For the most part a police headquarters isn’t much different than any other office, so reusing a 1990 office building makes perfect sense. During the open house last Saturday I saw every floor of the new St. Louis Police headquarters, it seems like the space worked well for their needs. It’ll …
The electric power downtown never goes out because the lines are underground and not subject to storm damage like overhead wires, or so I thought. But Wednesday night many downtown did lose power, we didn’t thankfully. Old infrastructure was to blame. Though not the cause of Wednesday’s outage, the substation …
I February 2010 I posted I would live at 4005 Delmar, then a vacant & boarded building, I was dreaming of it being renovated. The building at 4005-4011 Delmar has since attracted the attention of a developer, who also dreams: We believe being a dreamer is every bit as important as being …
Shortly after the weekly poll started last week I realized a flaw in how I constructed the answers, lumping walk-up ATMs and drive-up ATMs together as one: Q: You’ve got a check to deposit into your checking or savings account, pick your two preferred methods from the following list: ATM 45 …
For the most part a police headquarters isn’t much different than any other office, so reusing a 1990 office building makes perfect sense. During the open house last Saturday I saw every floor of the new St. Louis Police headquarters, it seems like the space worked well for their needs.
It’ll take a few weeks for police and civilian staff to get relocated into the new building. Hopefully having the long-vacant building occupied again will lead to nearby storefronts getting new businesses. The police are leaving their old headquarters built in 1927 because renovating it for their continued use would’ve cost considerably more. Besides, they couldn’t have stayed during renovations.
The electric power downtown never goes out because the lines are underground and not subject to storm damage like overhead wires, or so I thought. But Wednesday night many downtown did lose power, we didn’t thankfully. Old infrastructure was to blame. Though not the cause of Wednesday’s outage, the substation at 13th & Cole, built in 1948, is ready to be replaced.
Ameren has been planning to replace this substation for years, in January I unknowingly posted two pics related to their effort.
In late May my friend Kent Martin from Ameren’s communications department emailed me a pitch about their work to replace an old downtown substation and update the underground power grid. Seeing the 1951 image shown above I was interested, but busy prepping for my June 8th wedding. I wanted to see the old substation in person so we emailed back and forth but we couldn’t find a time to meet. Finally we agreed on Wednesday morning, but then postponed to Thursday morning so he could get one of Ameren’s Chevy Volt electric cars to pick me up, plus the weather would be nicer.
I’d gone by the old substation in my wheelchair Tuesday morning, and hours before the outage, I drove my husband by the old and new substations on our way home from dinner. Sitting on our balcony later we noticed the street lights on Locust go out. We still had power but soon a message was posted online about a power outage downtown. I thought I knew the problem, but it turns out a combination of problems at other locations led to the outage.
Still it drives home the point the infrastructure is old. How old? Over a century in some places!
I had no idea overhead wires were moved underground so early! So much of the trenching in downtown’s streets over the last 6-12 months has been replace old conduit and wire. The new substation being built on Dr. Martin Luther King between 19th & 20th will start going into use in late September and by April 2015 the old substation on Cole will be out of service.
I got to see the new and old substations yesterday.
The Cole substation will be razed next year, some remediation will be performed on the site. Ameren will retain & landscape the site.
The building at 4005-4011 Delmar has since attracted the attention of a developer, who also dreams:
We believe being a dreamer is every bit as important as being a do’er. In our personal and our professional lives, the members of The Vecino Group are dedicated to imagining a better world and then working to make it happen.
I too agree it is important to dream, I’ve shared mine here for over 9 years.
A housing developer from Springfield, Mo., has embarked on a $12.7 million project to renovate the building as 68 affordable apartments for homeless vets. The five-story building, at 4011 Delmar Boulevard, is in the city’s Vandeventer neighborhood, about three blocks from the John Cochran VA Medical Center.
Plans call for the building, named Freedom Place by the developer, to be redone as 20 studio apartments, 24 one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units. Monthly rents are scheduled to range from $369 to $640. (stltoday)
According to city records, the building had 100 one-bedroom apartments and three “other” units. Hopefully the new mix of units will work well.
I pass by this project on the #97 MetroBus, but recently I was in the area photographing for my post on the North Sarah Apartments so I got a closer look at the progress.
I’m curious to see how the ground-level will be used. Will a neighborhood coffeehouse be able to open? A small local market perhaps? The area desperately needs economic activity to create jobs for the veterans that will live here, as well as others.
Housing for these vets is huge, but we must also finds ways to rebuild the local economic base to create jobs. One local effort is Bridge Bread:
Bridge Bread is a social entrepreneurship initiative designed to provide job opportunities for guests of The Bridge. The goal of the initiative is to help disadvantaged guests engage in a financially rewarding effort that enhances self-worth, promotes dignity and enables the guests to help themselves.
