Home » Planning & Design »Public Transit »St. Louis County »Suburban Sprawl » Currently Reading:

First Look at Hanley Station

As the new MetroLink light rail line to Shrewsbury (aka Cross County extension) is set to open in less than a week I stopped by the new station near Hanley & Eager (map). Oh boy, what a mess that area is. Traffic is horrible and the adjacent developments are sorely lacking good pedestrian connections. But, this post is not about the immediate station but a new project just a hop, skip and 4/10ths of a mile walk to the South. From the project’s website:

Hanley Station is a mixed-use, urban community development located in the heart of Brentwood, Missouri. Hanley Station will feature 150 contemporary condominiums, a 123 room extended stay hotel, 3 free-standing restaurant venues and 11,000 square feet for lifestyle/boutique shopping. The development is anchored by two 5 story parking garages which provide direct, multi-level, covered access to all residents. Hanley Station subtlety offers its residents and patrons a true taste of “new urbanism”, yet maintains the thick tradition of one of St. Louis’ most sought after neighborhoods.

“Urban community?” Parking garages serve as anchors? A “true taste” of New Urbanism? Hmmm, I wish they had elaborated on the “thick tradition” of the neighborhood! Sadly I don’t think the marketing person that wrote this piece has any clue what defines an urban area, what it takes to comprise a community and what new urbanism is really about.

That all being said, the project is not bad for what it really is — some high-end condos (based on cost per square foot) with some adjacent restaurant and retail space. Unlike other projects in the area, the developers are willing to mix some uses and pack quite a bit into the relatively smallish site. They’ve also warmed my heart by extending a public street from the Hanley Industrial Park through their site out to Hanley.

Hanley Station - site

The Site:

Looking at the image to the right, North is to the top. The diagonal white line represents the new MetroLink rail line that is set to open this coming weekend. The actual station is just beyond the top of the image. And that distance, a mere 4/10ths of a mile per the sales staff, is the problem with this development. Actually, the development isn’t really at fault — the site is where it is relative to the new station through no fault of the developer. The problem is that people here will be adjacent to a wonderful mass transit system that can quickly get them to Clayton, the Loop, the Airport (Lambert or Midway in Illinois), downtown and beyond yet the ability to walk there is severely limited.

The developer is doing the right thing by making the site more dense and thus quasi-urban. They could very well have said the area as hopelessly devoted to the car and built another strip center. I’m thankful they did not as this is truly the first sign of hope in the Hanley/Eager area.

Over the next 10-20 years look for this entire area around this station to be completely transformed to the point you’d have a hard time knowing the area if you had been away. In 20 years this Hanley Station project, a pioneer in the area today, will look a bit lacking in how it relates to the street and public sidewalk compared to the newer projects that will get built.

In the meantime walking to Dierbergs, Trader Joes, Target, Best Buy or the MetroLink station are all a chore. The distance is very little but the environment does its best to say, “get in your car and drive.” Later this week I’m going to do a station by station review.

Hanley Station - concept

The Project:

Again, I think they’ve done a great job getting quite a bit onto the site. The two parking garages, each with room for 500 cars, are reasonably well hidden from the public streets. The 150 condos each have a balcony which will add interest to the area as people decorate these with furnishings and plants. People on their balconies will further animate the area.

Problems evident in this drawing are numerous. First, it is all very beige. However, one of the three restaurant spaces will be a colorful Houlihan’s which is relocating to this site from the nearby Galleria mall. The development has sidewalks but they appear like most suburban sidewalks do, as obligatory afterthoughts. They are indicating some relationship between the restaurant entrances and the main sidewalk along Hanley but we’ll see how that plays out in reality vs. colored pencil. The sidewalks themselves are an extension of the curb — pushed up against the street. Lack of on-street parking, both on Hanley and apparently the new Strassner, and a lack of street trees make the sidewalks the least hospitable they could possibly be. This is just one step above not having sidewalks at all.

Currently the two parking garages and the new street Strassner are under construction. While I could make some comment about the garages being built first this actually makes sense from a construction phasing perspective — on such a tight site with the garages in back they really must be built first. These will provide parking for all the trades on the remaining project.

