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St. Louis’ 22nd Street Interchange Part of McKee’s Plan

May 22, 2009 Downtown, Events/Meetings, NorthSide Project 19 Comments

I’ll have a full report next week on McEagle Developments vision for North St. Louis but I wanted to put out one tidbit today.  They indicated a desire to create four job centers where large companies could relocate.  One of the four is currently the site of a highway interchange for a highway that was never built, the 22nd street interchange for the 22nd street parkway that was to go around the West edge of downtown.  That was the vision in the early 20th Century.  The highway has been dead for years but the interchange at I-64/highway 40 exists.  I fully support reclaiming this land.  I talked about the idea several years ago when reviewing ideas for the West end of the Gateway Mall.  I last blogged about the idea in December 2008 in the post MoDOT Needs To Put The 22nd Street Interchange On Any Wish List For Funding.  So go back and read that post & comments again so you’ll be up to speed when I mention it again next week as part of my review of Paul McKee’s plan for St. Louis’ North Side.


Currently there are "19 comments" on this Article:

  1. Becker says:

    I believe MoDOT had identified this land as an area that could be reworked and returned to the community as well. But like everything else, they are waiting for the money to do it.

  2. john says:

    The Music Man coming to save the River City?

  3. Jimmy Z says:

    While I was only able to catch part of the McEagle presentation last night, I did see a lot to like. I like that they’re trying to create separate commercial nodes, surrounded, I assume, by reinvestments in housing. I also really like that they have Civitas involved, since I’m familiar with their work and that it’s highly respective of and responsive to the urban fabric. The two real challenges will be changing the perceptions, of both residents and nonresidents, and finding buyers, tenants, users, investors to actually pull it off. Change can be scary, but this part of the city could benefit, hugely, from the right kind.

  4. ceepee deecee says:

    Civitas, schmivitas. Show me the redevelopment ordinance!

  5. Turd Ferguson says:

    Can someone who was at the meeting last night give some clue as to what McKee’s plans for the street grid are? Plus, I do not like the idea of large “job creation centers”. As a country we are going to have to downsize on a large scale. I only see these centers being vacant, if they are built at all.

  6. Jimmy Z says:

    The presentation last night showed a lot more street grid being brought back than going away. And, I’d rather see the series of smaller employment nodes (as presented) than one huge “industrial park”, which was what I was expecting. And you’re right, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings and a viable redevelopment ordinance is adopted – only time will tell.

  7. john says:

    Attractive street grid: http://kunstlercast.com/shows/KunstlerCast_56_Virtual_Tour_Paris.html

    Typical American street grid:http://kunstlercast.com/shows/KunstlerCast_65_Virtual_Tour_Detroit.html

    Which one is being advocated? One that favors speeding cars or the one that favors people/slow moving vehicles?
    Are we heading toward Motor City or the City of Lights? I think I already know…

  8. Steveo says:

    John, are Paris and Detroit our only options? I have nothing to do with the project, but I can guarantee you that North St. Louis is not about to be transformed into Paris. The existing street grid, which is very urban in nature will remain and some of the grid that has been eliminated by various projects (22nd St. interchange) will be brought back.

  9. ceepee deecee says:

    The Civitas fancy-pants pie in the sky is only part of the sales pitch. It’s not a blueprint, or a plan, but a tactic to build political support for a project that is otherwise dead in the water. Last night’s meeting was a focus group, not a public meeting. The real deal is in the blighting study and ordinance, and no one showed us those last night. Ooh, pretty pictures. Ooh, Mark Johnson and Civitas. Oooh, legacy properties, jobs, green, stimulus, Obama, hope, lead, jobs, green, sustainable, trolley, jobs, jobs, jobs.

  10. Tim B says:

    I’m all for altering the interchange but I would want one portion of it left alone: the northwest corner, which is where the City Seeds Urban Farm is located. If that corner of the intersection is intended to be redeveloped along with the rest of the intersection land, then the City Seeds program will end. That should not happen because the City Seeds program is a huge success for the St. Patrick’s Center and Gateway Greening. On a side note, produce from the farm is sold at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market and it is excellent.