It takes much more than a shelter cot to rebuild the lives of the homeless. Kudos to the people behind The Vecino Group!
Shortly after the weekly poll started last week I realized a flaw in how I constructed the answers, lumping walk-up ATMs and drive-up ATMs together as one:
Q: You’ve got a check to deposit into your checking or savings account, pick your two preferred methods from the following list:
ATM 45 [28.85%]
Lobby teller 39 [25%]
Drive-thru teller 34 [21.79%]
Smartphone app 32 [20.51%]
Mailing check to my financial institution 5 [3.21%]
N/A — I don’t have a checking/savings account 1 [0.64%]
Had I broken the ATM answer down into the two types as I did with tellers the results would’ve been different. Still, the results are interesting. In a few years I think we’ll see smartphone apps increasingly used for depositing increasingly rare checks.
For decades banks razed buildings to build drive through lanes. Decades ago these lanes were full of cars but now fewer and fewer use them. Last year Bank of America began closing drive-up teller service at some locations.
In the latest move to scale back its branches, Bank of America is ending drive-up teller service at some locations, including in the Charlotte region.
The reason? Too few people are using the drive-thru lanes, the bank says.
The Bank of America branch at 800 Market still has drive-thru lanes, but their website indicates the branch hours will change on August 4th. Will they close then? Don’t be fooled, the banking industry is changing big time:
Drive-through teller stations, once promoted as a convenience for the after-work crowd wanting to keep Bob Dylan songs playing while depositing their paychecks, are losing some of that traffic to mobile apps. As consumers increasingly use self-service channels from wherever they wish, financial institutions are reimagining their physical footprints, including drive-ups, to adjust. (American Banker)
The lobby branch of Bank of America at 100 North Broadway will close in November, according to their website. They surveyed their customers:
Almost two-thirds of consumers (62%) have at least tried to use mobile banking. The most common activities performed using mobile banking are account balance monitoring and statement viewing. Bank of America now has over 15 million active mobile banking users who access their accounts on a mobile device over 165 million times per month, according to SVP and mobile solutions executive Marc Warshawsky. This number is growing by more than 200,000 customers per month.
However, visits to bank branches are still the preferred method for managing accounts. Around 84% of respondents have visited a bank branch over the last six months. And 23% of the respondents said that they complete the majority of their banking transactions at a branch. About half (47%) of the respondents said that they use the bank’s mobile app or website as a preferred method for certain tasks. (Forbes)
When I deposit a check via ATM I don’t like having to use an envelope, the newer ATMs that read/scan the check as you deposit it are much more 21st century. I’ll revisit this in five years.
July 31st marks 21 years since the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station opened downtown, the Arcade-Wright building on that corner remains undeveloped. For nearly 20 minutes at the June Parking Commission meeting Otis Williams (SLDC: St. Louis Development Corporation) & Steve Stogel talked about a variety of downtown development issues, including why a lease for parking spaces in the 7th Street garage was critical.
During the 18 minute discussion many details about the proposed redevelopment are revealed.
The Arcade-Wright building:
is owned by the LCRA (Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority), for about 5 years
is one of the last buildings awaiting redevelopment downtown.
has roughly 500,000 square feet
Webster University will lease the 1st floor, mezzanine & 2nd floor, 55,000 sq ft. Their campus will be about 90,000 sq ft total
Upper floors will be a combination of (202) affordable and (80) market rate apartments
$118 million dollar project
LCRA bought the Arcade-Wright building for $4,500,000 after John Steffen’s Pyramid Constriction firm collapsed with 7-9 downtown buildings
Mortage was held by Bank of America. Total for this mortgage and several other buildings was $32 million
Interest had accrued and property taxes hadn’t been paid on the properties
Development will let the LCRA get reimbursed for all expenses
Not enough parking in the building, “the 200 affordable units have to park somewhere”, seeking long-term lease in the 7th street garage so the residents in the affordable units have parking
Redevelopment of the Chemical building at 8th & Olive will move forward once the Arcade-Wright is underway
The owner of the Laclede Gas Building is planning a renovation once Laclede Gas moves out
Jefferson Arms is the other building that was held by Steffen in 2008 that hasn’t been renovated yet
April 23, 2008 John Steffen asked Steve Stogel to help him liquidate. (Note: Pyramid shut down on April 18, 2008)
The Chemical building is 160,000-180,000 sq ft
This was on June 12th, I’ve not seen any announcements since. I recorded (audio) of the nearly two hour meeting, you can listen to the last 18 minutes about the Arcade & development here.
So all 202 affordable (subsidized) apartments at a MetroLink stop need a parking space in the garage a block away to finance the redevelopment. It’s unclear if parking at Dominium’s Leather Trades & Metropolitan is included in the base rent or an additional charge. I’m not sure anyone involved realizes the building is adjacent to an underground light rail station — one people would need to walk past to reach the parking garage! Enterprise CarShare also operates downtown, for times when residents need wheels.
