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Parking Garage Undergoing Time-Consuming Multi-Million Dollar Restoration; Businesses Closed, Jobs Lost

December 22, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Parking 55 Comments

Old buildings require renovation/restoration to extend their useful life. Usually downtown buildings getting a complete makeover date from the 19th or early 20th century but for the last six months one built in 1967 has been closed during the restoration process.

Scaffolding to protect the public sidewalk
Scaffolding to protect the public sidewalk has been up for months around the parking garage at Tucker & Locust, attached to the Old Post-Dispatch Building, at right. Click for map.
On July 1, 2014 I posted this image to Twitter & Facebook saying "Workers are prepping the parking garage at Tucker & Locust for rehab (refresh concrete)"
On July 1, 2014 I posted this image to Twitter & Facebook saying “Workers are prepping the parking garage at Tucker & Locust for rehab (refresh concrete)”
I took this picture of the stone-clad columns getting wrapped in plywood before the previous pic
I took this picture of the stone-clad columns getting wrapped in plywood before the previous pic
The July 9th sign in the window of the Chinese Wok restaurant at 1122 Locust, lower level of the east end of the garage.
In July this sign went up in the window of the Chinese Wok restaurant at 1122 Locust, lower level of the east end of the garage. Regulars in the area will recalling seeing a scooter just inside the window.
More than two months later, on September 15, 2014, the interior of the restaurant was completely gutted.
More than two months later, on September 15, 2014, the interior of the restaurant was completely gutted.
In October the sign saying they'd be closed for a month remained in place.
In October the sign saying they’d be closed for a month remained in place.

The owners of this business expected to only be closed for a month, but it has been nearly six months now. The Papa John’s at Tucker is no longer listed on papajohns.com website, the nearest location is now listed at 3822 Laclede. After this long I decided it was time to start asking questions about the project. On December 17th I emailed the media contact for the general contractor, Tarlton:

I’ve been watching the project at the parking garage on the SE corner of Tucker & Locust for months.

I have some questions:
1) what’s the scope of the project?
2) is it taking longer than originally expected? I ask because they Chinese restaurant only expected to be closed for a month or two.
3) when do you anticipate being finished?
4) cost of the project?



The next day I received the following response:

Hi Steve.
My apologies for the delay in getting back to you — I was traveling.
These are questions for the property owner.
Thanks, Laura

LAURA LUSSON, Communications Manager, Tarlton Corporation

Ah yes, the owner. That would be Tucker Parking Equities LLC & Tucker Parking Holdings LLC located at 24 Church St in Montclair NJ, both were formed in Delaware in 2007.  Getting nowhere with the contractor, I emailed building commissioner Frank Oswald asking what he could tell me about permit #516639, applied for on September 8th, I quickly heard back saying he wasn’t familiar, he copied a district supervisor but I’ve not heard from him. Also Friday morning I emailed Central Parking to ask when the garage would reopen, I’ve not heard back from them.

This December 17, 2014 image shows the wood & steel added inside the structure.
This December 17, 2014 image shows the wood & steel added inside the structure.

I’d hoped to have something more ‘concrete’ to report.

— Steve Patterson


TUCKER PARKING EQUITIES LLC FL0811142 Limited Liability Company (Foreign) Active 4/19/2007 Saur Esq., Stephanie
Tucker Parking Holdings LLC LC0811141 Limited Liability Company (Domestic) Active 4/19/2007 CSC-LAWYERS INCORPORATING SERVICE COMPANY

Currently there are "55 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Likely answers – 1. More deterioration was discovered, once work began, much like at West County Mall. 2. The contractor works for the owners, and not for you, and has no right (nor responsibility) to discuss anything about the project with you. 3. The building commissioner is not expected to know the details about the progress on every permit the city issues, and his inspectors are mostly reactive, not proactive – they “inspect” when asked, they don’t monitor projects on a daily or weekly basis, and if work appears to be progressing, they have plenty of other requested inspections to cover. 4. The owner has no duty to (and likely no interest in) respond(ing) to random requests from bloggers.

    The affected tenants were, in all probability, compensated according to the terms of their respective leases. We live in an imperfect world, and sh*t happens. Most landlords have no interest in losing tenants, but most also have a vested interest in maintaining their properties. The tone I’m getting from this post is that the landlord was/is out to destroy his/her tenants’ businesses, and to put their workers out of their jobs, and that’s NOT how most landlords work! What’s your alternative? Don’t do any significant maintenance? So the businesses don’t have to close? But have to live with leaks and a potential structural collapse?

    I had a client in the ’80’s who had to shut down an enclosed mall when asbestos was discovered in the common area ceilings during a renovation project. This cost them millions in added costs and lawsuits, and multiple tenants were negatively impacted. There was no giant conspiracy, no concerted effort to ruin business. But sh*t happens and you deal with it . . . http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1987/Health-Department-Shuts-Down-Mall-Because-of-Asbestos/id-9332be362ed98d2e4e92ec01eaa9a32d

    • I was noting the attempts I made to obtain more information, I could’ve posted about this project without asking any questions of the contractor or city.

    • City records show 5 violations in October 2012 with no completion date entered. Given the number of structurally deficient bridges acrid the country it wouldn’t surprise me if we have structurally deficient parking garages as well.

      St. Louis has quite a few old parking garages.

      • John R says:

        We sure do and two of those front Keiner Plaza…. I wonder if there is any thought by the owner to take those down and do a mixed-use garage with possible residential.

        • Sgt Stadanko says:

          Everytime I turn around there is a parking structure or an open air lot. Enough already!! I really don’t think we need anymore until they bring more corporate business downtown. Who are these money-grubbers that own all these parking garages. I smell a foreign outfit. cash = foreigner run (monkey) business. thanks, Sarge

          • Mark says:

            You’ll find that parking garages are not great money makers. They’re HUGE investments, require expensive and ongoing maintenance, and the public resents paying to park. That’s why Larry Williams got involved in garage development, knowing that he could borrow the money cheaper than private developers and survive the initial lean years of ownership. His efforts helped to grow downtown and CWE development. RE: bringing more “corporate business downtown”, I wonder: “What comes first: the chicken or the egg?” I wonder if I’d locate my office in a building that didn’t offer convenient parking?

        • Mark says:

          Very expensive if done right. Even more expensive in the long-term if initially done wrong or on the cheap!

