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Potential Development Sites Along Proposed Streetcar Line, Part 8: Central Business District

This post is the final in a series looking at potential development sites along the proposed initial route of the St. Louis Streetcar.  Previously I reviewed:

  1. Olive 15th-16th
  2. Olive 16th-18th
  3. 14th & Olive To North Florissant & St. Louis Ave.
  4. Olive 18th to Jefferson
  5. Jefferson to Compton
  6. Compton to Vandeventer
  7. Vandeventer to Taylor & Children’s Pl

I saved the downtown CBD (Central Business District) for last. You may think downtown is done but I found lots of opportunities for additional development.

ABOVE: Artist rendering of streetcar in downtown St. Louis
ABOVE: Artist rendering of streetcar in downtown St. Louis at Chestnut St/Kiener Plaza
The downtown section of the route has one-way single tracks, with opposite directions a block apart. This is different than the rest of the route and due to the narrow street widths in the CBD.
The downtown section of the route (yellow) has one-way single tracks, with opposite directions a block apart. This is different than the rest of the route and due to the narrow street widths in the CBD. Existing MetroLink light rail subway is shown in red.

Coming east into downtown from the west the lines will be in the center of Olive Street. East of 14th the line goes to a single eastbound track to 6th Street, turning right (south) onto 6th, right (west) onto Chestnut St/Kiener Plaza, right (north) onto 7th, left (West) onto Locust to 14th. There are many areas not directly served by this compact loop, but it gets riders within 2-3 blocks of many places of employment/interest.

Ok, let’s start at 14th and Olive and do the loop and end up on the other side of the library at 14th & Locust.

Library Park bounded by Olive, 13th, Pine, &  14th will stay a park. Will be welcomed open space as the corridor gets greater density.
Library Park bounded by Olive, 13th, Pine, & 14th will stay a park. Will be welcomed open space as the corridor gets greater density. To the east is the Park Pacific, a mixed-use redevelopment of the former Missouri Pacific Railroad headquarters.
The north side of Olive between Tucker (12th) and 13th is a disaster area, perfect for infill development. This is three different parking lots with three different owners, one is Christ Church Cathedral.
The north side of Olive between Tucker (12th) and 13th is a disaster area, perfect for infill development. This is three different parking lots with three different owners, one is Christ Church Cathedral, shown at right.
The US Bank site will hopefully get redeveloped, getting a new building(s) like it once had.
The US Bank site will hopefully get redeveloped, getting a new building(s) like it once had. This 1-story branch was built in 1985. The Jefferson Arms in the background will be addressed further down when we get to Locust & Tucker. Click image to view a 1958 aerial.
In February 1909 this block was very dense. Soon after the one open corner got a very large building. Most remained as late as 1971.
In February 1909 city block 515 was very dense, soon after the one open corner got a very large building. Most remained as late as 1971. Click image to view original on the UM Digital Library.
Looking back west across Tucker. Infilling the bank site with a building about the height of the Jefferson Arms would be ideal.
Looking back west across Tucker. Infilling the bank site with a building about the height of the Jefferson Arms would be ideal. At least as tall as Christ Church Cathedral.
Looking back at the Park Pacific. This new garage isn't going anywhere for decades but all the retail spaces should get leased.
Looking back at the Park Pacific. This new garage isn’t going anywhere for decades but all the retail spaces should get leased.
Between 1965-1999 the former St. Louis Post-Dispatch building was covered in a steel curtain wall system. Click image to view the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
Between 1965-1999 the former St. Louis Post-Dispatch building was covered in a steel curtain wall system. Click image to view the nomination of this 1916 building to the National Register of Historic Places. It should be easier to lease once the streetcar route is just outside.
I'd like to see a more interesting use of the ground floor spaces, currently the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is behind these blinds.
I’d like to see a more interesting use of the ground floor spaces, currently the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is behind these blinds facing Olive.
Between Olive and the new SLU Law School is 210 N Tucker, now a date center. But I have hope for the ground floor...
Between Olive and the new SLU Law School is 210 N Tucker, now a date center. But I have hope for the ground floor…
The Wheeler Post Office, entered off Olive, recently remodeled. It no longer occupies the front section of the building. This leaves room for small retailer(s), assuming it isn't filled with racks of servers.
The Wheeler Post Office, entered off Olive, recently remodeled. It no longer occupies the front section of the building. This leaves room for small retailer(s), assuming it isn’t filled with racks of servers.
The Olive side and rear of the building has been unfortunate since built in 1969, new backup generators make it worse. Creative paint perhaps?
The Olive side and rear of the building has been unfortunate since built in 1969, new backup generators make it worse. Creative paint perhaps?
1111 Olive was built in 1942 as an annex to the Post-Dispatch, KSDK TV had early studios here. This is also now a data center.
1111 Olive was built in 1942 as an annex to the Post-Dispatch, KSDK TV had early studios here. This is also now a data center. Hopefully this ground floor retail space is still vacant so it can be reactivated.
The western portion of the ground floor is open air, not sure if it always has been this way. Perfect for cafe seating protected from sun/rain.
The western portion of the ground floor is open air, not sure if it always has been this way. Perfect for cafe seating protected from sun/rain.
Four buildings remain on the south side of the 11xx block of Olive
Four buildings remain on the south side of the 11xx block of Olive. The 2 buildings on the right, both from 1886, used to have 5 floors. The narrow building to the left is from 1896 and the far left from 1912.
The remainder of the block, except a building facing Pine, is surface parking lots ready for new construction.
The remainder of the block, except a building facing Pine, is surface parking lots ready for new construction.
The building on the left, 1107 Olive, was threatened with demolition for parking last year but it was denied. It'll get renovated but the big store is the corner at 11th.
The building on the left, 1107 Olive, was threatened with demolition for parking last year but it was denied. It’ll get renovated but the big store is the corner at 11th.
This corner has underground parking for Louderman Lofts building
This corner has underground parking for Louderman Lofts building

