Bob Clark, Larry Chapman to finance first phase of $190M University City project

Steph Kukuljan | Mar 29, 2021

St. Louis Business Journal

article originally appeared

Developers Bob Clark and Larry Chapman are financing the first phase of a nearly $190 million project in University City that will be anchored by Costco.

Clark and Chapman, partners at real estate development firm CRG, andCedar Rapids Iowa Bank are financing developer Novus Development’s first phase of the project, called Markets atOlive, according to a release. Property for the first phase has been acquired.Details of the real estate acquisition and financing deal were not disclosed.

The first phase is located within a 16-acre area that has been rezoned for a proposed Costco Wholesale store.Costco’s plans are to demolish existing buildings to construct a 160,430-square-foot building, gas station and a 727-stall parking lot. A start date for construction was not disclosed.

The University City site would mark Costco’s fourth location in theSt. Louis region. It has stores in St. Peters, Manchester and southSt. Louis County.

“This is a major accomplishment in realizing our dream of a Costco anchoring this development,” Mayor Terry Crow said in statement. “We are pleased to partner with Novus Development to bring toUniversity City a corporate citizen like Costco, whose values align so closely with our own.”

In addition to Costco, Webster Groves-based Novus Development also plans to develop apartments, offices and potentially a hotel for about $187 million.

Novus’ plans first became public in 2018, and the project has been marked by controversy since. Some residents have voiced anger about the developer’s acquisition of property holding existing homes and businesses, and have alleged that the city has not been transparent with residents about the development. An error in a cost analysis of the project in June 2018 by PGAV Planners estimated the development would bring in $23 million more than actually expected. In addition, threats from the developer to have the city help obtain homes in the project footprint eroded trust among some residents. City officials say Novus’ development will help University City boost city coffers.