ST. LOUIS — Nearly six weeks after opening, entertainment complex Armory STL's attendance and sales figures have far exceeded what the developer says it expected from the $60 million project’s opening weeks, leading to some unforeseen challenges.
The new indoor entertainment destination in Midtown, which was built inside the historic Armory, a long-vacant military, sports and concert complex the size of four football fields, opened in mid-December. Both sales and visitors to Armory STL are far ahead of the projections of developer Green Street Real Estate Ventures, according to Jake Miller, president of Green Street’s new entertainment and hospitality division that operates the complex, Brick + Bev.
With only the first of several phases of the project open, the Armory already is outpacing Green Street’s sales projections for the entire project, Miller said. Brick + Bev projected $28 million in sales for the entire year from all phases and is already on pace to meet that even without any of the future phases yet completed, he said.
More than 150,000 people have stepped through the doors of the Armory since it officially opened Dec. 16, hitting daily highs of 13,000 on Saturdays, Miller said. Green Street can track the number of visitors using cell-phone analytics.
Projected annual attendance was 1.52 million, Miller said.
“It is phenomenal. I’ve been doing this for well over 30 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever been involved creating something that was this well received,” Miller said.
The 250,000-square-foot indoor space at 3660 Market St., just off Interstate 64 and near the City Foundry mixed-use development and retailer Ikea, houses six bars with more than 500 feet of bar space and over 90 taps, along with more than 40 interactive games, a two-story slide and six 30-foot LED screens.
The Armory’s unique indoor games, which Miller compared to a playground for adults, have proven to be so popular that the developer has had to switch out balls, golf clubs and other equipment much quicker than expected as visitors have worn out the equipment.
“But there’s always two sides of the coin,” Miller said about the project’s success.
As more people than anticipated have tried to visit the Armory, some visitors have reported leaving when they couldn’t find parking. Green Street has more than 1,300 available parking spaces for the site, including a shuttle bus and satellite parking with patrolling security at Ikea, but sometimes that still hasn’t met the demand.
Brick + Bev is working on both short- and long-term solutions to parking, starting with adding another surface parking lot that was eventually planned on the 22-acre Armory property. Long term, the solution is to build two parking garages, Miller said.
“If you look at the parking counts, we looked pretty good. And then the whole world showed up,” Miller said. “So it’s a good and a bad thing at the same time.”
The unexpected influx of visitors to the Armory has at times led to long lines for food and drinks, since not all the dining options eventually planned at the complex have opened yet.
To fix that issue, Miller said the Armory would soon roll out a series of temporary pop-up dining stations, including an indoor taco truck, a grilled cheese and panini station, and an artisanal pizza station. A mobile ordering app is being tested this week to see how soon it can be rolled out to visitors.
Click here to read more about Armory STL's status on the St. Louis Business Journal website.
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