Let me stop the flow of images briefly to talk more about this corner. Looks final, right? Drive to underground garage, stairs up to grade? Parking for commercial tenants and even a couple of lofts? You’re thinking there is no way this going to ever change. Seeing how it was built made me inquire with Louderman developer & resident Craig Heller of Loftworks, here’s his response:

Our plan has always been to build on that lot – parking for Louderman has been built under the lot. When it was built we sank piers to bedrock so that we build a new structure on top.

I had spotted the top of the piers. Folks, this is how you plan ahead! This was done 8-10 years ago and it may well be another 8-10 years before Heller can build on the corner. But when market conditions are right he’ll be able to see a handsome return on the cost of those piers. In the meantime, this would be a good corner for a food cart vendor with a few tables, chairs, umbrellas, etc. Ok, back to the streetcar route…

Diagonally across the intersection is two surface lots, one owned by the Omni Hotel on Pine. These will take longer to get developed.
Diagonally across the intersection is two surface lots, one owned by the Omni Hotel on Pine. These will take longer to get developed.
The buildings on the north side of the 10xx block of Olive are all handsome. Bussone's owns their building, perhaps downtown's oldest bar will get a new storefront?
The buildings on the north side of the 10xx block of Olive are all handsome. Bussone’s owns their building, perhaps downtown’s oldest bar will get a new storefront?
Craig Heller's Loftworks also owns the small parking lot at 10th & Olive.
Craig Heller’s Loftworks also owns the small parking lot at 10th & Olive.
This lot is in poor condition, with nothing but dirt underneath. I see this getting infill as well.
This lot is in poor condition, with nothing but dirt underneath the asphault I see this getting infill sooner rather than later.
At 8th & Olive we have the vacant Arcade-Wright building. Click image to read about the development plan
At 8th & Olive we have the vacant Arcade-Wright building. Click image to read about the development plan. The streetcar will make the retail spaces in the historic arcade more viable.
Diagonally across the intersection is the Chemical Building . Click the image to read about development plans  for this building. Retail will be more viable once the streetcar line opens.
Diagonally across the intersection is the Chemical Building . Click the image to read about development plans for this building. Retail will be more viable once the streetcar line opens.
The Laclede Gas Building on the SE corner of 8th & Olive should benefit from the  streetcar line.
The Laclede Gas Building on the SE corner of 8th & Olive should benefit from the streetcar line.
The fur & leather store that operated in the corner spot closed recently, a good spot if a direct exterior entrance is added.
The fur & leather store that operated in the corner spot closed recently, a good spot if a direct exterior entrance is added. Fall 2012 photo.
Until recently the top floor had the Point of View restaurant and the bar's law center.
Until recently the top floor had the Point of View restaurant and the bar’s law center. The St. Louis Bar Association moved to 6th & Washington Ave. Laclede Gas has also discussed relocating.
An 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station is located on the corner of the Laclede Gas Building.
An 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station is located on the corner of the Laclede Gas Building.
Macy's, formerly Famous-Barr, is closing at the end of the month.
Macy’s, formerly Famous-Barr, is closing at the end of the month.
The Railway Exchange Building, where Macy's is now on the lower 3 levels, has some very exciting things happening now, tomorrow I'll share what's going on in the former May Company offices.
The Railway Exchange Building, with Macy’s on the lower 3 levels until next month, has some very exciting things happening on upper floors. Tomorrow I’ll share what’s going on in the former May Company offices.
The 6xx block of Olive used to have more terra cotta buildings but only one was spared from demolition.The streetcar will run eastbound on Olive (left) and northbound on 7th (right).
The 6xx block of Olive used to have more terra cotta buildings but only one was spared from demolition. The streetcar will run eastbound on Olive (left) and northbound on 7th (right). This garage should be razed.
The corner of this block is a surface parking lot at 6th, the streetcar will turn onto 6th from Olive .
The corner of this block is a surface parking lot at 6th, the streetcar will turn onto 6th from Olive .
The Met Square building, built in 1988, is glossy and internally focused. Hopefully it can be softened up a bit at the street-level.
The Met Square building, built in 1988, is too glossy and internally focused. Hopefully it can be softened up a bit at the street-level.
Besides the sliver of the white terra cotta building, this is the only remaining non-parking building on the block.
Besides the sliver of the white terra cotta building, 207 N. 6th is the only remaining non-parking building on the block.
The two Kiener Plaza garages are awful. They should both be razed, replacing one with s garage using modern technology to fit more cars in s tight space. Click image to watch video of high tech parking.
The two Kiener Plaza parking garages are awful/uninviting structures
Looking north up 6th from Chestnut we see both Kiener garages, built in 1966. Both should be razzed, replacing one with a compact automatic parking garage, click image to watch a demo video of this technology.
Looking north up 6th from Chestnut we see both Kiener garages, built in 1966. Both should be razzed, replacing one with a compact automatic parking garage, click image to watch a demo video of this technology.
The streetcar would have a track in Chestnut plus a track in Kiener Plaza as a  layover point
The streetcar would have a track in Chestnut plus a track in Kiener Plaza as a layover point
I don't like the 1981 addition to Sullivan's Wainwright building. Click image to read s 1981 review in the NY Times.
I don’t like the 1981 addition to Sullivan’s Wainwright building, it is in poor condition and doesn’t relate to the street. This is a Missouri state office building.
Click image to read a 1981 review in the NY Times.
And we're back to the block that's almost entirely a 1962 parking garage in poor condition. The block will have streetcar line on 3 sides.
And we’re back to the block that’s almost entirely a 1962 parking garage in poor condition. The block will have streetcar line on 3 sides. The Railway Exchange can be seen in the background.
The surface parking lot on the SW corner of 7th & Locust is the only hole in that city block, it should be filled.
The surface parking lot on the SW corner of 7th & Locust is the only hole in that city block, it should be filled with new construction.
A few years ago the owner of the US Bank tower considered building a parking garage to replace this useless plaza. Hopefully an occupied building will replace the plaza. The Ambassador Theater was razed in 1996 for the plaza, click for info.
A few years ago the owner of the US Bank tower considered building a parking garage to replace this useless plaza. Hopefully an occupied building will replace the plaza. The Ambassador Theater was razed in 1996 for the plaza, click for info.
Once taller, shortened many years ago, vacant since 2009.
Once taller, shortened many years ago, vacant since 2009.
The first two buildings remain threatened with demolition. I'm not attached to them, I just want buildings not a circle driveway.
The first two buildings on Locust east of 10th remain threatened with demolition. I’m not attached to them, I just want buildings not a circle driveway.
Much of city block 823 bounded by 11th, Locust, Tucker, & St. Charles, is surface parking. Miss Hullings Cafeteria was located here for decades, click for more info.
Much of city block 823 bounded by 11th, Locust, Tucker, & St. Charles, is surface parking. Miss Hullings Cafeteria was located here for decades, click for more info.
The 1960 building on the NE corner of Tucker & Locust needs to be replaced with a larger structure.
The 1960 building on the NE corner of Tucker & Locust needs to be replaced with a larger structure.
On the west side of Tucker is  the vacant Jefferson Arms. Hopefully developers will be able to find the right formula to make the numbers work.
On the west side of Tucker is the vacant Jefferson Arms. Hopefully developers will be able to find the right formula to make the numbers work.

