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Ald. Florida & Co Submit Revised Site Pan for McDonald’s

As expected, the beleaguered team of McDonald’s, Pyramid Companies and unofficial spokeswoman Ald. Jennifer Florida submitted a revised site plan for the controversial McDonald’s proposed for the old Sears location at 3708 S. Grand. Last month when Ald. Florida told the Board of Adjustment they’d return with a design following Toronto’s excellent urban design guidelines for drive-thrus I was quite skeptical. Based on the new plan, I was right.

They’ve made a few simple changes — mostly good but still a long way from even approaching anything like what is suggested by Toronto’s standards. First, they have reduced the amount of extra paving which permits a planter area along the Southern property line. Similarly, they’ve created a 20ft+ landscape buffer at the alley with plantings and a 6ft high solid wood fence. Curb cuts on Grand have been reduced from 30ft wide each to 26ft wide. The main thing they’ve done is reduce the drive between the building and public sidewalk — this allowed them to move the building closer to Grand. Again, a good baby step but far from urban.

While the building is nearly abutted to Grand it is set back from Winnebego. To be truly an urban form it should conform to the corner. Three curb cuts is one too many. Lighting is from four poles and may potentially create excess light outside the property boundaries. I’d rather see more smaller lights so as to illuminate the parking area but not all the neighbors. All of the neighbor’s valid concerns about noise, pollution, trash and traffic remain unchanged.

If McDonald’s wishes to continue operating in this area they simply need to rebuild on their current location and not inflict their ill on a new set of adjacent homeowners.

– Steve


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Yes, the MCD should be against the streets of grand and winnebago, as well as have no drive thru, and parking behind the MCD.

    I think MCD and Florida are forgetting that this is illegal unless the board bill is passed.

  2. awb says:

    Awful, as expected. She can’t seem to learn anything from this whole episode, can she? Let’s see: Urban commercial designs? She is still woefully ignorant. Voters demand she represent them and not developers/contributors? She’s still blaming Steve, “minister of disinformation.” Looks like she’s 0 for 2.

    Anyone know how the recall effort is going?

  3. I have been told from the leaders of the recall that it is going well.

  4. French Fry says:

    “She can’t seem to learn anything from this whole episode, can she?”

    In all fairness, she did not devise the site plan although she supports it. She is a fool, but Pyramid is the villain in this story. Florida is not a developer or an architect, while Pyramid employs many experts on development and architecture. It’s incumbent upon Pyramid to promote urban development at this site, and they are promoting the opposite — while letting Jennifer Florida hang on the matter.

    Recall Steffen!

  5. awb says:

    John Steffan was not elected to represent his constituents’ best interests, but J Flo was. He’s a developer who is out to make money. He is not the good guy in this drama, but would he be causing all this destructive “progress” if J Flo didn’t support this plan? I don’t think so.

  6. travis reems says:

    Let me preface my remarks by stating that while I am a REALTOR, I am NOT a draftsman, architect, or urban planner.

    That being said, upon review of the new plan linked to in Steve’s post, I find it hard to find a way to find middle-ground for all of the competing interests: urban design, pedestrian friendly, ample parking, and a drive-through.

    Elements from this plan, as I’ve not seen previous plans, that I like include the sitting area outside the front entrance off Grand. I like restaraunts that offer sidewalk or patio seating infront, like along the Delmar Loop, CWE, or a little further north of this location along S. Grand. It creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, IMHO.

    I also like the landscaping they are proposing. From other McD’s I’ve been to, that is one element I appreciate about their corporate culture–They tend to their plants. It looks like they will be planting trees along the sidewalks. I hope it is some sort of flowering ornamental; those look nice.

    I wonder though, does this restaraunt need 42 parking spots? I don’t think I’ve ever seen ANY McD’s parking lot full.

    Also, the front elevation just makes it look sprawling. The distance from the building to the drive-through looks immense. Maybe starting the drive-through at the back of the building rather than on the side, and bringing the parking against the building, like the McD’s on S. Broadway, would help this.

    I’m pretty good at spacial reasoning, but I just don’t see how you can combine both a drive-through and pushing the building up against Winnebago. Is there an alternative plan out there that can accomplish this? Links please?

    [REPLY Look by through the prior posts or search for Toronto. There you’ll find a lengthy PDF document they have prepared on how to make these fit into urban contexts — along with examples. The site plan I saw for the McDonald’s on its current site (several posts back) followes these guidelines. It is being done the world over where people have realized we cannot keep doing things the same old tired way. – SLP]

  7. Travis Cape says:

    Ms. Florida, Pyramid, and James Proctor try again!

    Ok, you moved the building toward the front and added bushes. It’s still crap and against present ordinance.

    Please rebuild on the current site and drop all this already.

  8. travis reems says:

    After reviewing the current (?) plan, the new plan is much better. For the reasons noted in my above post. I would still like to see a reduced number of parking spots, and parking moved against the building, rather than at the edge of the lot. I’ll let oyu know when I make it through the 32-page Toronto guidelines. I’ve still not been able to find any links to alternative plans. Has anyone drafted any? It might help all the stakeholders come together on the issue.

    [REPLY If you follow the catagory “McDonald’s on Grand” you can see the entire topic unfold. The alternatives were presented in a post last week, here is the link:
    In this whole debate I’ve been the one seeking various win-win solutions so that McDonald’s gets a new building an the Gravois Park residents don’t get a drive-thru. The Alderwoman should be the one doing this rather than continually standing up for McDonald’s & Pyramid while telling her constituents and those just barely outside her ward they can’t get everything they want. Well, with her attitude that is certainly a true enough statement. – SLP]

  9. travis reems says:

    The plans for the current site look good, but I’m not so sure about the one for the new site. You could likely fit a drive-through between the parking and the building, if you made the building shorter and let the traffic back out on Grand.

  10. Josh says:

    I find it hard to be too harsh on them just yet. I believe in positive reinforcement. I’m glad that they’ve submitted a revised plan. It shows that they are at least opening up to the idea of compromise. Obviously the plan needs work, clearly the developers at Pyrimid are taking wild guesses at what is “urban”… which is pretty sad considering that they like to brag about being a top urban developer. But at least this is a step in the right direction… what we need is more revisions! This is like the first draft you submit for the first assignment in English 101. Clearly Pyrimid and St. Louis aldermen need further schooling in urbanism.

  11. travis reems says:


    Tonight, I was told that McD’s corporate has agreed to move the operation to the old Burger King. I was given this information from someone that got it from a McD’s regional corporate muckety-muck. I thought it odd at the time, with these new plans, but I thought I should share the information so that someone more in the know can either confirm, deny, or look into the issue more deeply.

  12. truth seeker says:

    Say, maybe steve could get a job with pyramid as an urban design consultant, help them see the light???

  13. matt says:

    wow – pyramid managed to equal the design quality of the circa 1990 burger king on main street here in autocentric kcmo.

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