by co-developers McCormack Baron Salazar and Global9 in partnership with the St. Louis Housing Authority.  KAI Design & Build (a Minority-Owned business) is serving as the lead Project Architect and McCormack Baron Ragan Management Services, Inc., an affiliate of the Developer will be the property manager.   R.G. Brinkmann Company, in collaboration with Simms Building Group (a Minority-Owned Section 3 business), is the General Contractor.

The $23.3 million housing component of the development was funded by the St. Louis Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, equity from U.S. Bank generated from tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission, a first mortgage provided by U.S. Bank, HOME funds provided by the Missouri Housing Development Commission, and funding from the City of St. Louis. US Bank is also providing construction funding.  The Housing Authority invested an additional $6.5 in resident supportive services, site acquisition and site preparation.