As you can see there are many opportunities along this route to re-urbanize and densify. Many more opportunities exist 1-4 blocks away from the route.

Here are two sentiments I’ve heard from readers recently:

  • “The streetcar should go down Washington Ave.”
  • “It would be nice if the activity on Washington Ave. would expand to other streets.”

If we’d put all our eggs into the Washington Ave basket we’d still wish years later the activity would reach other streets. By running the streetcar one and two blocks south of Washington Ave we’ll be expanding the activity while making it easier to get people to their Washington Ave places, like Mosaic.

Tomorrow we look at the entrepreneurial activity taking place on the 12th & 13th floors of the Railway Exchange building.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "80 comments" on this Article:

  1. guest says:

    Time to start focusing on some current issues. What about how to pay for security cameras in the 4th and 21st wards? Enough about more, more, more for downtown. With so much emphasis on downtown, soon, downtown will be looking for ways to secede from the rest of STL City. Why wouldn’t it?

     
    • Sorry, this is my blog and I write about what interests me at the moment. Transportation for the whole city is important, including downtown.

      I find it interesting you see funding cameras in two of the 11 wards on the northside, crime doesn’t happen in the other 9? And frankly, I’m more interested in how to change the economics of the northside.

      But this post is about transit downtown.

       
      • guest says:

        As a percentage, downtown has way more transit than the rest of the city. It’s served by multiple bus lines, a downtown trolley, Amtrak, and six Metrolink stations. Time to start spreading the wealth. North city does not have one Metrolink station.

         
        • I addressed improving transit in north & south city in the poll last week, see results on Wednesday. The poll next week will get into specifics on the subject.

           
        • I addressed improving transit in north & south city in the poll last week, see results on Wednesday. The poll next week will get into specifics on the subject.

           
      • guest says:

        As a percentage, downtown has way more transit than the rest of the city. It’s served by multiple bus lines, a downtown trolley, Amtrak, and six Metrolink stations. Time to start spreading the wealth. North city does not have one Metrolink station.

         
    • Sorry, this is my blog and I write about what interests me at the moment. Transportation for the whole city is important, including downtown.

      I find it interesting you see funding cameras in two of the 11 wards on the northside, crime doesn’t happen in the other 9? And frankly, I’m more interested in how to change the economics of the northside.

      But this post is about transit downtown.

       
    • mark says:

      The city’s core identity is and has always has been downtown. The outlying neighborhoods were developed because of downtown and require a strong downtown presence to anchor them. Investing in areas of high density living have a larger return on every dollar spent and it makes sense to put most of our resources where they will do the most good. Spending money in the 4th and 21st wards is just throwing money away.