      • Mark says:

        “Old” is not necessarily a synonym for “un-usable” in the parking garage industry.Lack of maintenance destroys parking garages. Not use. Not age. Like with anything else (expensive but under-maintained landscaping around a new surface parking lot, for example) any building that isn’t properly maintained will soon fatique. Parking garage owners are notorious for ignoring routine maintenance. Garage management companies who share in the annual profits (after expenses) are WORSE! I can take you to parking garages around the country that predate the Famous Barr garage in downtown St Louis…that have been well maintained…..and can be expected to be around for another 30 or so years.

        • Deferred maintenance becomes a bigger problem over time, older garages have potentially been ignored longer than a newer garage.

          • Mark says:

            You’re right! In the case of the garage you’ve featured today, I suspect it has been treated like a forgotten step-child for over 20+ years. Not good! (Like both garages at the old Deacones Hospital site. The three-level garage there was standing out of pure habit! The 6-level structure was borderline worth saving, but I’m certain the contractor earned a big bag of money ($4 to 6 M, at least, for their effort, depending on the strength of the restoration program.) And when things deteriorate to that extent, the owner can anticipate spending upwards of $750 K annually over the life of the building–if–they plan to properly maintain it. In the case of your featured garage, when a major restoration effort is begun, you’ll soon learn that there is a real possibility that there will figuratively be no end in sight! So to place an exact timeline on a forgotten-stepchild garage restoration project is like trying to nail jello to the wall.

  2. Sgt Stadanko says:

    Thanks Steve for looking into this. just yesterday, a conversation came up about the Papa John’s. And what is exactly going on there since it is taking forever. One day last fall, I saw some guys wheeling out all the equipment from the Papa John’s Pizzeria and thought…this can’t be good.

    i am not a fan of Chinese food so I can’t comment on The Chinese Wok. As a side bar, I feel bad that new asian restaurant a block north looks like that won’t be around too much longer. Everytime I walk by, the only people I see in there is the help. Sad.

    But I did enjoy the Papa John’s. Close, could walk to pick up my pie. Now I have to drive to some unsavory areas and hope I don’t get mugged picking up my za. I am afraid that Papa Johns is not coming back.

  3. Mark says:

    I can’t imagine Mars Candy Co seriously considering storing M&M’s in a non-conditioned warehouse in Phoenix, or HP specifying anything but a dry sprinkler system in one of their laptop distribution buildings. Similarly I’ll never understand the logic of placing retail below a parking garage! Despite the advances in expansion joints and in the development of corrosive-resistant chemical additives in concrete mix designs, major performance and protective improvements in deck coatings and sealants, one thing is a certain in garage ownership: garages decks and expansion joints will eventually partially fail. And I don’t want to be the one operating the pizza joint below when that happens. And when repairs are needed, I’ve never seen ironworkers and laborers using butter knives to cut out the failed concrete, rusted rebar and broken PT cables. Garage repair requires significant and often dangerous demolition work, unfit for pizza patrons, even dangerous for garage-savy ironworkers, carpenters and laborers. So, maybe people should think twice before they store their money behind screen doors or sell water-color originals below Parking Level 1.

    • Scott Jones says:

      I’m guessing that the risk leads to a discounted rent for those businesses willing to take the risk on the bottom floor.

  4. gmichaud says:

    A few points, whatever the problems were that halted this project is likely the result of an unexperienced construction person who determined the scope of work. I find it hard to believe someone who knew garages would not be able to predict an accurate scope of work. That is not to say things don’t get missed, but distortions enough to sideline a project indicates inexperience somewhere.
    Also there is little capital planning for any building or structure, not only this one. All of the money is taken out up front. Talking upgrades 10 to 20 years on is pretty well not done for any building. A case in point is the suburbs when the enormous infrastructure investment comes due from being spread all over creation.
    Another point is that the need for such garages should be eliminated. I agree with Sgt, Stadanko that everywhere you look there is a garage or surface lot. There are plenty of cities around the world to serve as examples of how to avoid this situation with an effective mass transit system joined with city planning. There is absolutely no discussion on how to achieve this type of success broadly in St Louis. St Louis is all about routes and Great Streets and not Great Cities.
    The region of St. Louis is working at a disadvantage given the poorly laid out suburbs, but an effective transit system in the inner core of St. Louis is still possible
    There far are too many of these garages. The management of this city borders on absurd.

    • Mark says:

      From the photos I see no contractor signage, so I can’t determine which construction firm won the bid for this garage reconstruction. Based on my experience with garage renovation, be assured that “inexperience” is a word not found in garage renovation. The engineering firm responsible for the project would absolutely insist on a select bidders’ list as well as a superintendent who has done much, much more than merely park in a high-rise garage sometime in his lifetime, or one who has just bitched (more than once) about another garage being constructed! Garage renovation is dangerous work for the laborers and iron-workers assigned to the project. Three years into the business, I was a novice engineer on a project when an iron-worker lost his life while attempting to de-tension a corroded PT cable. I saw it happen…lots of blood and a few severed appendages….

      And…since His ascension into heaven years and years ago, Jesus Christ is no longer available for hire to survey the extent of concrete and reinforcing steel degradation in a garage slated for renovation. So now engineers are stuck with three tried and true methods for determining contract scope: visual inspection, x-ray and chain dragging. The first and last options have been around for a century–but neither produces perfect results. X-rays produce really accurate results. But the technology isn’t cost effective and doesn’t reasonably allow for widespread use throughout a garage, and it is used mainly to locate critical tendons and cables. (Any more use of costly X-ray and you might as well tear down the structure and start over!) So, unfortunately, it is impossible to assess a complete scope of work–much like when your surgeon isn’t totally aware of what he’ll find when he slices into your chest, in and around all the critical arteries and organs, shoving aside all the sloppy fat and other cholesterol-producing and oleaginous deposits, to remove your cancer. So, when work scope is incrementally increased due to newly discovered program scope, please don’t blame it on an “un-experienced construction person” (your words!). Garage owners should learn from other garage owners’ costly experience: when simple maintenance procedures have been largely ignored by owners and “management firms” over the years, garage owners (not the management firms!!!!) soon learn what it means to be bitten in the ass!! Big teeth! And sharp!
      Here’s a thought: Maybe all the downtown garages should be leveled and the property used for condos and apartments, and all downtown visitors and residents should be forced to park on the cobblestones along the Mississippi! I know I’d like that!