The developer, MLP Investments, was also responsible for the mixed-use Kirkwood Station project that replaced the old Target in downtown Kirkwood. I reviewed Kirkwood Station as one of my very first blog posts back on October 31, 2004. Click here to view that post.

With construction just getting started I hope they will pay more attention to the layout of the sidewalks and consider the placement of street trees, guest bike racks, pedestrian crossings and such. MLP wants to do things right and relative to say THF Realty that did the grotesque Wal-Mart/Sam’s/Lowe’s across Hanley I’d say they are on the right track. I’m happy when I see developers heading toward a more urban model even when not required by code to do so. When they are done I’ll take another look and see how it went.

For information on the project see www.hanleystation.com.

– Steve


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Paul says:

    “Anchored by parking garages”!? Is Steve Stogel part of this project?

    Actually, I applaud the mixed parking and its where it belongs… in back. What bugs be is the use of the term “mixed use”. Yes there are several uses on the site. But they appear to be segregated in separate buildings, with the retail and restaurants in one story buildings… not very urban. Why not condos over Houlinans?

    Another major problem besides the sidewalks is the street itself. While I agree that extending Strassner is a good thing for many reasons, It is obvious that the traffic engineers have gone crazy here. The development is to have 11,000 s.f. of retail, yet the road is built like an entrance to the GalleriaÂ… not at all a pedestrian environment.

    As for the Metro station, hopefully there will be a path along right of way so the residents, shoppers and restaurant patrons can directly access the station. While this is not very urban, neither is walking along Hanley Road, and it would be a lot more pleasant.

  2. Ted says:

    This is a step in the right direction. With the traffic this area receives and the employment base that is has, I would hope that we will continue to see more urban developments. Here are some preliminary impressions that I have of this project from looking at what is presented…. I wish the street that runs between the projects would mix up the uses a little more. Put some apartments on top of those restaurants; some shops or offices in those condo buildings. A sense of enclosure along that center street needs to be created. Maybe make the street narrower. This area is hell on earth during rush hour so something will need to be done to slow down the traffic in this area and I don’t know if those planted medians would be enough. I also would like some thought given to future connectivity. The buildings are clustered on large blocks. The area along Eager is a perfect example of developments that were planned without connectivity in mind. It is even difficult to drive between them. This current development we are talking about isn’t as bad in terms of connectivity as any of those are, but they should look into the north and south sides of this development and plan for future developments that may occur there. Connectivity would encourage people to walk or bike in this area. The corners at Hanley should be anchored better. As they are now they look like they are anchored by green space and a plaza. The street needs an entrance.

  3. john says:

    Don’t forget to include the Hanley Township project across Hanley Rd. and I64 redo as part of the analysis of the area… especially what it will mean for traffic patterns.

    The area includes the municipalities of Brentwood, Maplewood and Richmond Heigths… add in MoDOT and watch the competing entities battle. You’re going to have many more problems than the current rush hour exemplifies.

  4. Jim Zavist says:

    Basically good, but sorely lacking a direct pedestrian connection between the site and the station (parallel to Metro’s right-of-way). Convincing Home Depot to grant an easement shouldn’t be too difficult, I’m not so sure about the building just to the south. And this developer should foot the bill for the sidewalk, since it will be a major benefit for him in the long run . . .

  5. topher says:

    If i recall correctly, the developers of this project were originally lobbying Metro to put an additional stop at Strassner, but neither Metro nor MLP was able/willing to put up the cash for one now, but they did come to an agreement to build the Metro bridge there in such a way that it would be possible to add a station there in the future without having to rebuild the bridge or impact current metro service.

    [REPLY I seem to recall hearing something along the same lines, I will have to see if I can confirm that. If so, that is a rare example of forward thinking planning — something we need a lot more of.

    However, the station would be so close to the existing station that it doesn’t fully make sense. The Manchester Rd station in Maplewood is also reasonably close so one in between begins to take away from the speed advantage of light rail and moves closer to the more frequent stops one might expect from streetcars. – SLP]

  6. Joe Frank says:

    The Manchester-Maplewood station would be quite a long walk from this area. I would eventually like to see a stop in the vicinity of this development and/or the Hanley Road overpass itself. With so much retail in that area, and now no more crosstown bus service, only short shuttle routes, it’ll make it that much harder for workers to get to the jobs in those retail establishments.