       
    • mark says:

      The city’s core identity is and has always has been downtown. The outlying neighborhoods were developed because of downtown and require a strong downtown presence to anchor them. Investing in areas of high density living have a larger return on every dollar spent and it makes sense to put most of our resources where they will do the most good. Spending money in the 4th and 21st wards is just throwing money away.

       
      • guest says:

        “Spending money in the 4th and 21st wards is just throwing money away.” Interesting comment about our northside neighbors. About how many other wards/neighborhoods would you make that same remark? And do you say that to the faces of people living there?

        From the tone of your post, it sounds like you’d only spend money in the city’s strongest areas. Sounds like a repeat of the “Team Four” plan to me. So let’s play that scenario out to its logical conclusion. Perhaps buyouts of everyone living in these war zones is next?

         
        • Eric says:

          You notice that the city’s population continues to decrease. That’s because everyone who is capable of leaving the “war zones” does so. It’s not so different from a buyout, just cheaper.

           
          • moe says:

            It’s hard to say what the population would be if the economy had not collapsed. But by all accounts it has stabilized and started to grow again. There are many, many people that love the City and all that it offers. War zones….typical suburbanite response but hey, we’ll see you at the Zoo, the Art Museum, the ball game, etc.

             
          • John R says:

            moe, I wish it were true that we’re starting to grow, but the census estimates for 2011 and 2012 show continuing loss. I think what we’re seeing is a few neighborhoods gaining population, more like TGS losing population but gaining wealth, and even more neighborhoods losing population and not gaining wealth.

            Also, many demographers believe that many people are “trapped” in their current housing due to the poor housing and economic markets, and as things return to better days there will be lots of movement resulting from pent up demand. If true, it could result in a rude awakening for the city’s population. My fear is that while we may be a wealthier city per capita, we’ll see continued significant population loss and perhaps even under 300K by 2020. I hope I am wrong!

             
          • Eric says:

            The slums depopulating and the rich neighborhoods densifying sounds like a good formula for the city. I just hope the ex-slum residents are escaping poverty and crime, rather than recreating it in a suburb somewhere else.

             
          • John R says:

            moe, I wish it were true that we’re starting to grow, but the census estimates for 2011 and 2012 show continuing loss. I think what we’re seeing is a few neighborhoods gaining population, more like TGS losing population but gaining wealth, and even more neighborhoods losing population and not gaining wealth.

            Also, many demographers believe that many people are “trapped” in their current housing due to the poor housing and economic markets, and as things return to better days there will be lots of movement resulting from pent up demand. If true, it could result in a rude awakening for the city’s population. My fear is that while we may be a wealthier city per capita, we’ll see continued significant population loss and perhaps even under 300K by 2020. I hope I am wrong!

             
          • moe says:

            It’s hard to say what the population would be if the economy had not collapsed. But by all accounts it has stabilized and started to grow again. There are many, many people that love the City and all that it offers. War zones….typical suburbanite response but hey, we’ll see you at the Zoo, the Art Museum, the ball game, etc.

             
        • Eric says:

          You notice that the city’s population continues to decrease. That’s because everyone who is capable of leaving the “war zones” does so. It’s not so different from a buyout, just cheaper.

           
      • guest says:

        “Spending money in the 4th and 21st wards is just throwing money away.” Interesting comment about our northside neighbors. About how many other wards/neighborhoods would you make that same remark? And do you say that to the faces of people living there?

        From the tone of your post, it sounds like you’d only spend money in the city’s strongest areas. Sounds like a repeat of the “Team Four” plan to me. So let’s play that scenario out to its logical conclusion. Perhaps buyouts of everyone living in these war zones is next?

         
  2. guest says:

    Time to start focusing on some current issues. What about how to pay for security cameras in the 4th and 21st wards? Enough about more, more, more for downtown. With so much emphasis on downtown, soon, downtown will be looking for ways to secede from the rest of STL City. Why wouldn’t it?

     
  3. Mark says:

    I have parked in three separate automated garages in Europe. The concept works well (logistically) for residential parking, for some retail parking–not for event parking and not for most office parking. Everyone leaves at the same time when an event is over and when the office closes–not a good scenario in an automated garage. While the “dump” time for a conventional 10-level/700 vehicle garage equipped with one integral ramp is approximately 18 minutes (provided customers have pre-paid), the “dump” time for a 700-vehicle automated garage, equipped with 3 lifts, can be as much as 230 minutes…….probably not a good concept to replace the Kiener garages. (1 minute per car (big britches to fill!), 700 cars, 3 lifts working simultaneously.) (Believe it or not, customers are MORE patient during wait periods in a conventional garage, slowly inching toward the exit in their vehicles, than they are standing in line with a ticket in their hands.) And, imagine the reaction if electricity is lost! Another thought: while automated vehicle garage usage is more dense, thus lowering the per-car cost of construction, the cost to construct an automated garage is AT LEAST twice that of a conventional garage in seismic-prone areas (like STL), due to heavier concentrated loads, significant lateral design considerations/irregular shear wall placements and special equipment costs.

    I’m confused by your comment about the Wainwright addition. I personally think it’s brilliant. But that’s an opinion But you mentioned it is in “poor condition” and “doesn’t relate to the street”. How is it in “poor condition”? And how could it possibly relate better with the street?