      • JZ71 says:

        They kinda did that before the Arch was built (park on the cobblestones). Unfortunately, if “all the downtown garages” were “leveled”, the most likely outcome would be more surface parking lots, not “condos and apartments” – see Ball Park Village!

        • Mark says:

          …..and more surface lots would slowly but surely become eyesores because surface lot operators never water the landscaping or weed the beds. All those trees and bushes succumb to the appetites of the resident insects, or mercifully dry up because of their hostile planting environment…..or suffocate because the contractor over-poured the concrete curbs and forgot to leave room for the root balls to grow. But the landscape architect’s pretty design drawing at permit time satisfied the City’s surface-lot landscape design standard,which has always been silent on any requirements for ongoing landscaping maintenance.”PLANT IT AND IT WILL GROW AND BE BEAUTIFUL” is like the Santa Claus fantasy.
          Maybe we need to keep the garages in place and allow downtown shoppers and residents to park convenient to their destinations.Maybe I’ll crusade for a city-wide Walgreen’s expansion strategy: a parking garage on every block!

          • JZ71 says:

            While I appreciate your sarcasm, my point was that before we tear down more of our existing infrastructure, we need to focus on filling in the “vacant” surface parking lots we already have downtown.

          • Mark says:

            Infills are quickly becoming less and less cost-effective, as you know. Unfortunately, in years past in STL and in many other mid-sized cities where demolition practices and work scopes were essentially monitored only by the demolition contractor, foundation walls, footings and pilings were not entirely removed when abandoned buildings were demolished. So to construct infill buildings in these often tight, contained areas today, significant shoring and underpinning of adjacent structures needs to be done ($$$$$) in an effort to prepare the subgrade for the new building. And current seismic standards demand larger, deeper and more complex excavations (to accommodate larger, deeper and more complex grade beams, tie beams and sheer wall foundations) ($$$$$$$$), which further complicates new construction being done around existing (and in some cases very old) buildings with rubble wall foundation walls and deteriorating above-ground masonry columns/pilasters, cast-iron and/or wood columns and beams with shallow and narrow bearing pockets, sagging and loose beam shelves, rusted and sagging lintels, rusted pin anchors, crumbling masonry units, etc, etc, etc……not to mention the fact that most of the old-timer demolition contractors just collapsed the old buildings into the basement excavations, which of course now has to be thoroughly cleaned before construction of a new structure can begin…………….which is why I’d prefer to build in the middle of a ripe old barnyard in Wentzville!

          • JZ71 says:

            It’s all about the money – supply and demand! If it makes financial sense (profits!) a developer WILL figure out how to make it happen. If not, it will remain underused. Here’s just another example from Denver: http://denverinfill.com/blog/2014/12/new-central-downtown-project-le-meridienac-hotels.html . . We can lament poor planning processes or suburban flight, here in St. Louis, but there’s a reason why St. Louis was once the 4th largest city in the country, dense and thriving, and why it remains a shell of its former self. Yes, it’s easier to build in Wentzville, but it’s also cheaper AND the people, for the most part, don’t object, too strenuously, to being out there. Until more people WANT to be in the urban core, there’s really no need to build more stuff – chicken vs. egg!

          • gmichaud says:

            Yes we need to focus on filling in the “vacant” surface parking lots, but even then it requires some sort of broad based strategy that helps make sense of the urban environment. Otherwise everything is disconnected as it is now.
            Here is a quick example of a strategy. The area south of Busch Stadium is a mixture of parking lots and commercial businesses that have functioned something like a mini ballpark village for years.
            Yet there is little or no walk ability, no shuttle service. Parking lots and in one case some sort of electric sub-service station break up any sort of neighborhood feel that would attract more customers and hence more development. The City has powers to direct actions such as land use and shuttle service or other actions to enhance a neighborhood feel. In fact it would be a relatively simple exercise to make this happen.
            That does not mean this is what should be done in this location, rather it is a perfect example of one of many missed opportunities on part of the City to enhance the quality of life for the public.
            The City falls all over itself for the corporate types at Ballpark Village, but treats the South of Busch Stadium like it has Ebola.
            And of course then the discussion would move to how this neighborhood connects to surrounding neighborhoods.
            As I said previously there are many examples of cities that don’t tear up their environments with parking lots the way St. Louis does, nor is this some amazing new way to handle urban planning, in fact you can trace these planning principles to ancient times.

      • As I mentioned in the post, the general is Tarlton.

        • Mark says:

          Sorry, I missed it in your initial post. You won’t find a more competent/thorough garage-renovation firm–anywhere! Tarlton did a bang-up job at the airport 6 years ago. The City of St Louis had forgotten about the maintenance needs of that building for 25+ years before they finally woke up! Major cancer was discovered there!

  5. Sgt Stadanko says:

    I would like to know why surface lots over structures? I am assuming it is because the overhead is lower? I have never seen a city with so many dang surface lots. Thanks, Sarge

    • JZ71 says:

      Primarily land value – it’s way cheaper to do a surface lot than it is to either build up or down with multiple layers of structured parking. If land is cheap, and you need more spaces, you just buy more land. Around here, and in many other American cities, to say nothing of our suburbs, land is incredibly cheap, compared to land costs in dense, thriving, urban areas like Manhattan, San Francisco or the Chicago Loop. Once land becomes expensive, it becomes a cost/benefit analysis – is it cheaper to spend 3-8 times as much to do structured parking OR is it cheaper to buy more land (if any is available) and do surface parking?

      And the other part of the equation, especially with pay lots downtown is maximizing income – as a property owner, can you generate more revenue (with little effort) from a new surface parking lot? (Most parking lot users don’t complain about leaky roofs, broken plumbing or air conditioning that doesn’t work!) Or, can you generate more revenue from an existing (or new) building? After the cost of maintenance, insurance and taxes? Or, would it be more profitable to do a surface lot? Ball Park Village is a perfect example. Assuming they average $3 per day per space in revenue, for every 60 square foot space, they generate $18.25 per square foot, annually in gross rent (or $1.50 per square foot per month). How much more, if any, would be generated if it were retail space? Office space? Self storage? Residential? Like they said in the Godfather, “It’s just business”. . . .