In 2012 I noted the rough surface of the impervious concrete sidewalks. They’ve not held up well, they’re even rougher, broken, etc. Pervious concrete works well for parking areas, but not for public sidewalks. I mentioned this to city officials after I experienced it in 2012, it wasn’t used again for recent sidewalks at this project. I returned to the area because I’d been seeing construction on North Vandeventer as I crossed on the #97 Delmar bus. I waited until I thought the work was complete.
Two blocks of urban buildings on one side of Vandeventer is a start, but the corridor needs more of this. Unfortunately, due to a lack of coordinated planning, it seems unlikely even in the next 15-20 years. The church across the street was built in 2000, the car wash in 1981, the Urban League in 1990. In the block to the north is a single-story building set back behind parking built in 2009.
Without a corridor plan to guide development, North Vandeventer will remain a hodgepodge. In time more phases will fill in the area between Vandeventer and Sarah. They’ll likely remain a nice island unless groups come together to plan how Sarah & Vandeventer should look & feel in the coming decades.
The poll this week has five questions, one for each of the five proposed constitutional amendments on Missouri’s August 5th ballot. The poll questions in the right sidebar are brief because of software, but here is the official ballot language for each:
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 1 Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (First Regular Session) CCS No. 2 SS HCS HJR Nos. 11 & 7
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed? The potential costs or savings to governmental entities are unknown, but likely limited unless the resolution leads to increased litigation costs and/or the loss of federal funding.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 5 Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SCS SJR No. 36
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right? State and local governmental entities should have no direct costs or savings from this proposal. However, the proposal’s passage will likely lead to increased litigation and criminal justice related costs. The total potential costs are unknown, but could be significant.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 7 Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SS HJR No. 68
Should the Missouri Constitution be changed to enact a temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent to be used solely to fund state and local highways, roads, bridges and transportation projects for ten years, with priority given to repairing unsafe roads and bridges? This change is expected to produce $480 million annually to the state’s Transportation Safety and Job Creation Fund and $54 million for local governments. Increases in the gas tax will be prohibited. This revenue shall only be used for transportation purposes and cannot be diverted for other uses.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 8 Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) HJR No. 48
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a “Veterans Lottery Ticket” and to use the revenue from the sale of these tickets for projects and services related to veterans? The annual costs or savings to state and local governmental entities is unknown, but likely minimal. If sales of a veterans lottery ticket game decrease existing lottery ticket sales, the profits of which fund education, there could be a small annual shift in funding from education to veterans’ programs.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 9 Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SCS SJR No. 27
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects? State and local governmental entities expect no significant costs or savings.
Please vote in the poll, I have answers to cover if you’re undecided, don’t plan to vote, or if you’re not a Missouri voter. Also, please don’t pick out just the one or two you might be passionate about, please select an answer for all five. Thank you.
There’s a building on West Florissant Ave, across from the entrance to Calvary Cemetary, that has intrigued me for years. A former gas station with a large unfinished 2-story addition, city records show the original was built in 1971 but no indication when the addition was started.
It’s always looked vacant to me, but the other day I noticed someone entering or exiting the building as I passed by on the #74 MetroBus. The building is owned by a husband & wife, both lawyers, they’re also part of the ownership of the package liquor store inside. The property was previously part of the 1st ward, but became part of the 3rd ward after the last redistricting. I looked at aerial images on HistoricAerials.com, the addition existed in 1998 — 16 years ago. I don’t recall a time before the addition, I moved to St. Louis in 1990. I can’t believe how long this has been like this, how much could it cost to put some vinyl siding over the plywood sheathing? — Steve Patterson
Over 85% of the readers that participated in the non-scientific poll last week indicated they live in greater St. Louis (St. Louis City, Missouri counties of St. Louis, Jefferson, & St. Charles; Illinois counties of Madison & St. Clair). Here are the results:
Q: Where do you live?
St. Louis (South) 80 [32.13%]
St. Louis (Central Corridor) 50 [20.08%]
St. Louis County (Central/West) 39 [15.66%]
St. Louis County (South) 14 [5.62%]
US Northeast 9 [3.61%]
St. Louis County (North) 7 [2.81%]
St. Louis (North) 6 [2.41%]
Missouri (not St. Louis city; St. Louis, St. Charles, or Jefferson counties) 6 [2.41%]
Madison County, IL 5 [2.01%]
Illinois (not St. Clair or Madison counties) 5 [2.01%]
THE POLL THIS WEEK HAS FIVE QUESTIONS, ONE FOR EACH PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON MISSOURI'S AUGUST 5TH BALLOT. PLEASE VOTE ON ALL FIVE BALLOT QUESTIONS, SEE POST ON SUNDAY 7/20 FOR THE FULL TEXT OF EACH
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