     
  4. Mark says:

    I have parked in three separate automated garages in Europe. The concept works well (logistically) for residential parking, for some retail parking–not for event parking and not for most office parking. Everyone leaves at the same time when an event is over and when the office closes–not a good scenario in an automated garage. While the “dump” time for a conventional 10-level/700 vehicle garage equipped with one integral ramp is approximately 18 minutes (provided customers have pre-paid), the “dump” time for a 700-vehicle automated garage, equipped with 3 lifts, can be as much as 230 minutes…….probably not a good concept to replace the Kiener garages. (1 minute per car (big britches to fill!), 700 cars, 3 lifts working simultaneously.) (Believe it or not, customers are MORE patient during wait periods in a conventional garage, slowly inching toward the exit in their vehicles, than they are standing in line with a ticket in their hands.) And, imagine the reaction if electricity is lost! Another thought: while automated vehicle garage usage is more dense, thus lowering the per-car cost of construction, the cost to construct an automated garage is AT LEAST twice that of a conventional garage in seismic-prone areas (like STL), due to heavier concentrated loads, significant lateral design considerations/irregular shear wall placements and special equipment costs.

    I’m confused by your comment about the Wainwright addition. I personally think it’s brilliant. But that’s an opinion But you mentioned it is in “poor condition” and “doesn’t relate to the street”. How is it in “poor condition”? And how could it possibly relate better with the street?

     
    • Interesting point about automated garages, but I don’t think everyone leaves events/offices at the same time. Most, but not all.

      Walk around the Wainwright block and look at the windows, look at the blank walls lacking doors/activity.

       
      • Mark says:

        The wood window trim is made of Teak wood. It is intended to remain raw. Like copper, it develops a patina. The original windows on the Wainwright Building were trimmed in Teak. Teak was used in the original building’s renovation also. In another life, maybe you need to take that discussion up with Louie Sullivan.

        The “blank” walls, lacking “doors/activity” is one architectural design element employed to “understate” the addition, in an effort to create a quiet statement…..a whisper! But you should take that discussion up with an architect.

         
      • Mark says:

        The wood window trim is made of Teak wood. It is intended to remain raw. Like copper, it develops a patina. The original windows on the Wainwright Building were trimmed in Teak. Teak was used in the original building’s renovation also. In another life, maybe you need to take that discussion up with Louie Sullivan.

        The “blank” walls, lacking “doors/activity” is one architectural design element employed to “understate” the addition, in an effort to create a quiet statement…..a whisper! But you should take that discussion up with an architect.

         
      • Mark says:

        Ok, I’ll accept your “most”. Does ‘most’ mean 75%? If so, reduce my dump estimates by 25%…..still a bit longer than I want to wait. How about 50%? I still don’t want to wait almost 2 hours! In a perfect scenario, with lots of coordination with traffic control and streets departments, you can’t beat the efficiency of a conventional parking garage. (I wrote “efficiency”, and I did not imply anything else!)

         
        • Conventional parking garages are terribly inefficient when it cones to space/massing, Plus we have issues with car break-ins.

          Maybe both garages get replaced with one conventional garage? I know both a falling apart, aren’t user-friendly, and present an ugly face to the city. They must go, they can’t even be re-skinned.

           
          • Mark says:

            Unfortunately, car break-ins occur on the street and surface lots as well as in garages. And the inefficiencies you refer to result from the need for ramps. Ramps are streets in a garage! Gotta get those vehicles “in” and “out” safely!! The alternative, automated garages, have their own inefficiencies. But other than ramps, where are the inefficiencies in a conventional garage?

            The presence of structural deterioration determines when it’s time to fix or nix a garage. Structural deterioration differs from surface deterioration. Concrete column and shear wall delaminations, crumbling concrete ramp walls, exposed and rusted reinforcing steel, missing or broken structural tendons, under-deck spauling. cracked/shifted beams and girders–these are structural “no-no’s” in garage ownership. Sometimes (often) it’s cheaper to make repairs than to replace–depending on the condition. I parked recently in both Kiener garages. Neither should be nixed! Over the years, they’ve just been raped and put away without a kiss. Plain, lackluster facades can be improved with paint or by creating a facade designed by a creative architect (or by a few engineers). (Do you hate the Justice Center Garage? Facades don’t have to cost a fortune!) Rusted stairwell railings point to crappy maintenance, and can be repaired with little bags of money–certainly cheaper than garage replacement. Depending on the garage’s condition, you’ll need more or fewer little bags of money. St. Louis is blessed with two construction firms that specialize in garage restoration, and both are capable of restoring the Kiener garages without a lot of drama. (And, no, I’m not drumming up business. I work for a firm that specializes in garage design.) Hey, I gotta eat too!!!!

             
          • Ah, but car break-ins don’t happen in automated garages!
            It has been a few years, but one of the Kiener garages had a couples of levels sealed off to cars because of structural deficiencies.
            But I’m open minded, I’d be interested in seeing ideas on how these two existing structures can be modernized so they’re more appealing to use as a motorist and more pleasant to walk past.

             
          • Mark says:

            Not to belabor a point…..but actually, car break-ins can occur in an automated garage. In an automated design, access to each parking level has to be provided in the event of a fire or for some other reason. Whenever access is provided, a crafty thief will find a way to cash in. (Have I successfully changed your mind about parking garages yet? Just kidding. Oh, I gotta go….gotta go eat!)