    • gmichaud says:

      Yes it is a cheap way to make money, paving over land doesn’t cost much (especially compared to actually building something) and the lots are fairly easy to maintain with low overhead.

      The underlying problem though is a lack of City leadership. Cities are in the development business, not in the same way a private developer, but it is the responsibility of government to guide city development into a meaningful form.

      If you look at the history of the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, you will see government influence and management in creating the concept of the Riverwalk. It is an attractive urban entity that did not just happen by itself.

      There is a history going back to 1536


      To quote one year, 1973 “The River Corridor Feasibility Study is completed, in a joint effort of six local government entities. The “River Corridor Plan’ provides a long-term framework for development decisions along the river.”

      In St. Louis there isn’t a framework of any kind, nothing. Hence the chaos and poor urban design. The success of St Louis as a desirable city largely rests on the past.
      The bottom line is that the governance of St. Louis is poorly done. Those running things don’t have a clue on how to build cities, or let’s be more specific, desirable cities. The proof of this failure everyone can readily see in the random parking lots all over the place.

      • JZ71 says:

        There’s an old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. Yes, we need “leadership”, but we also need the private sector to buy into that vision. Ball Park Village (to name just one example) has been “planned” to death, yet all we have to show for those efforts is a partially-complete, crackerbox, entertainment “complex”. Yes, the San Antonio Riverwalk relies on multiple public-sector investments, but those have been far exceeded by private sector ones. The public ones served as a catalyst, but they would have been a waste if hotels, restaurants anf tourists had not followed. Surface parking lots, especially those in urban areas, here and elsewhere, should be looked at as place holders, and not as any sort of final answer: http://denverinfill.com/blog/

        • gmichaud says:

          And if the horse is in a desert it couldn’t get a drink even if the it wanted to. That is St. Louis, an urban planning desert.
          Of course development concepts have to be appealing to developers, but the fact is a single developer is not going to envision something like the Riverwalk, or any large scale coordination of purpose and resources including mass transit.
          Parking lots may be place holders and not a final answer, the real problem is there is no attempt at answers on the part of local government leadership, no public discussion, nothing, as I said, nothing, hence you get the current meaningless chaos of St. Louis urban planning with parking lots all over the place. Look at the Paul McKee Northside project for another example of unrealized potential for building a better city. Have you heard any discussions about future possibilities and prospects? No?, me either.

          • JZ71 says:

            Our fundamental challenge is a chicken or egg one. With the exception of the Central West End, there simply isn’t that much new, infill, development happening in the city. Do we do more urban planning, knowing that neither the public sector nor the private sector has any resources or desire to move forward? Or, do we go through the effort to create a new, citywide, comprehensive plan AND empower city staff (NOT the Board of Aldermen!) to enforce the standards that we all agree to? Like both you and Steve, I have more than a few ideas that I’d like to see implemented. But, as I gotten older, I’ve lost some of my idealism and my willingness to sit through endless meetings chasing the minutae that makes up the nuts and bolts of any comprehensive plan. Add in the reality that my alderman sold his car wash so that a new Wendy’s could be built on the site, and I don’t have much confidence that any effort would result in either a useful plan or maeningful changes.

          • gmichaud says:

            I think it should be an ongoing process, for example the Paul McKee project will influence the future of the city. Shouldn’t there be transparent discussions that include the public? So yes, some sort of inclusionary planning process should be in place. It seems to me there are serious questions to answer. It is in the public interest to make sure this project fits into the rest of St. Louis. How does the project interlock into existing neighborhoods. What does the the project do to enhance transit in the city and region? There are many questions that involve broad considerations of a St. Louis of the future.

            I know what you mean about not trusting aldermen, there only a few that seem to even care.

            There are some well done cities in America and the world. So it is hard to excuse the ignorance that allows results in the poorly done urban environments as in St. Louis.

            Nor do I believe money is the problem, investors are attracted by success, allowing random parking lots all over the place does not exude success. Unfortunately almost nothing St. Louis is done to high standards in an urban design sense that would in turn attracts investment.

            For example it looks like the new Ikea is pushed way back on the corner site on Vandeventer and Forest Park Blvd. It appears there is going to be a massive parking lot on the corner The cars don’t care where they sit. But it ruins the walkability of the area, I don’t understand why they were concerned with transit, they certainly haven’t designed for it.

            Now maybe they will put your favorite, a Wendy’s across the street in the other vacant lot, insuring them the ability to run over any pedestrians that happen to risk walking.
            To add to the urban chaos, there is a large apartment building going up catty corner from Ikea that could do a good job of generating pedestrian traffic, but the urban planning makes walking unattractive. There is no coordination of purpose at all.

            It is endless crap, pushed by ignorant governance.

          • JZ71 says:

            Unfortunately, in many parts of St. Louis, a paved surface parking lot is a step up from a weedy vacant lot or the burned-out, collapsing shell of an old brick building. I agree, “investors are attracted by success”, but they’re also more distressed by signs of actual failure than they are by surface parking lots that are actually being maintained and used on a daily basis.

            Increased density happens when land values dictate an increase in density, NOT when some government entity decides that X density “must” go somewhere. Yes, now that McKee has some plans on the table, public input should be an integral part of any approval process. But to spend endless hours (and dollars) “planning” for the types of dense urban structures that you and Steve want, in nearly every St. Louis neighborhood, is, at this point, an exercise in mental masturbation. “There is no coordination of purpose, at all” because there simply is very little tangible to actually “coordinate”.

            In my mind, the new Wendy’s is actually a small step up from what was there before – new and shiny, more jobs and more tax revenues. Could it have been “better”? Absolutely! But I haven’t seen any interest, on the part of developers or investors, here or elsewhere in the vicinity, for doing anything “better”! Which gets back to the real conundrum, do we do nothing in the search for “perfect” or just “better”? And, is the government the best decider for what constitutes “better”?!

            The other challenge is expecting new developments to “fit into the rest of St. Louis”. Much of St. Louis was built between 1890 and 1930, but many other parts were built between 1945 and 1960, using a significantly different architectural vocabulary, and other parts were constructed in the last 10 or 15 years. Times change, how people work changes, how people get around changes and architectural styles change. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, urban redevelopment, everywhere, continues to see many different “answers – it’s more messy and less planned than a suburban shopping center or residential subdivision, and that messiness is part of the atrraction!

