ST. LOUIS-The Pyramid Cos. held its launch celebration Thursday night for the 580,000-sf Laurel, a redevelopment of the Dillard’s building, which will have a new 216-room hotel, 35,000 sf of retail, 74 condos and 120 apartments. The building is part of a more than $450-million project announced this week by a joint venture of Pyramid and South Norwalk, CT-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners LLC.

The project, dubbed the Mercantile Exchange, also includes 525,000 sf of new and redeveloped office space, another 101 condos and 125,000 sf of retail, and 1,200 new parking spaces. The development is bounded by Seventh St., Convention Plaza, Broadway St. and Olive St.

The retail portion will be added to the 300,000-sf Macy’s, a property formerly known as the Railway Exchange Building. General Growth Properties, based in Chicago, will handle the retail leasing for the project. The venture plans to contain new stores that include apparel and furniture, restaurants, entertainment, public art and music venues, according to a statement.

The 25-story St. Louis Centre building, which includes the former TWA home, the One City Centre office tower, will be redeveloped and renamed the Concord. The development will also include the vacant Mercantile Library building at Sixth and Locust streets. The joint venture is reportedly receiving about $115 million in tax incentives for the project.

The project will include the removal of sky bridges across Washington and Locust that join the Concord/former St. Louis Center to its neighboring buildings, with the removal taking place in spring 2008. Construction of the Concord starts in the summer of 2008, and the anticipated completion for the neighborhood is in 2010.

Clayton Fowler, chairman and CEO of Spinnaker, tells that the joint venture is also renovating the former Jefferson Arms Hotel on Washington, spending another $100 million. “We are going to return it to a hotel, with some residential in addition,” Fowler says. He says his firm, which mostly concentrates on the coasts, started investing in St. Louis about six years ago. “We’re happy to be here doing this project; it’s been great watching the city grow and revive.” Spinnaker is known for the redevelopment of former rail yards in downtown Portland, OR into 3,000 new housing units and street retail known as Hoyt Street Properties, and the redevelopment of the Reed Putnam Project, a 70-acre, mixed-use project in Fairfield County in Connecticut.

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