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St. Peters nears capacity for new single-family homes

The days of open land beckoning developers to build thousands of new single-family homes in St. Peters may be coming to a close – for now.

Long recognized as a major beneficiary of the boom in residential development that has enveloped St. Charles County for decades, St. Peters may now be near its single-family residential capacity, according to city officials.

The story is in the numbers. Julie Powers, St. Peters’ director of planning, community and economic development, told the city’s Board of Aldermen on Jan. 21 that the city has just 68 single-family residential lots available for new homes.

“Our residential pipeline – that was plentiful five years ago – has been used up,” Powers said during a briefing on the city’s 2015 economic activity.

“What we’re saying is if you want to build a new single-family home in St. Peters, you have 68 chances,” said Alderman Dave Thomas [Ward 1].  Powers said that was correct until someone submits plans for a new subdivision.

Thomas asked if there was ground available for new subdivisions. Powers answered that there are “pockets here and there” of available land for new homes, but not on the scale the city has previously seen. There is some land available in the Page Avenue-Interstate 364 corridor and in scattered lots in a few existing subdivisions, she added.

“[But] not a lot,” she said.

Last year, 124 single-family homes and 151 multi-family units were built in the city. There are about 29 multi-family units that now can be built in the city, Powers added.

“We’re getting down to being done,” Thomas said. “One of the greatest things that can happen to a city, and the mayor has talked a lot about this, is being built — now we can circle back, revitalizing and improving what we have. That’s the day I’m living for, that’s a neat time when the city becomes like that.”

Assistant City Administrator Tim Wilkinson said because fewer houses are being built, home values are going up.  People still want to move to the city with its many amenities. When homes go on the market, many sell quickly, he said.

Thomas said the “pillars of the city”— its Rec-Plex recreation and fitness center, city services and other recreational amenities such as 370 Lakeside Park — attract people as well.

“There is no doubt that the centralized development of this city is fantastic,” he said.

Even though the pace of new housing starts has slowed in St. Peters, other parts of the county, particularly in the western portion, remain a beehive of residential development activity. Developers have shifted to the west where more ground is available, and St. Charles County has led its neighboring counties in home building activity for years.

Meanwhile, Powers said the city issued 1,746 housing-related permits last year for projects ranging from new single- and multi-family homes to deck additions and finished basements, worth an estimated $61.4 million. Of that total, $52.1 million was in new housing permits.

In all, the city added 201 new businesses last year and had 131 businesses whose licenses were not renewed, Powers said. Vacancy rates were low, standing at 6.36 percent for retail, 10.45 percent for office space and 1.09 percent in industrial space.

The city also added 119,000 square feet of new commercial and industrial construction, with 656 commercial projects valued at $35.7 million. Recent major business openings include Dunkin’ Donuts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, CVS Pharmacy, Planet Fitness, McAlister’s Deli, a relocation of Paul’s Donuts on Jungermann Road, the 50-bed Villages of St. Peters senior care center and two Walmart Markets.

Among the major projects under construction is a 123-room Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Veterans Memorial Parkway, as well as Village Mall and a Bahama Buck’s, both located on Mid Rivers Mall Drive. Additions to Siteman Cancer Center on Mexico Road, and Mobil on the Run and Country Club Carwash also are under construction.

Another proposed development is a 715,000-square-foot warehouse building in Premier 370 Business Park and a 27,000-square-foot addition in Arrowhead Industrial Park.

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