            One potential solution may be one that Denver has embraced, with defined “Areas of Stability” and “Areas of Change”. There are some parts of some neighborhoods that are ripe for redvelopment and higher densities, and they require one type of consensus building and governmental regulations, investmenta and incentives. There are other parts of the same neighborhoods that are well established and fairly stable, and will not be seeing much new development, and any that does is (and should be) expected to “fit in” in “more considerate” ways.

          • gmichaud says:

            Lets start with mental masturbation, The density that you say Steve and I want has been in urban design and planning vocabularies for centuries. So even as you give credit to Steve and I, it is actually architects and urban designers from the distant past that originally understood the role of density in forming cities.
            I think your potential solution you mention at the end is exactly a good one, that is a starting point In St. Louis there is absolutely no understanding of “Areas of Stability” and “Areas of Change”, no discussion of what that could mean, how it could impact neighborhoods and so on.
            Yes that concept and approach is so basic, but as you know St. Louis does not do even that minimum
            As far as your talk about money, no doubt money is necessary. However most developers cannot see beyond their nose. The few visionary developers cannot be responsible for broader responses to building the environment which includes the whole infrastructure from roads to transit.
            The theory of government should be that developers will find opportunity if it is presented to them. There are tons of examples of sound governance of cities around the world which shows in fact it is possible to create economic opportunity.
            The arguments you give about money are from my view the same philosophy St. Louis is governed under. It is the philosophy they follow of the developer/king and it is why St. Louis is such an urban planning failure. This includes the parking garages and surface parking lots and much more.

          • JZ71 says:

            One fundametal fact informs the city’s declining density. Over the past 85 years, St. Louis lost 2/3 of its population (and, I assume, a similar number of jobs), going from 821,000 residents, in 1930, to less than 320,000, today. Over just 35 years, between 1970 and today, the city lost nearly half of its residents, dropping from 622,000 to 320,000. We have vacant lots and vacant buildings and low densities because there is no rational reason to maintain the previous densities, much less build more densely (except in a very few “hot” neighborhoods).

            The world we live in today is much less dependent on walking and public transportation than the world of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Motor vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines and running on durable synthetic rubber tires have been refined to the point where they’re the primary transportation choice for most city residents, and our built environment, both inside the city and regionally, reflects those preferences. Yes, the vast majority of developers, today, are greedy SOB’s and only focused on the bottom line, but that was also true of developers a century ago, as well! They build whatever sells/leases, and they don’t build what doesn’t. I agree, it’s going to take a true visionary to take the risk and do some truly dense projects outside the central corridor. But it’s also going to take buyers and renters to CHOOSE to occupy those dense spaces!

            The mental masturbation part is saying and expecting people to embrace these types of urban forms when there’s little track record of it actually happenning, HERE! In the same period the city lost nearly half its population, from 1980 to today, the population of St. Charles County increased by 250%, from 144,000 to 375,000. All those new residents COULD have moved into the city, but CHOSE not to! (And NO, I’m no fan of the suburban sprwal that defines all that “new” stuff, but, obviously, thousands of people do think it’s better than what the city has to offer!) Developers aren’t stupid, they’re gonna “follow the money”. The city can “tell” developers whatever we “want”, but if there’s no money to be made, it ain’t gonna happen . . . .

          • gmichaud says:

            Okay it is pretty clear you expect success to come from the magic fairy. Here is an article I just came across about Boulder Colorado and Zurich, Switzerland. Zurich has not added a new parking space since 1996. If you go to the link at least scroll down to the vimeo motion picture clip at the end of the article and you will see how government has worked to make Zurich a better city. It is a very informative video. Steve I hope you watch it also.

            St Louis isn’t Zurich, but much can be done here also. As I said before your attitude pretty well matches up with the failed government we now have in place. There are countless examples around the world and in America of effective government policies encouraging better cities, not just Zurich.
            You match up well with St. Louis regional leaders with your preference to stick your head in the sand and pretend your way of doing things is the only way that works. I know facts that contradict your position are hard to accept. Even so it is hard to figure why you seem to want to maintain your negative views rather than move forward, so it goes.

            Here is the link, enjoy


          • JZ71 says:

            I’ve never been to Zurich, but I spent several days in Venice, Italy, last year. I went to CU in the People’s Republic of Boulder, in the 1970’s, and lived nearby, in Denver, for 30 years after that. “According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe.” (wikipedia) Venitians rely exclusively on water-based public transit and walking, as well, and cars are nowhere to be found in the old city. What differentiates all three cities from more plebian ones (like St. Louis) are that people are willing to pay a high price to be there and to embrace public transit. Land prices high are and available building sites are scarce. It’s still basic supply and demand in action.

            What you classify as “negative views” is simply stating reality. Do you dispute that St. Louis has suffered an extreme loss in population? Or are you the one hiding “your head in the sand”?! Do you dispute that most St. Louis residents could care less about Metro transit? Or, are you the one who wants to “pretend your way of doing things is the only way that works”? I certainly don’t expect a magic fairy to “solve” St. Louis’ problems, but it’s far more complex than just poor urban planning. Between racisim, high crime rates, the lingering effects of Ferguson, a perception of poor public schools, the earnings tax, a reputation for tough unions, inscrutable government approvals, ward-based fiefdoms and overall low demographics, it should be no surprise that many developers are leery to risk making significant investments in the city.

            Changing perceptions will take compromise and a concerted effort to eliminate (or at least mitigate) ALL negative issues. It’s going to take cooperation, not every ward, every suburban city and every resident just “looking out for themselves”. It’s going to require that everyone be less dogmatic – you, me, Steve, Sgt. Stadanko, Mark, Mayor Slay, Lewis Reed, Scott Ogilvie, Antonio French and everyone else. Until St. Louis is viewed to be as desirable a place to be as a Zurich, Venice, London, San Francisco, Austin or Boulder, we will continue to struggle with low densities. If and when our population gets back closer to previous levels (> 500,000), density will naturally follow, as will the government’s ability to shape the urban form to a more European, transit-friendly model . . . .