    What nobody seems to notice is just how unaffordable this new housing is — especially compared to what it replaces in the vicinity!

    I doubt anybody in St. Louis would pay “$160,000 – $300,000” to live in a condo ABOVE a chain restaurant. But if we had any kind of guts in this region, we would REQUIRE retailers and high-end residential developers like this to include an affordable housing component. That way, folks who work at Wal-Mart, Target, etc., could actually afford to LIVE within walking distance!

    Hundreds upon hundreds of small homes in both racially mixed and mostly African-American neighborhoods have been demolished in the immediate vicinity of Hanley Station. Am I the only person who remembers what this area looked like 15 years ago?

    Sure, for the municipalities, the sales tax revenues are great. But these developments have also contributed to a more homogeneous, upper-class white population in that area. I acknowledge Maplewood is still pretty diverse, but Brentwood is not.

  7. Eric says:

    So I guess it’s settled: New Urbanism apparently tastes like Olive Garden. The Kirkwood project seems eons better to me from a New Urbanism perspective, mainly because there’s actual mixed used and it’s got generally everything one would actually want from a neighborhood there.

    From the start, this just seemed like an awkward spot to put a MetroLink stop – it’s so far from any real neighborhood. I know that I, at least, would have much rather seen a stop in nearby-but-not-that-nearby downtown Maplewood than next to a shopping center with a Wal-Mart as a centerpiece.

    Though, admittedly, it is a particularly good Blockbuster that they have there.

  8. Mill204 says:

    I do know that there are Metrolink maps with a proposed future station at Hanley, but I do not recall an actual location ever being formally mentioned; I’ve only ever seen a mention on CMT’s website. The city of Brentwood is entirely responsible for the Strassner Rd extension along with the Metrolink overpass it required. It was not part of Metrolink’s original plans. Per the city of Brentwood’s Feb03 Bulletin…

    “On January 22, we started the TIF process for the COSTCO Project proposed for Hanley Industrial Court. This project will enable the city to continue the extension of Strassner Drive through to Hanley Road. The estimate for the road extension (including the Metro-Link overpass) is between $8 and $11 million. This new east-west corridor could significantly improve some of our traffic congestion and relieve cut-through traffic on some of our residential streets.”
    see http://www.brentwoodmo.org/Archive.asp?ADID=34&CPSessionID=

    It was later approved late August/early September per the Post-Dispatch.

    Also, don’t forget that St. Louis county would like to upgrage Hanley to a mini 6-lane expressway complete with Manchester overpass and tunnel to Eager Rd.

    [REPLY Yes, I seem to recall something about a station at Hanley as well. That, at least, would put it more in the middle between Machester and Eager. – SLP]

  9. jason says:

    Its the car taking over again. The powers that be are determined to have their southbound link all the way to I-44 from I-64/40. They lost it when they couldn’t get 170 to go south. Maybe they should just elevate it and go over I-64/40 then continue elevated all the way down brentwood. Anyway. The new Hanley is already super wide for cars, but then you have the issue at the connector to I-64 which really causes the traffic issues. They will probably need to reslove the interchange issue before you ever have to worry about an I-hanley freeway.

    [REPLY The Hanley/I-64 interchange is getting redone as part of the $500 million I-64 makeover project. More money for cars and less money for people, sidewalks and transit. – SLP]

  10. SIG says:

    > what new urbanism is really about.

    From the word “new”, it is still open for definition eh ? Or are we going to repeat the linguistic mistake of “modernism” with “new urbanism”. Perhaps this IS what its about – finding the best way to create and encourage density and walking, and in doing so challenge the fabric of the existing environment that has stifled such activity in the past.

    True, the surrounding area does scream “get in your car and drive”, but as gas prices soar, there will be those who see the sense in doggedly dragging their rears over the asphalt fields. And perhaps in a strange reversal, store owners will find it worth their while to pretty up their asphalt fields.

    As I once heard it eloquently put, “Sure, drive those SUV’s. Finish up all the gas so the world will find alternatives sooner”. It’s true – necessity is the mother of invention and push is coming to shove on that one.