  11. john says:

    I’m not expecting Paris but the question was which way are we heading? It was not one or the other. To understand how urban grid is made more attractive, see:http://nymag.com/news/features/56794/
    – –
    “This would be the most striking alteration of the city’s physical landscape since the days of Robert Moses. And more than a little ironic, seeing as Moses constructed his empire of roads and highways while serving for 26 years as the city’s Parks commissioner. One wonders what he would think of a Transportation commissioner who dismantled New York’s most famous street and turned it into a park.”
    – –
    We had a great opportunity to make the Main Street of the region (highway 40) into a combination multi-modal network (which the 22nd street area was a key component) and east-west extensions of Forest Park. Instead we continue to sacrifice Park property for a New 64 and now the large interchange is being requested for unknown purposes as the New 64 is now a given.

  12. Jimmy Z says:

    OK, ceepee deecee, I agree, Civitas was brought in for eye candy. This was, after all, a sales pitch. But I like what I saw, unlike too many other redevelopment efforts that have happened and are in progress around the region (BPV, LC, Gravois Bluffs, Sunset Hills, Richmond Heights, etc., etc.). Just what exactly is wrong with striving for “legacy properties, jobs, green, stimulus, Obama, hope, lead, green [or] sustainable”, other than the fact that they happen to be the buzzwords du jour? And to get to a final blighting study and ordinance, you gotta know which way you’re headed, and planning from general to specific is the way it’s usually done.

    Which gets to what’s your alternative? Leave things the way they are? Nuke everything and build an industrial park? I’m seeing more than a little sensitivity in the eyewash to many of the issues we’ve worked through on multiple previous posts on this site, things like respecting existing neighborhoods and bringing back the street grid. Was what was presented perfect? Final? Realistic? A developer just blowing smoke? Of course not! It’s round one in what will be an extended dialogue. The worst we can hope for is a massive lack of specificity on the legislative side, but knowing that, we just need to hold our elected officials feet to the proverbial fire!

  13. anon says:

    Redevelopment plans can range from the very general to the highly specific. Ceepee Deecee is right to be focused on that issue. One question I have is whether the redevelopment plan will encompass the entire “NorthSide” project area, or if it will only bite off one chunk at a time. It would seem the more focused the project area, the more specific the documentation will be.

  14. Becker says:

    To me a lot of the uproar over this project is coming from people who want to bring the northside back, but only want it done their way. This “my way or the highway” thinking, no matter how progressive, is no better coming from them than from the fat cats and politicians.

  15. Tim E says:

    Concerning the 22nd street interchange. Would McKee’s plan include a new or revised Jefferson Ave interchange? I think this is an ideal opportunity to promote a single point interchange and the funds needs to do it at Jefferson Ave. Talk about a great north south arterial that connects the city with three freeways if I’m not mistaken. I wish their was a metrolink station in the middle of it. Would make a trolley or street car line much more effective and plausible. Only adding more to Jefferson Ave.

    I think McKee sees a big opportunity with Wells Fargo. A West coast institution that became nationwide now finds itself with plenty of office space in an affordable city in a low tax state in the middle of the country. On top of it, St. Louis has an relatively unknown but substantial number of qualified people in Corporate IT along with the infrastructure that suppports high speed data handling. Not to mention the city is trying very hard to make a substantial China connection (Also think of a well established and wealthy asian community in Wells Fargo’s home town).

    I see Jefferson Ave as McKee’s first area of development that he wishes to pursue. Spefically, making an offer for the Wells Fargo office space in return for a long term lease. Getting better access from I-64/Hwy 40 from Jefferson Ave will be a selling point that he would desire when it comes to leasing space outside of Wells Fargo.

  16. Adam says:


    Do you have any examples of people saying, “my way or the highway?” What I’ve seen is a lot of people suggesting that there needs to be oversight and community input on this project.

  17. barbara_on_19th says:

    As a resident of the 5th Ward, with a McKee lot touching my house and two McKee buildings staring at me with their dead eyes, my least favorite thing about the project is the family business in charge. We understand that they are commercial developers, not property managers. However, good commercial developers hire reputable property managers, if only to maintain good publicity. So, count me in as someone who doubts the McKee family’s organizational capacity to carry this off, as they still haven’t started a regular maintenance schedule and we are well into the growing season.

    However, if the project does take place, I am concerned that the big planned TIF money is all for 2 big downtown projects, on 22nd and at the new bridge. So we sign over the near northside to indenture, covenants and privatized utilities, for which the neighborhood gets…. nothing from the TIFs. All the actual northside projects were marked on the plans as “depending on market conditions”. hmmm.

    Give us a mowing schedule and a quality grocery store that will sell fresh vegetables and white meat chicken and you might find people more willing to overlook the 5-year reign of terror.

  18. HYeahMFr says:


  19. HYeahMFr says:



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