          • gmichaud says:

            When I say negative views, what I am talking about is not the past but the future. In other words how does St. Louis build out of its doldrums to become a place like Paris, Helsinki or London? This does not mean copy these cities, but figure out what they do right and how.
            This means asking what is the role of government in the daily and future life of the city. What can or should government do as it represents the interests of citizens now and in the future?
            The problem is these larger philosophical questions are not addressed, instead the negative view is to avoid that discussion and only claim money or land values are important.
            In reality they are the least important point of discussions of a vision of the city the people want to build which lead to establishing a path.

            What we have instead is the concept of money, land values and so on turned into distractions at the expense of understanding how to solve the problems, or even defining the problems.
            In fact the two streets you point out Cherokee and the Grove, capitalize on the old city and its form and transit for their revival.
            So for instance how does that impact McKee on the Northside? What is he going to do for commercial, is it going to be strip mall type of commercial or a more traditional urban forms? How is transit going to operate in this new environment?
            These are all questions in the public interest and even if the public was not giving McKee millions of dollars and he was doing everything himself the public still has a stake in what happens.
            What is the city going to look like in 50 years, or 20 years?, what kind of path should it be taking?
            St. Louis has many attractions, but it is not a desirable city in many ways One featured comment you hear around the world is the the quality of life in cities. St. Louis does not have a high quality of life.
            You always say that people want their cars, yes that may be true, but if a viable alternative is not offered then it is impossible to really make a true statement. If like Zurich you could get around so easily that 50% of the citizens don’t need or own cars, it is a good bet a high number of people in the St Louis region would be attracted to such a city.
            A revived St. Louis, especially the city and inner suburbs, must have a much better system of transit than it has now. What does that system look like, how does it change or impact the form of the city? Is it possible to set up a system that can limit car traffic? What are the choices?
            These are all asked before asking about money. If the approach is desirable it may take decades to implement.
            So the question is how to move forward in building St. Louis of the future? I have suggested numerous times one policy process that might be looked at is the “London Unitary Plan”, now called the “Core Strategy”
            The public reviews the Strategy every 10 years. How often has the public reviewed the archaic zoning code in St. Louis much less anything else?

          • JZ71 says:

            Many, if not all, of the (formerly) dense, walkable, urban commercial streets in St. Louis grew up around our streetcar system. Today, streets like Cherokee and Manchester (in the Grove) continue to be served by Metro’s transit bus system (but only one local route, each, running every 30 minutes, on average). Unfortunately,the percentage of riders using public transit, today, is far smaller than the percentage using public transit between 1900 and 1950. We can argue chicken or egg all we want, but we can’t dispute actual usage (minimal). And while you want to ignore financing, I don’t live in that fantasy world.

            One thing that we might be able to agree on is exploring Boulder’s approach to transit, combining frequent local bus service (Hop, Skip, Jump, etc.) with great bike amenities. And the other half of transit’s success in Boulder is the fact that many people receive either free or heaviliy-subsidized passes (EcoPass) through the University, their employers or the city. When an annual transit pass, for a household (not just an individual) costs between $115 and $900 ($10-$75 per month!), going carfree becomes far more financially attractive than Metro’s individual $78 monthly pass:


            As a community and a region, public transit is poorly funded, poorly perceived and, to a certain extent, remains a political football and a funding stepchild. IF we want to see transit inform urban design decisions, we need to design and implement a far better, more-usable SYSTEM! And finding a way around the current way of doing things – random groups proposing random single-line investments in fixed rail, completely ignoring the bus system – would be a perfect place to start in creating a “Core Strategy” for transit in the region. (I simply see very little momentum to get that ball rolling.) I don’t have the answer for how to “figure out what [other cities] do right and how. . . . asking what is the role of government in the daily and future life of the city? What can or should government do as it represents the interests of citizens now and in the future?” We continue to have a parochial, bunker, mentality, and until that changes, we’re likely doomed to continue down the same path that we’ve followed for the past 50 years . . . .

          • gmichaud says:

            Ignoring money is not fantasy. What it does is help to come up with optimum solutions, and remember a comprehensive transit system is a decades long project. The problem right now, as you point out is random lines that may or may not have meaning to a greater whole.
            Money concerns are real after the problems and potential solutions are identified. In fact one of the best ways to conquer money concerns is to come up with approaches that people can become enthusiastic about.
            For example if it was determined a Zurich like approach is best (I am not trying to say it is) then there is a blueprint those random transit lines can follow and contribute to meaning of the whole. If you couple that with say a 10 year review as in the case of the City of London, or maybe better yet a 5 year review helps make the concepts and processes fluid.
            There has to be some type of vision to get the public or developers excited. That’s why in the best run cities governance plays a role in helping to establish that vision, whatever it might be.
            I like the idea of bikes, it was surprising in the Zurich film that the most used form of transit in Zurich was bicycles, then transit, with autos bringing up the rear.
            I have mentioned before in Finland there are more people riding bikes in the middle of winter than in nice weather in St Louis. Although the infrastructure for bicycles, dedicated paths and extra large paths for pedestrians and bicycles is more prevalent in a city like Helsinki than in St. Louis.
            A town like Boulder embraces change while St. Louis is way behind. Urban Review and other alternate venues offer hope that change is possible. I’m not as cynical as you are, I don’t think we are doomed.

            One problem is our education system, it is amazing that almost all students can get through high school and college and learn next to nothing about architecture and urban design. They learn nothing about the environment they live in every second of every day, that is always part of their life and never leaves them.

          • JZ71 says:

            My cynicism comes from an “outsider’s” perspective. Around Boulder, Denver and many other parts of Colorado, being an “outsider” does not preclude one from being elected to public office. Here, if you didn’t go to a local high school and/or haven’t lived somewhere for 20+ years, you’re pretty much disqualified. New blood brings new and different ideas. Doing things the same old way continues to yield the same results (which many local voters are apparently comfortable with). And yes, money (or the lack thereof) should not limit the discussion or definition of “problems”, but any solutions, if not a general plan, WILL require figuring out funding. The current discussion on the future of the Rams is a perfect example – they want a new, billion dollar facility, the majority of the taxpayers apparently want no new taxes, so it boils down to how many “fans” are willing to pay to keep an NFL team in St. Louis. Transit funding is a similar conundrum – users and advocates see a huge need, but most voters think that what we have is “good enough”. You say leadership, and I agree, to a point. You say education, and I agree, to a point. Conservative, midwestern residents, for the most part either don’t see any problems or just move away, to the suburbs – they don’t want to be led or educated, they just want to be left alone. Those oddballs that want urban density and diversity do the same thing, they just move further away, to places like Chicago, Austin, Denver or the coasts. What’s left, in the city, is a mix of idealists taking advantage of cheap land and cheap old buildings and poorer residents who don’t have the resources to move to the promised land in the suburbs. I’ll repeat, the biggest hurdle, in the city is poulation loss. We need more people and more revenues before any leader can have a signicant impact. Right now, we’re trying to keep a great legacy patched together with far fewer resources than we had 50 or 100 years ago . . . .

