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Fixes For Stadium West, Stadium East

November 19, 2012 Downtown, Featured, Parking, Planning & Design 21 Comments

In 2016 the nearly identical parking garages known as “Stadium East” and “Stadium West” will turn 50 years old. Despite the milestone, I don’t expect preservationists to give tours, or oppose the alterations I propose below.

ABOVE: The 8th Street face of the Stadium West garage. The pedestrian ramp to the street crossing isn’t ADA-compliant, Stadium East doesn’t have a similar ramp.
ABOVE: The first thing is repaint the structure to something other than white, or red. White is so bright, it demands attention. Bright colors advance, dark colors recede.
ABOVE: Remove inaccessible walkway, freeing up space for small storefront spaces to be used during games or other special events.
ABOVE: A sidewalk vendor during one of the last Cardinals home games is the type of vender that could occupy a tiny storefront space.
ABOVE: Filling in the center recess with glass-friont retail will help lesson the visual impact of the massive garages facing the future “Ballpark Village”.
ABOVE: The garages will never disappear but they can’t be toned down considerably.

I’ve written before that I’d like to see these garages razed but they’re in good condition and fill a need.  They just need to fade into the background, a color change will accomplish that.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "21 comments" on this Article:

  1. Mark Brown says:

    How ’bout tearing them down and building new towers with UNDERGROUND garages.

  2. JZ71 says:

    On a scale of 1 to 10, of things that need to be “fixed” in St. Louis, these ideas would rate a 1. Let’s get BPV built and occupied, and much of the existing, vacant street-level retail spaces occupied BEFORE we go creating even more isolated, vacant (except on game day) retail spaces, ESPECIALLY using taxes and fees controlled by the Treasurer. The reason much of downtown feels like a ghost town {much of the time) isn’t that these structures are painted white, it’s because we’re not attracting enough fans / shoppers / conventioneers / young hipsters / drunk party animals to fill up all the clubs and stores that we already have!

    • sanctimonious says:

      So basically you’re saying don’t sweat the small stuff. Good idea.

      • JZ71 says:

        No, I’m saying spend our limited city resources wisely. Most Cardinals fans aren’t interested in boutiques, they’re interested in beer, sports bars, beer, souvenirs, beer, cheap parking, beer and getting back to the suburbs as quickly as possible. We already are meeting the demand for beer and souvenirs in the surrounding area. BPV will increase the supply, with little increase in demand. Modifying these city-owned facilities to create even more supply, absent any real increase in demand, makes absolutely no financial sense!

        As for color choices, I don’t have any strong opinions. If/when they require repainting, then, yes, let’s discuss some new color schemes. But to just repaint them now “to tone them down”, would not be cheap and would do little to change any of the other issues that afflict the area.

    • St. Louis does have many bigger issues to address but this is something simple that could improve the area quickly and for very little cost. Unfortunately there’s little incentive for UGP-KIENER/STADIUM PARKING LLC of Scottsdale AZ to do anything other than collect money.

    • stlsig says:

      JZ – I understand your point, but give Steve a little break here. Not every post has to discuss a major project or a big issue (I think he does a good job on hitting on a lot of BIG ones). He’s just discussing something he saw and what he’d do with it, the conversation is really about “what would you do to fix this” not so much is this the right conversation to be had. Lets be honest, there are a LOT of little problems downtown that need attention.

      • Thank you. We shouldn’t focus 100% on the big issues or the details, we must simultaneously look at both. I try to post on a variety of topics, including ways for private property owners to improve their properties to 1) better the pedestrian experience 2) raise the market value of said property and 3) make more money with little capital expense.

      • JZ71 says:

        One, I agree, Steve invests an incredible amount of effort putting out his blog every day, and I totally respect him for that. Two, I agree, we can’t just ignore the small stuff – it’s like that old proverb – How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Three, I agree, this is one of those smaller things, definitely a one out of ten. That said, we have much bigger issues, both with at least half of the downtown area being surface parking and with the reality that it’s very difficult* to retrofit existing parking garages for other uses. Instead of concentrating on spending big money on “fixing” our existing garages, how about making sure our new ones are better, much like the newest one, across from City Hall? How about focusing on making all those surface lots go away, before we mess with what ain’t broke? And banking on attracting a lot of essentially part-time businesses makes very little sense, since most owners want the peace of mind that consistent daily and weekly traffic bring, many time in suburban locations.

        *Parking garages have low ceilings (leaving little room to retrofit HVAC), few good options for vertical chases (for kitchen equipment), floors that are less stiff / more springy that true commercial structures, have relatively little power coming in, are rarely set up to accommodate rear exits or deliveries out of retail spaces and require new storefronts (many times having to cut through existing concrete elements). Can they modified? To a point, yes. At what cost? It won’t be cheap. In my mind, it makes way more sense to focus on making new stuff good, and accepting that what’s already here is good enough.

        • stlsig says:

          Tip of the cap… JZ, you’re one of the few people that comment on this site that I bring a balanced point of view. Sometimes I think we all get a little too focused on what we didn’t see in a post or why Steve was off base, rather than taking note of the overall effort and quality of the work he provides. I agree with your points as I agree with his. Lots of good ideas being tossed around here.

  3. RyleyinSTL says:

    Clearly Ballpark Village isn’t happening anytime soon. It seems the folks involved are happy with the current parking lot/diamond combo or the economy is conspiring against them…..

    In the mean time I’d support a face lift to the half century old carparks. Something like what was accomplished at the old St. Louis Center Mall. For a carpark it looks about as good as one can. Saying that I’m not sure that ground level shop space could support 365 leased space.

    Perhaps the city should look at how it issues street vendor permits and getting more friendly with those guys….just thinking out loud.

    • The design of these garages prevent using any of the existing space for retail. New retail could fit only new space in the recessed areas, these would be tiny spaces. Perhaps only occupied during baseball season.

    • stlsig says:

      Ballpark village is out for bid right now, while that doesn’t always mean that the project will move forward it’s getting a lot of attention from all the contractors and subs in the area, thus it’s likely to get solid numbers. I’m just pointing this out because it’s not clear that BPV isn’t happening soon at this point.

  4. tpekren says:

    To get to JZ point, I really think Steve’s plan is doable if you can get more buildout on BPV and ramaining Cupples warehouse/infill moves forward. I think a bigger issue and one that would be a determint in the immediate future is if BPV wants to incorporate more parking garages into their own development. That would be shame. I would rather see these parking lots somehow come into the BPV or Cupples development if it means a major employer relocates or if you get more residential units. In other, make it part of an incentive package with changes that Steve suggest. At end of day, the focus is how do you get more employees and residents not how much retail space you can develop.


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