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(Read more on the multifamily market.)

ST. LOUIS-Opus Northwest LLC has broken ground on a $24 million condominium building that’s next to its current 26-story Park East Tower high-rise project that is now almost 100% sold. The new project, Park East Lofts, will have 52 units in a six-story building.

Since the Tower development went so well, the company decided to continue building condos in the area, says John Pitcher, an Opus vice president and manager of the St. Louis office. “It was a proven market,” Pitcher tells GlobeSt.com. “We had used the area next door to the Tower for its staging and construction. Along the way, we realized that this would be a more-than viable market for condos, and we’ve proven we can sell north of $300 per sf, a new benchmark in the city. We came up with the idea to have a low-rise project that would have a different orientation, a loft-style design. Also, we had a huge investment in the tower, the last thing we wanted was for someone to move next door and build a building that would block our views.”

The Lofts project hits a lower price market, Pitcher says. “The units are more affordable to people working in the nearby hospital complex, about 20% of our potential buyers for the Lofts development are related to the medical center.”

The land was owned by the St. Louis Treasurer’s Office, which has title to the city’s parking lots and structures. The Treasurer’s Office will continue to own the property, and in return Opus is providing 180 public spaces in the building’s parking structure. More than 100 more spaces will be set aside for tenants, Pitcher says. The property will also have 6,000-sf of retail space on Euclid, he says.

Pitcher says he acknowledges that the condo market has started to wane in the past six months, but that he feels the Park East projects are insulated from problems. “You see the softening where the condos were driven by speculation. Here, there hasn’t been a huge amount of condos built in the downtown, our sales have been driven by people who want to live in the units. There has been some slowdown, but we’ve seen some pickup of activity by late January-early February,” he says.

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