          • gmichaud says:

            I’m not sure it is the where you went to high school crowd preventing change as much as the insider crowd that continually tries to grab all of the benefit from anything that happens. It is the same crowd that helped destroy the city of st. louis for easy money elsewhere. If you look at decision making it followed the money.
            Truthfully it is no different on the national level where bribes are called donations and even the supreme court agrees that if you don’t officially announce it is a bribe then game on.
            So it is an American problem.
            Population loss comes in a large part from the decisions that enriched a few and tore up the st louis region from an urban planning point of view as a result.
            The difference between building a new stadium and say what the city of st louis should look like in 20 years is the decades necessary to implement anything. The stadium is an immediate project. It is an important distinction.
            What is affecting the ability to create and generate dynamic, exciting plans or concepts. You are an architect, unless totally focused on the business side, I’m guessing you are confident that you could devise concepts that might get the general public excited right?
            Of course if you start parsing out 50 cents here and a dollar there it gets in the way of new directions.
            America has the money to blow up everything, so surely the money is there somewhere to be constructive, inventive and inspiring.

            In the film about Zurich cited above there was an individual that remarked how he felt the government was working for the citizens. I know when I was in Helsinki visiting the planning department (as I often do in cities I visit) I had the same, almost overwhelming feeling that the government really served the people, that was their goal and they acted on it.
            I have never felt that in St. Louis, primarily because it does not exist. So I’m not so sure it is high school questions or even length of time in the city is a factor as much a ruling elite who likes to arrange affairs to maximize their personal gain.

          • JZ71 says:

            Good insight about how planning is currently viewed in the city (and the region) – it’s pretty much every man (and woman) for themselves. If the alderman doesn’t like it, it probably won’t happen, and most aldermen have little education in or much academic interest in traditional urban planning. They’re more focused on the new taxes, coming up with tax incentives, appeasing NIMBY neighbors and the fact that someone, anyone is willing to do something that they can take credit for in their fiefdom. And it’s not just the city, the new Walmart in Shrewsbury and the new Menard’s in Richmond Heights are other examples of politicians chasing the almighty dollar at the expense of both urbanity and the interests of many existing residents.

            I’ll repeat, we get the goverment we deserve. I watched the news about the swearing in ceremonies at the state legislature yesterday. The visuals of a Republican-dominated body reflected a bunch of white guys in conservative suits. We just had an election. Much of the campaign material I saw focused on local connections and “family”, and those attributes appear to be viewed as positives by most voters. And it doesn’t help that the underlying mantra of “no new taxes” doesn’t seem to apply to sales taxes or fees that “other people” pay. We have created a legislative environment where growing government, including planning, is “bad”, and relying on sales taxes is the only “good” revenue solution. Until that changes, I expect more of the same . . . .

          • gmichaud says:

            I agree the citizens are largely responsible for allowing government to deteriorate into its current state.
            Although there are many, many external forces like voter suppression, endless propaganda by whoever has the most money. A hackneyed and closed political system that excludes anyone that doesn’t parrot the conventional wisdom, the major media plays along with the charade.
            Just look at the impossibility of any 3rd party candidate, any time or any where have equal access to present their ideas.
            So I don’t think it completely the fault of the people, the citizens.

          • gmichaud says:

            So there you go, government is playing a positive role in the redevelopment of the “back door” to Denver. St Louis does not do anything similar.
            Can you imagine an effort on the part bureaucrats to even attempt to identify a “back door” for St. Louis.
            The Denver government is taking on the large scale responsibilities that a developer cannot without difficulty even begin to attain. Implementation requires a sophistication on the part of the government and its citizens. Government is supposed to supply leadership to help citizens see potentials and pitfalls.
            Aside from the lack of leadership in proposing and finding ways to enhance the environment for the use of its people, the St. Louis City government actually hands major, if not all responsibility over to the developer, not only abandoning its responsibility to its citizens, but missing opportunities like the one on Brighton Blvd. in Denver.
            The real shame is the potential of St. Louis is not being tapped.

          • JZ71 says:

            And more leadership: http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/building-code-change-toronto-affordable-housing

            But, again, what’s different in both Toronto and Denver is that there is a lot more population growth and a lot more momentum with infill and redevelopment. Denser development is happening because the numbers work, there are buyers and renters who (want to) use transit and want to live in dense, new, multi-story residential structures.

            We’ve had two decades to see TOD happen along the Red Line on Metrolink, and it ain’t happening! We should be worrying about gentrifiction and rent controls, not how to deter brick thieves and how to pay for demolition costs. Yes, there are some neighborhoods that are doing well, but the city, overall, and especially north city, continues to lose population. Yes, there are incredible “opportunities”. Yes, some people are making things happen. But it’s nowhere near what’s happening in the hot and happening cities elsewhere in America (and that may be a good thing, and what many, if not most, local residents actually want)!

            You want to blame “government” You want to blame some giant conspiracy. You want to blame “voter suppression, endless propaganda by whoever has the most money, a hackneyed and closed political system that excludes anyone that doesn’t parrot the conventional wisdom [and] the major media”. I simply don’t see it. The cost to live in St. Charles County, South County or across the river in Illinois is essentially the same as it costs to live in the city. People, indvidually, CHOOSE to live where they live. They make choices, based on where they work, where they want their kids to go to school, where they feel safe, their transportation options, where they’ll impress their friends, what the homes look like, what their neighbors look like and just the “feel” of the community.

            Government’s role in those choices varies. Government plays a big role in safety, schools and transportation. Government plays only a small role in what homes look like, what impresses one’s friends, what churches are present or the ethnicity or orientation of the residents. Government can’t make new construction happen, and they can do little to prevent people from moving out of and, eventually, tearing down old structures. If St. Louis is ever to regain its former glory, it’s going to take putting a lid on crime, especially gun crimes, recreating a public school system that rates as one of the best ones in the region, not one at the bottom, and providing appropriate transportation options for its residents.

