Metro transit’s former headquarters in Laclede’s Landing is slated to be converted into 26 new apartments and offices for hundreds of new workers that a marketing agency next door plans to add.
St. Louis Development Corp. approved on Thursday using $5 million in New Markets Tax Credits for the $11 million project led by Brian and Mike Minges of Advantes Development, according to an SLDC report.
Advantes plans to put 26 apartments into the rehabbed, century-old warehouse that from 1982 until 2015 housed the offices of the region’s mass transit operator, Metro. Metro is now based in the Metropolitan Square office tower.
The building, at 701 North First Street, will also include three floors of office space that Abstrakt Marketing Group plans to use. The street level of the building will be converted to a mix of retail and office suites that the city said should employ about 50 people. Advantes plans to be finished with the project by the end of the year.
Abstrakt, which currently employs about 200 people next door at Raeder Place, 727 North First Street, plans to grow to near 300 people by the end of this year, said Melanie Clark, Abstrakt’s marketing director. The firm hit $13.5 million in revenue last year and projects rising to $21 million next year. “We’re hiring between five and 10 employees a month as of right now,” Clark said.
Advantes plans to connect Abstrakt’s existing office space to the former Metro building and create a contiguous office space. Abstrakt is still finalizing a lease for the new space.
Abstrakt was founded in 2009 and offers a range of marketing services with a special emphasis on lead generation, Clark said. She said the firm’s employees are looking forward to seeing Laclede’s Landing, which has been plagued by access issues during the years-long Arch grounds construction project, open up a bit more. And, she said, Abstrakt hopes it can help “revitalize” the Landing by continuing to add workers.
“We’re 100 percent out of St. Louis right now, which is why we’re growing on the Landing,” Clark said. “We don’t want to go anywhere, we just want to take up a little more space.”
After Metro announced its move in 2015, it sold the building to 701 North First Street LLC in November of that year. City real estate records list developer Amos Harris as a contact for the company.
Advantes is the developer behind the recent project in Soulard to convert the 110-year-old Lafayette School, designed by famed school architect William B. Ittner, into 36 apartments.
The city’s assistance for the project comes from a pool of $75 million in New Markets Tax Credits the U.S. Treasury Department awarded to SLDC in November. Last month, SLDC approved using $13 million to start a revolving loan fund and $5 million to help the Deaconess Foundation build a new headquarters.
Since its expansion into 701 North First Street, Abstrakt has continued to grow its presence on the Landing. The lead generation, marketing, video production, and Salesforce consulting business now occupies three buildings in the area.
Though the historic region has had its setbacks over the years, the Landing is well on its way to becoming a place to work, live, and experience the rich culture St. Louis has to offer. In the upcoming years, Abstrakt plans to continue its investment in the Landing as it grows its operations.