             
          • I suppose, criminals can be crafty. But automatic garage designs vary, like this VW garage that doesn’t have typical levels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JguJpX7bS6k

             
          • Mark says:

            For that garage, don’t bother with the little bags of money…..go for the larger bags! And make sure you get lots of them!

             
          • True, but even the design standards of conventional garages have changed a lot since I was in architecture school in the late 80s, even more so since the 50s/60s.

             
          • Mark says:

            You’re right. Seismic upgrades have especially increased the price tags for conventional garages. ADA and life-safety considerations too! But those upgrades/considerations would be necessary even for automated garages (especially for automated garages to a greater or lesser extent!!!!!), and therefore can’t be a consideration when deciding between conventional (DUMB??????) vs automated.

             
          • But we’re comparing a 1966 conventional design to a new design (auto/conv).

            I don’t know how many spaces are in the two Kiener garages but I’d like to think this number could be achieved in the footprint of just the east garage. Then build a building, with underground parking, on the site of the west garage.
            It may take 15-20 years but the existing garages won’t last forever.

             
          • Mark says:

            Actually, if you double or nearly double the height of a new garage to accommodate a comparable number of vehicles as you suggest, you also increase the DUMP time. If you’re on the 20th level, you might want to bring a sleeping bag, a few bananas, and a jug of orange juice. Also, seismic issues get really complicated and sticky when you build a conventional garage over 10 stories, especially in seismic-prone areas (like STL). Complicated + Sticky= PRICEY. That’s our motto! Gotta get lots of little bags of money ready to turn over to that contractor!

             
          • Mark says:

            Actually, if you double or nearly double the height of a new garage to accommodate a comparable number of vehicles as you suggest, you also increase the DUMP time. If you’re on the 20th level, you might want to bring a sleeping bag, a few bananas, and a jug of orange juice. Also, seismic issues get really complicated and sticky when you build a conventional garage over 10 stories, especially in seismic-prone areas (like STL). Complicated + Sticky= PRICEY. That’s our motto! Gotta get lots of little bags of money ready to turn over to that contractor!

             
          • But we’re comparing a 1966 conventional design to a new design (auto/conv).

            I don’t know how many spaces are in the two Kiener garages but I’d like to think this number could be achieved in the footprint of just the east garage. Then build a building, with underground parking, on the site of the west garage.
            It may take 15-20 years but the existing garages won’t last forever.

             
          • Mark says:

            You’re right. Seismic upgrades have especially increased the price tags for conventional garages. ADA and life-safety considerations too! But those upgrades/considerations would be necessary even for automated garages (especially for automated garages to a greater or lesser extent!!!!!), and therefore can’t be a consideration when deciding between conventional (DUMB??????) vs automated.

             
          • True, but even the design standards of conventional garages have changed a lot since I was in architecture school in the late 80s, even more so since the 50s/60s.

             
          • Mark says:

            For that garage, don’t bother with the little bags of money…..go for the larger bags! And make sure you get lots of them!

             
          • JZ71 says:

            Automated garages cost way more to operate than “dumb” garages with ramps. If your goal is to price parking at a point that people seriously consider alternatives (everything from switching to transit to avoiding downtown entirely), then fine, push automated parking. But if your goal is a thriving downtown, accept that affordable parking is / should be a part of the equation, and advocate for realistic alternatives like the new Park Place garage, with ground floor retail built up to the sidewalk. Is it “perfect”? No! But it sure beats surface parking lots, which will be the reality if suburbanites decide downtown isn’t worth the hassle (and yes, parking is there for the suburbanites – downtown residents can and do walk around downtown) . . . .

             
          • Mark says:

            It rips my heart out when people refer to one of my garages as “dumb”!

             
          • The wheel motif on the city garage east of Laclede Gas is pretty dumb.

             
          • Mark says:

            Yea, probably is. But you noticed it, didn’t you? When it was discussed, I thought it was a design statement that lacked originality, much like selecting kitchen wallpaper that shows kettles and frying pans. Shame on you, Andy!

             
          • Mark says:

            Yea, probably is. But you noticed it, didn’t you? When it was discussed, I thought it was a design statement that lacked originality, much like selecting kitchen wallpaper that shows kettles and frying pans. Shame on you, Andy!

             
          • The wheel motif on the city garage east of Laclede Gas is pretty dumb.

             
          • Mark says:

            It rips my heart out when people refer to one of my garages as “dumb”!

             
          • We currently have an oversupply of garage parking. An expensive option at a desirable location would offer a choice to motorists. I just don;t think a tired 1966 garage should remain after it has a modern streetcar on 3 sides.

             
          • Mark says:

            Offer the challenge of providing a facade design to a legitimate local architect, and the results MIGHT bring more attention than the passing of a modern streetcar! (Didn’t want to name any firms in particular….gotta work with most of them.)

             
          • I think it goes beyond just facade design. The internal design of the garage seems outdated, the long tunnel to reach the elevators, etc.

             
          • I think it goes beyond just facade design. The internal design of the garage seems outdated, the long tunnel to reach the elevators, etc.

             
          • Mark says:

            Minor consideration. Consider the tunnel effect vs demolition/reconstruction! Throw in a coat of paint, add some white lighting, especially in the tunnels, do some creative graphics, and wha-laaa! You’ve got a cheap upgrade!

             
          • Mark says:

            Minor consideration. Consider the tunnel effect vs demolition/reconstruction! Throw in a coat of paint, add some white lighting, especially in the tunnels, do some creative graphics, and wha-laaa! You’ve got a cheap upgrade!