    And then there are always bicycles that will enjoy the downslope of Strassner road.

    The Strassner Metrolink overpass was forethought, but not “fore” enough. Metrolink plans had to CHANGE to include the bridge, where originally no plans for Strassner road existed, and Metro was to run at grade there. The problem with developments is that it usually happens too quickly to allow adequate forethought. This was an exception, and perhaps MLP is worth promoting.

    The stop at 64-40 / Brentwood would have been nicer in a real community neighborhood, and Maplewood residents were heavily involved in the process. I believe Metro still has documentation of all the community meetings that discussed and decided where the Stations were to be. As I understood it, the store owners were eager and put their money where their mouths were. And the residents thought it just dandy.

    Always impressed by the growth of your blog from its beginnings in 2004 to now. Amazing expansion and well sanded edges on your posts, getting smoother all the time. Fun to see Todd Plesko here (he’s a Metro planner I worked with) and fun to see the impact you can make on your city.

  11. Drew says:

    I think this new project will be great for the area. I mean look across the street there is Wal-mart, Sams, and Lowes. That’s pretty bad and this new development seems to be a great improvement from a sprawling shopping center that Brentwood and Maplewood are becoming known for. I’m rather young and have lived in Brentwood for 9 years just until recently i moved off the college. I remember people used to live in Brentwood, kind of a weird concept to grasp. All of these big shopping centers have ruined the area in my opinion. Who remembers the old Brentwood square, that place was great. I love whole foods and often walked there for groceries but would of liked to have seen the old Brentwood square stay and been remodeled. And as far as the “new urbanism in such a sought after community” goes the structures are just beige and surrounded by a tree lined street. I don’t consider that new urbanism. Brentwood’s real estate market is also coming to a stop halt .All the new homes they build for $700k arenÂ’t really selling. Maybe these $200,000 “luxury condos” will do great who knows?

  12. ed hardy clothing says:

    We'r ed hardy outlet one of the most profession
    of the coolest and latest ed hardy apparel, such as
    ed hardy tee ,ed hardy bags,
    ed hardy bathing suits, ed hardy shoes,
    ed hardy board shorts , don ed hardyt,ed hardy tank tops, ed hardy for women,
    ed hardy swimwearand more,
    ed hardy clothing. We offers a wide selection of fashion
    cheap ed hardyproducts. Welcome to our shop or just enjoy browsing through our stunning collection available wholesale ed hardy in our shop.

    our goal is to delight you with our distinctive collection of mindful ed hardy products while providing value and excellent service. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and we offer only 100% satisfacted service and ed hardy products. Please feel free to contact us at any time; we are committed to your 100% customer satisfaction. If you're looking for the best service and best selection, stay right where you are and continue shopping at here is your best online choice for the reasonable prices. So why not buy your ed hardy now, I am sure they we won’t let you down.

  13. ed hardy clothing says:

    We'r ed hardy outlet one of the most profession
    of the coolest and latest ed hardy apparel, such as
    ed hardy tee ,ed hardy bags,
    ed hardy bathing suits, ed hardy Polos,
    ed hardy board shorts , ed hardy men T-shirt,
    ed hardy swimwearand more,
    ed hardy clothing. We offers a wide selection of fashion
    cheap ed hardyproducts. Welcome to our shop or just enjoy browsing
    through our stunning collection available wholesale ed hardy in our shop.

    our goal is to delight you with our distinctive collection of mindful ed hardy products while providing value
    and excellent service. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and we offer only 100% satisfacted service and ed
    hardy products. Please feel free to contact us at any time; we are committed to your 100% customer satisfaction.
    If you're looking for the best service and best selection, stay right where you are and continue shopping at here
    is your best online choice for the reasonable prices. So why not buy your ed hardy now, I am sure they we won’t
    let you down.

  14. Sapne14 says:

    Thin walls, living in condos facing Houlihan's and Marriott makes sleeping at night almost impossible.

    Whatever you do -DO NOT RENT FROM HELEN CHOU OF COLDWELL BANKER, UNIT #1303. Terrible Landlord with a list of complaints.


Comment on this Article: