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Base of Park East Tower Leaves Much to be Desired

March 1, 2006 Central West End, Planning & Design 15 Comments

Parkeast Tower

Originally uploaded by urbanreviewstl.com.

Opus Development is well along on the construction of a new residential tower at the NW corner of Euclid & Laclede. The tower portion looks great. The base, however, leaves much to be desired.

Too much parking above grade to create much interest fo the pedestrian. Yes, they’ll have sidewalk retail but the space above the retail overpowers the sidewalk.

I’m not fond of reflective glass, which will cover the corner and other areas where they are attempting to bring some relief to the facade. Decorative metal will cover additional areas.

All in all I’m not impressed with the base. I’d like to see these developments look at putting a couple of levels of their parking below grade rather than all being above the retail.

Something different needs to be done as this is just not friendly.

– Steve


Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brad Mello says:

    Isn’t it much more expensive to put the parking underground? They do it around where I live in Arlington because they have to, but it sure looks like a very expensive process.

  2. JivecitySTL says:

    I personally think it looks fine. Sure, underground parking is almost always preferable to above-ground, but at some point construction costs have to factor in. All in all, I think once all the retail is active the base of the Park East is going to rock the house. I love it. I think it’s so easy to nitpick about all the things that are less than ideal, but we’re talking about a first-class project here, and one that this city has been hurting for.

  3. Jim Zavist says:

    Isn’t it a bit early (or way too late) to be criticizing things? Once the finishes are completed, the construction fences removed and the land- and hardscapes installed, it will look different and better than it does now. Sure, it’s not going to be perfect (nothing ever is), but if the mass is inappropriate for the streetscape (past, present and/or future), the time to “fix” it is during initial design and plan review and approval, not during construction or after it’s completed!

  4. Brian says:

    It’s obviously much better than the surface parking lot it replaced.

    And by criticizing this great accomplishment for the CWE, I think you risk giving ammo to those resident NIMBY’s who oppose Opus’ next high-rise project at Lindell and Euclid.

    Besides, the future Park East Lofts to the immediate north of this tower will add just what you’re asking for anyway — residential closer to street-level, on the very same block!

  5. Not everyone who opposes Opus’ tower are CWE NIMBYs. Some opposition comes from people appalled by the dreadful design.

  6. awb says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Steve on this one. If it’s really a “first-class” development, why isn’t parking below grade? It’s required in Arlington, as Brad pointed out, so why isn’t it required in possibly the most expensive neighborhood in St. Louis? Is this project, and the next, being proposed as inexpensive housing choices? I doubt it! So why skimp on this issue when, as Brian points out, something with a better street exposure is planned at the Park East Lofts to the east? I’m sure it’s too late to change this project, but maybe it’s not too late to get a change to the project at Lindell and Euclid.

    If St. Louis demands mediocrity, it gets nothing better. It’s the CWE. The City should be demanding the best.

  7. JivecitySTL says:

    I guess some people just have different definitions of “mediocrity.” As a CWE resident, I love the design of the Park East. The proposed tower at Lindell & Euclid may need a little tweaking, but only the preliminary rendering has been released. Maybe everyone will be pleasantly surprised. But calling the Park East “dreadful” and “mediocre” is a little extreme, don’t ya think?

  8. Brian says:

    Underground parking starts around $25,000 a spot to build. So to ask for it, you’re obviously risking even finding a private developer willing to still build such a high-rise. The adjacent future Park East Lofts will also have structured parking, just not facing Euclid in the manner Park East Tower’s does on upper levels. But Park East Lofts is a low-rise, having fewer units, and thus, needing fewer on-site spots.

    As for Lindell Condos opponents, how will the base of that building be any different from the Schlafly Library/Argyle Garage across the street?

  9. Dustin says:

    Now is the time for discussion about the design of the new tower using Park East as a frame of reference. The drawings I saw of the new tower are, indeed, dreadful. While I am a fan of Park East, in general Steve’s criticisms are dead-on and Opus should be held to task at their next development. I’m sorry, but sitting around waiting to be pleasantly surprised is naive at best.

  10. “how will the base of that building be any different from the Schlafly Library/Argyle Garage across the street?”

    For one thing, the parking level will not be set back from the first floor.

    For another, the parking floorf will not be concealed with grilles or screens all of the way around — most of the “window” openings on the rendering appear to be wide-open.

  11. Brian says:

    Well then, ask for a similar design solution to the Argyle Garage for the Lindell Condos parking garage base. But that minor detail shouldn’t hold up a project that is to become CWE’s tallest achievement.

  12. awb says:

    Brian said, “Underground parking starts around $25,000 a spot to build.”

    Last I remember, the 9th street garage was going to cost about $34 million for 1050 cars. That’s over $30000 per spot, and there should be some kind of economy of scale for such a large garage. Maybe underground parking isn’t an expensive option.

  13. Matt says:

    Lindell Condos will be redesigned. The preservation board did approve the height, but not the design. And the parking is set behind retail, just like the Argyle, so I don’t get that comment. May be two story retail even. I definately do want a redesign though. the height is great, but the design is nothing more than average. The current renderings base also appears to have mirrored glass like the rest of the tower, not wide open. Like some of us talked about on Sunday, let’s support the Lindell condos, but let’s not forget about making the project even better.

    On the Park East, I would generally agree about the base. I think the actual first floor will turn out fine, but I am very dissapointed with floors 2-6. Mirrored glass does not bother me too much, but there needs to be a lot more. The renderings had much more glass, and the solid sections of the whole tower appeared to be metal, not tectured concrete. Steve sums it up well, the tower portion is great, but the base is dissapointing.

  14. JivecitySTL says:

    RE: Park East– we should not neglect to imagine new signage for street-level retail there that may liven up floors 2-6. It won’t necessarily always appear to be a giant wall of dead space. I have seen many, many developments in other cities with much worse streetfront design than the Park East. It’s not perfect, but every time I think of that parking lot that was there before, I am indeed very grateful. Come on you guys– some of you are making out to be the worst possible design. It’s not, not by a longshot. I think it will be a lively, attractive addition to a growing neighborhood.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Our as-yet-unnamed coalition of urbanists will meet again on Sunday, March 18 at 1:00pm at the St. Louis Bread Co. @ Euclid & Forest Park.

  15. Patricio Suarez says:

    Good news, according to OPUS, the base of the building actually has the same number of windows as the model but the decorative panels that most people think are windows are not yet installed. Sometime later this summer they will go in. They are in fabrication now. So, hopefully, the concrete base will not look so plain once those “decorative panels” are put into service.

    [REPLY – Yes, the metal panels will help to a degree. But the mirrored glass to conceal the garage will not be so nice. – SLP]


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