             
          • Mark says:

            Go to the Mansion House garage and take a look! Now that’s a convoluted series of afterthoughts……but you know what? It works!

             
          • Mark says:

            Go to the Mansion House garage and take a look! Now that’s a convoluted series of afterthoughts……but you know what? It works!

             
          • Mark says:

            Offer the challenge of providing a facade design to a legitimate local architect, and the results MIGHT bring more attention than the passing of a modern streetcar! (Didn’t want to name any firms in particular….gotta work with most of them.)

             
          • JZ71 says:

            “We currently have an oversupply of garage parking” because we also have an oversupply of vacant office and retail space duh! If there is a demand for more retail and office space, there will also be more demand for parking – not all growth in demand is going to come from streetcar riders! Yes, “An expensive option at a desirable location would offer a choice to motorists”, a very poor choice! And I do agree that “a tired 1966 garage should [not] remain after it has a modern streetcar on 3 sides.” But it would be way easier to wrap the streetcar loop around another block than to expect to tear down a perfectly serviceable structure!

             
          • Feel free to suggest other routes, but with the new Arch museum entrance it makes sense for the route to enter Kiener Plaza.
            But the Kiener garages are privately owned, the owners are free to modernize or replacement even if you don’t think it makes sense to do so

             
          • John R says:

            Wasn’t there a plan to underground parking under the Gateway Mall under one of the old downtown now plans?

             
          • Mark says:

            Yes, John R, there was. I actually did some very brief, preliminary design work on that project, and we consulted with two local garage contractors on some budget pricing. Too many bags of money were needed to build that particular garage…..way too many bags of money. Underground garage construction easily costs 50 to 60% more than conventional PT garage work.

             
          • Mark says:

            Yes, John R, there was. I actually did some very brief, preliminary design work on that project, and we consulted with two local garage contractors on some budget pricing. Too many bags of money were needed to build that particular garage…..way too many bags of money. Underground garage construction easily costs 50 to 60% more than conventional PT garage work.

             
          • John R says:

            Thanks for the response…. putting parking underground did seem a bit fanciful when I read that, although it would be cool. Maybe when the day comes when the city can charge Big City parking prices.

             
          • John R says:

            Wasn’t there a plan to underground parking under the Gateway Mall under one of the old downtown now plans?

             
          • Feel free to suggest other routes, but with the new Arch museum entrance it makes sense for the route to enter Kiener Plaza.
            But the Kiener garages are privately owned, the owners are free to modernize or replacement even if you don’t think it makes sense to do so

             
          • JZ71 says:

            “We currently have an oversupply of garage parking” because we also have an oversupply of vacant office and retail space duh! If there is a demand for more retail and office space, there will also be more demand for parking – not all growth in demand is going to come from streetcar riders! Yes, “An expensive option at a desirable location would offer a choice to motorists”, a very poor choice! And I do agree that “a tired 1966 garage should [not] remain after it has a modern streetcar on 3 sides.” But it would be way easier to wrap the streetcar loop around another block than to expect to tear down a perfectly serviceable structure!

             
          • We currently have an oversupply of garage parking. An expensive option at a desirable location would offer a choice to motorists. I just don;t think a tired 1966 garage should remain after it has a modern streetcar on 3 sides.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            Automated garages cost way more to operate than “dumb” garages with ramps. If your goal is to price parking at a point that people seriously consider alternatives (everything from switching to transit to avoiding downtown entirely), then fine, push automated parking. But if your goal is a thriving downtown, accept that affordable parking is / should be a part of the equation, and advocate for realistic alternatives like the new Park Place garage, with ground floor retail built up to the sidewalk. Is it “perfect”? No! But it sure beats surface parking lots, which will be the reality if suburbanites decide downtown isn’t worth the hassle (and yes, parking is there for the suburbanites – downtown residents can and do walk around downtown) . . . .

             
          • I suppose, criminals can be crafty. But automatic garage designs vary, like this VW garage that doesn’t have typical levels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JguJpX7bS6k

             
          • Mark says:

            Two years ago, Kiener closed off three levels of parking due to under-deck spauling and surface deterioration, reinforcing rod failures, delaminations and the need for parking surface repairs. They hired one of the local garage restoration firms, “sounded” the deck, made the repairs by removing and replacing large and small sections of failed concrete decks and beams/columns………..and now they’re up and running. Shame on them for raping the garage!! With the application of a decent deck coating, this type of deterioration doesn’t have to happen…..

             
          • Mark says:

            Two years ago, Kiener closed off three levels of parking due to under-deck spauling and surface deterioration, reinforcing rod failures, delaminations and the need for parking surface repairs. They hired one of the local garage restoration firms, “sounded” the deck, made the repairs by removing and replacing large and small sections of failed concrete decks and beams/columns………..and now they’re up and running. Shame on them for raping the garage!! With the application of a decent deck coating, this type of deterioration doesn’t have to happen…..

             
          • Ah, but car break-ins don’t happen in automated garages!
            It has been a few years, but one of the Kiener garages had a couples of levels sealed off to cars because of structural deficiencies.
            But I’m open minded, I’d be interested in seeing ideas on how these two existing structures can be modernized so they’re more appealing to use as a motorist and more pleasant to walk past.

             
          • Mark says:

            Unfortunately, car break-ins occur on the street and surface lots as well as in garages. And the inefficiencies you refer to result from the need for ramps. Ramps are streets in a garage! Gotta get those vehicles “in” and “out” safely!! The alternative, automated garages, have their own inefficiencies. But other than ramps, where are the inefficiencies in a conventional garage?

            The presence of structural deterioration determines when it’s time to fix or nix a garage. Structural deterioration differs from surface deterioration. Concrete column and shear wall delaminations, crumbling concrete ramp walls, exposed and rusted reinforcing steel, missing or broken structural tendons, under-deck spauling. cracked/shifted beams and girders–these are structural “no-no’s” in garage ownership. Sometimes (often) it’s cheaper to make repairs than to replace–depending on the condition. I parked recently in both Kiener garages. Neither should be nixed! Over the years, they’ve just been raped and put away without a kiss. Plain, lackluster facades can be improved with paint or by creating a facade designed by a creative architect (or by a few engineers). (Do you hate the Justice Center Garage? Facades don’t have to cost a fortune!) Rusted stairwell railings point to crappy maintenance, and can be repaired with little bags of money–certainly cheaper than garage replacement. Depending on the garage’s condition, you’ll need more or fewer little bags of money. St. Louis is blessed with two construction firms that specialize in garage restoration, and both are capable of restoring the Kiener garages without a lot of drama. (And, no, I’m not drumming up business. I work for a firm that specializes in garage design.) Hey, I gotta eat too!!!!

             
        • Conventional parking garages are terribly inefficient when it cones to space/massing, Plus we have issues with car break-ins.

          Maybe both garages get replaced with one conventional garage? I know both a falling apart, aren’t user-friendly, and present an ugly face to the city. They must go, they can’t even be re-skinned.

           
      • Mark says:

        Ok, I’ll accept your “most”. Does ‘most’ mean 75%? If so, reduce my dump estimates by 25%…..still a bit longer than I want to wait. How about 50%? I still don’t want to wait almost 2 hours! In a perfect scenario, with lots of coordination with traffic control and streets departments, you can’t beat the efficiency of a conventional parking garage. (I wrote “efficiency”, and I did not imply anything else!)

         
    • gmichaud says:

      The building they tore down to build the Wainwright office addition was, in my mind as beautiful as the Wainwright Building. The architect was Issac Taylor, and his building fully complemented the Wainwright Building (and in fact was in existence when the Wainwright Building was built).
      Yes the new Wainwright state office building is nothing but a hollow, soulless shell of what came before it, there is no brilliance that I can see.

       
    • gmichaud says:

      The building they tore down to build the Wainwright office addition was, in my mind as beautiful as the Wainwright Building. The architect was Issac Taylor, and his building fully complemented the Wainwright Building (and in fact was in existence when the Wainwright Building was built).
      Yes the new Wainwright state office building is nothing but a hollow, soulless shell of what came before it, there is no brilliance that I can see.

       
  5. JZ71 says:

    A couple of observations – one, more than one photo show buildings that have gotten shorter over the years, not taller, as in “Once taller, shortened many years ago, vacant since 2009.” – how do you square this reality with your expectation for greater density? Will a streetcar be enough to to bring back the tenants that will drive the demand for significantly more retail and office space?

    And two, while I understand the need to run the tracks on parallel streets downtown, I don’t get the need for the figure-eight loop down to Kiener Plaza. A simple loop up 7th would shave several minutes off the schedule (with any layovers taking place at the western terminus).

     
    • Times change, cities don’t stand still. Decades ago everyone was fleeing to the burbs as fast as possible but lately a number of buildings have had floors added (Marriott w/360, a charter high school gym by the central library, and now the SLU Law School.

      Why Kiener? That’s addressed on page 16 of the final feasibility study: “Finally, the alignment south to Kiener Plaza addressed the strong desire from many stakeholders to provide direct and very visible pedestrian access to the Arch Grounds. (The plaza also provides a non-street layover point for streetcars.) In the next phase future coordination with the CityArchRiver 2015 project Gateway Mall Master Plan, and the Central Business District Downtown Streetscape Design Manual Update.”

       
    • Times change, cities don’t stand still. Decades ago everyone was fleeing to the burbs as fast as possible but lately a number of buildings have had floors added (Marriott w/360, a charter high school gym by the central library, and now the SLU Law School.

      Why Kiener? That’s addressed on page 16 of the final feasibility study: “Finally, the alignment south to Kiener Plaza addressed the strong desire from many stakeholders to provide direct and very visible pedestrian access to the Arch Grounds. (The plaza also provides a non-street layover point for streetcars.) In the next phase future coordination with the CityArchRiver 2015 project Gateway Mall Master Plan, and the Central Business District Downtown Streetscape Design Manual Update.”

       
  6. JZ71 says:

    A couple of observations – one, more than one photo show buildings that have gotten shorter over the years, not taller, as in “Once taller, shortened many years ago, vacant since 2009.” – how do you square this reality with your expectation for greater density? Will a streetcar be enough to to bring back the tenants that will drive the demand for significantly more retail and office space?

    And two, while I understand the need to run the tracks on parallel streets downtown, I don’t get the need for the figure-eight loop down to Kiener Plaza. A simple loop up 7th would shave several minutes off the schedule (with any layovers taking place at the western terminus).

     

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