Case Studies

Cortona at Forest Park

St. Louis, Missouri

Cortona at Forest Park Exterior

Located within Balke Brown Transwestern’s 26-acre mixed-use development The Highlands at Forest Park off I-64/40 in Illinois, the Cortona at Forest Park apartment community is in close proximity to the shopping, dining, and cultural facilities of Forest Park, the Central West End, and Clayton. Encompassing 275,100 square feet, the $31.8 million structure provides 278 living units.

Holland first completed the Parkway Lakeside Apartment Homes in O’Fallon, Illinois, for Balke Brown Transwestern, proving that a high-quality community could be built on a tight schedule and within budget. This success gave Balke Brown the confidence to then select Holland for the Cortona project.


Cortona’s Challenges

Balke Brown Transwestern wanted to create a distinctive apartment complex in St. Louis. With the goal of building something unique to the area, the project presented some challenges:

  • Maximizing the ROI for investors
  • Meeting the needs of the target market
  • Creating an upscale, urban apartment complex


Holland’s Solutions

Appreciating the prime location and excitement over the project, the Holland team—in close collaboration with the owner and the architects at Humphreys & Partners—worked to create a captivating structure that met all of Balke Brown Transwestern’s needs for a successful project.

Cortona at Forest Park Entrance

Constructing the First All-Wood 5-Story Structure in St. Louis

Aiming to increase the ROI for investors by including the highest possible number of units, Holland decided to explore the feasibility of adding a fifth floor to the project. After extensive research with local code officials, subcontractors, wood suppliers, and the design team, Holland was able to incorporate a fifth floor that included 55 additional units. Cortona was the first 5-story wood-framed project built in the St. Louis market.

Cortona at Forest Park Kitchen

Creating an Ideal Living Space for Young Professionals

Because of the highly sought-after location and proximity of some of the area’s top employers, Balke Brown Transwestern knew this apartment complex could attract many young professionals. Holland and Humphreys & Partners needed to create units that appealed to the desires and budgets of this target market. The result is a complex of studio, one- and two-bedroom luxury units ranging in size from 558 to 1,224 square feet and featuring gourmet kitchens with full-size appliances, large windows, and walk-in closets. Nine- to ten-foot ceilings add a sense of spaciousness that enhances the apartments’ luxurious feel.

Cortona at Forest Park Pool

Building a High-End Complex with Many Amenities

Offering many amenities to renters was important for the urban-style complex. Cortona residents enjoy private, reserved parking and a gated entrance. Other features include:

  • An interior courtyard with a three-tiered swimming pool (lap pool, tanning ledge, and hot tub)
  • Multiple lounging areas
  • Cabanas
  • Grills
  • An outdoor kitchen
  • An expansive clubhouse that includes a fitness room, coffee bar, business center, and gaming area


Lasting Results

Cortona at Forest Park has received several awards:

  • PCBC’s 2015 Gold Nugget Merit Award Winner-Best Multifamily Housing Community, 30-60 du/acre
  • Louis Apartment Association’s 2015 & 2016 Property of the Year Award
  • Louis Magazine’s 2014 Top 5 New Residential Developments in St. Louis

As the construction manager on this first-of-its-kind project in the St. Louis, Holland worked closely with Balke Brown Transwestern and Humphreys & Partners Architects to construct a building that met all of their goals for success.

“The input and direction provided by Holland Construction Services during all phases of design and construction for Cortona at Forest Park made the project an overwhelming success. We are very happy with the quality of the facility and the professionalism of the services that Holland provided.”

-Steve Brown, Balke Brown Transwestern

Contact Holland today to partner on your next construction project.

Topics: Multi-Family