This week, the City of St. Louis closed one of the largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) projects nationwide with the recent financing of the Missouri Theatre building at 634 N. Grand in the Grand Center Arts District in Midtown St. Louis. Set the PACE St. Louis, the City’s clean-energy financing program, will help the developer, Lawrence Group, install comprehensive energy efficiency measures as part of the overall $65 million mixed-use development. The project will include the 146-room boutique Angad Arts Hotel, a full-service restaurant, two 3,000-square-foot banquet rooms and separate meeting facilities, and a 150-vehicle parking lot.
“We are excited for Set the PACE St. Louis to play a significant role in the development and energy savings of an important and iconic structure in the Grand Center Arts District,” said Otis Williams, secretary of the City of St. Louis Clean Energy Development Board (CEDB), which provides oversight for the program. “This project will achieve millions in savings and create more than 1,200 well-paid, local construction jobs in addition to creating 170 ongoing jobs in the hospitality sector."
The PACE-financed portion of the Missouri Theatre redevelopment is expected to achieve $659,527 in total cost savings in the first year through savings on energy and maintenance and operations expenses. Energy improvements include: insulation, windows, LED lighting, high efficiency heating and cooling, and building envelope measures. Total savings over the entire 20-year term of financing is expected to be $10,924,304, while eliminating an estimated 66,000 tons of carbon emissions.
“The redevelopment of the Missouri Theatre building has been in the works for some time and PACE-financing is a critical piece of the puzzle,” said Steve Smith, CEO of Lawrence Group, the project’s lead developer. “Because PACE-financing leverages 20 years of future savings and makes this amount available today, it acts like a capstone for the project’s entire capital stack and completes the financial picture. We are happy to utilize this excellent tool that the City provides and are considering its use on future projects as well.”
The 12-story Missouri Theatre Building was acquired by an affiliated entity of Lawrence Group in 2013 for $3.2 million from Grand Center, Inc., and represents the last historic structure in the Grand Center to undergo redevelopment. The building was designed by DeRosa & Pereira and was completed in 1920. Over the years, the property has had several uses including offices for the City of St. Louis Health Department, and the 3,600 seat Missouri Theatre from 1920 to 1957. The theatre portion of the building was demolished to make way for a parking lot in 1959. UK-based Caparo Group is a co-investor on the project.
“We cannot overstate how important this project is for the Grand Center Arts District,” said Karin Hagaman, President & CEO of the Grand Center, Inc. “Not only will the Missouri Theatre project fill a ‘gap’ by returning to life the final vacant, historic building on Grand, it contributes several key elements that the district needs now to continue on its path of growth: a new hotel within a block of Powell Symphony Hall, the Fabulous Fox Theater, and many other wonderful district destinations; a growing base of daytime employees at the new Bull Moose headquarters office; and new restaurant and other commercial uses, both along the sidewalk and on the beautiful rooftop. The Missouri Theatre Building is an essential piece of the Grand Center puzzle and, once in place, will help to tie together all of the incredible assets of our region’s premier arts district."
“This program has been expressly designed to advance the triple-bottom line aspects of the City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan,” said Catherine Werner, Sustainability Director for the City. “Set the PACE St. Louis removes common barriers associated with performing energy efficiency upgrades on properties. It’s a great program, and we are leveraging its strengths to go beyond environmental and economic benefits, and develop an innovative inclusion initiative for women and minority-owned businesses. MOKAN, a Set the PACE St. Louis partner launched its 7th Pre-Apprenticeship training class for minority and female workers in August 2017. This program will work with Set the PACE to further local minority and female workforce opportunities in the clean-energy sector.”
“We are being careful and deliberate in implementing new policies and procedures which will ensure the highest level of consumer protection and deliver a robust tool for City property owners to successfully implement energy improvements to their properties,” said Byron DeLear, Set the PACE St. Louis’ Program Administrator. “The Missouri Theatre project is a big step forward and embodies some important City priorities concerning workforce development—not only will the project utilize labor-affiliated contractors to ensure safety, quality construction, and worker’s rights, but the City’s minority and women workforce participation objectives will also be met.”
The Clean Energy Development Board of St. Louis is a separate political subdivision of the state, created by the Board of Alderman with City Ordinance 69056, and is authorized under the Missouri Property Assessment Clean Energy Act. The program is administered by Energy Equity Funding LLC, Rockwood Management Corporation, and Ygrene Energy Fund.
For more information, please visit: www.SetThePACEStLouis.com
About Lawrence Group
Founded in 1983, Lawrence Group is a building design, development, and project delivery firm headquartered in St. Louis with offices in Austin, Charlotte and New York. With more than 160 employees, the firm offers services to a wide variety of clients, including hospitality, healthcare, academic, retail, civic, corporate, and housing. Please visit our website at www.thelawrencegroup.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
About Grand Center Inc.
Grand Center Inc. is the developer, facilitator and connector of Grand Center Arts District, a 175-acre area in St. Louis’ midtown. Grand Center Arts District is St. Louis’ epicenter for the arts. Here, world-class talent performs, and aspiring artists hone their craft. Eclectic venues line the streets offering everything from Broadway to Black Box Theater, Bebop to Beethoven, street art to galleries and sushi to soul food. Engaging media, inviting parks, inspiring museums and welcoming hotels surround visitors of all ages. An ever-evolving cultural crossroads, Grand Center Arts District offers more to see, to hear, to taste, to learn, to experience – often in the most unexpected ways and places.
About Set the PACE St. Louis
Started in the summer of 2013, Set the PACE St. Louis is a part of the City's award-winning sustainability plan and provides innovative financing solutions, including PACE-financing, for City property owners to access affordable, long-term financing for clean-energy upgrades to their homes and buildings. PACE-financing allows building owners to finance qualifying energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary tax assessment. Property owners pay for the improvements over time and the repayment obligation transfers automatically to the next owner if the property is sold. Similar to a sewer tax assessment, capital provided for project funding under the PACE program is secured by a lien on the property, so low-interest capital can be raised from the private sector with no government financing or taxpayer dollars required. More information can be found at SetThePaceStLouis.com.