            Is there a need for urban planning? Absolutely! But on the continuum of “needs”, it’s far less important than addressing crime and schools. Racism is also a huge issue, and one that urban planning can do very little to improve or change. At the core, you’re expecting people to change how they think, you’re expecting them to get out of their comfort zones. And to do that, it’s going to take more than platitudes and pointing to Europe. Muricans care about what happens in America, not what works on the other side of the globe. How has Chicago gotten so much better over the past two decades while St. Louis hasn’t? Both are controlled by Democratic machines, both have huge black ghettos, gangs and crime. Is it as simple as O’Hare vs. Lambert? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that developers and people voting with their feet and their wallets played a bigger role than did urban planners!

          • gmichaud says:

            The bottom line is that if people don’t have a real choice they are going to be less likely to choose an urban area. It would be as if I offer you a choice between a nice looking, clean set of dish-ware and dish-ware, broken, disheveled and only partially intact. Is this a real choice? Examples like this are endless, and until initiatives are undertaken along the lines of Brighton Road there is little chance of creating a high quality of life that attracts new residents.
            Even the TOD you mention is a perfect example of the “whatever” method of planning. Instead of fostering new ideas on how to redevelop these areas, requiring for instance transit stops in various communities to meet certain requirements, governance just throws everything to the wind. There are countless examples, one is the Sunnen stop where the participating city is not required to have transit orientated activities at the site. In fact what you have greeting a rider at every Metro stop is parking lots, large to extra large. How appealing is that?
            And then everyone wonders why more people don’t use transit.

            In Helsinki they stage Urban Design/Architectural competitions to generate good solutions in situations like TOD, it is an investment in the future.
            It would be one thing if St. Louis tried and failed, but it doesn’t even try. That is what I have been saying. The approach of the current bureaucrats is the approach you advocate, sit on your hands and hope some developer or developers come in and save the day. Your strategy is apparently to think that all of a sudden things will change magically without effort on part of the community and the government that represents them.
            As far as blaming the government, man if you can’t see what is going on then I don’t know what else to say. The dysfunctional government at all levels is easy to see.

          • JZ71 says:

            Ahhh, but people DO have choices, and they’re making them, just not in the ways that you think that they should! At Sunnen, apartments and single family were torn down to build the Mini dealership. You want the city (Maplewood) to “require” “transit oriented activities at the site”. Just how do you expect to make that reality?! The city can only legally say “no” just to stuff that’s not in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare; the government can’t force you build something that you don’t see a market for. Your “solution” sounds pretty draconian – if you don’t build what the city / community / “experts” want, then, guess what? You can’t (and don’t?) build anything – stalemate! How long do you wait? Years? Decades? Forever?!

            IF there were multiple (re)develoment proposals for the site, sure, the city has leverage. But when you only have one owner and one proposal, the only answer is only “yes” or “no”, not “how about this”? And, guess what? Car dealerships are not forever, either. Much like TOD in Englewood, Colorado, where TOD replaced “the largest enclosed shopping mall west of the Mississippi”, stuff gets torn down and replaced when market conditions dictate those changes. So Sunnen is (currently) a “loss” (for TOD) – what about the next station north (Manchester)? What are the plans for that site? Is it Maplewood’s responsibility? Sunnen’s? Metro’s? ULI? AIA? Yes, there’s “opportunity”. No, there’s (apparently, currently) no “leadership”. How do you / I / we / Steve change that? That, sir, is the real question!

          • gmichaud says:

            Lets put it this way, the transit station is a significant public investment, shouldn’t the community be accountable, responsible and expected to support that investment? Or are they freeloaders?
            You keep barking multiple developer proposals, they are not the ones that conceive the uses surrounding transit.
            Local governments already do this type of thing with zoning. A different system needs to be put into place. Current zoning is as primitive as the original commodore computer
            Screw market conditions, the attitude of waiting for the magic wand is the exact problem in the governance of this region.
            You create your own conditions for development by smart decisions that include developers, citizens and the government, then success will come.
            Apparently you think all of the free market types should get a free ride, it is society that makes their lives possible.
            How do we change it?, discussion is a start. Once the philosophical basis is established it is possible to create alternative governments. Certainly the one we have now isn’t getting it done. Which candidates in Steve’s current list is going to get anything done. Probably none, thus the need to look towards alternative governments.

          • JZ71 says:

            To stay focused, let’s ignore the potential for “alternative governments” and focus on Maplewood and the land around the Manchester station: https://goo.gl/maps/yBK2S . . I believe that Sunnen owns most, if not all, of the land to the west of the station. The city of Maplewood owns the park in the floodplain north of the station. There’s existing single family housing to the east and mixed commercial to the south. Who needs to be at the table? Sunnen, obviously, as well as the city. But is that city staff and/or the elected officials? The individual property owners (both residential and comercial)? Within 1/4 mile? Within 1/2 mile? Within 1 mile? Every resident of Maplewood? Anyone who lives in St. Louis County? Anyone in the region? Depending on who’s discussing, the answers will likely be very different. Are we going to focus on just vacant parcels? “Underused” parcels? All parcels? Within 1/4 mile? Within 1/2 mile? Within the city? Will eminent domain be on the table? Or, just willing sellers? Who’s going to lead the discussion? And what is their agenda? Maximizing tax revenues? Encouraging “best practices”? Subsidizing “best practices”?! Is this even a priority? Or is the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Maplewood, a mile to the east, a bigger priority? Can the two be connected? How should they be connected? What sorts of tax incentives are available? Bonding? Improvement Districts?

            You’re living in a fantasy world if you think a bunch of non-residents and non-owners can sit down, have a “philosophical discussion” to “conceive the uses around transit”, and be given much, if any, credence by either political leaders or the actual property owners. The government leaders and the city staff in Maplewood are responsible to their constituents, not to you and not to me. Sunnen has a long term presence and investment in the area, and presumably wants to maximize the return on their investments. They may or may not be receptive to new and “better” ideas, but I’m pretty sure that they already have an idea about what they want to do . . . oh, wait, they do!: http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2008/06/30/story3.html?page=all . . So, seven years later, little has happened. Do we revisit the plans, now, given different market conditions? With a new group of “stakeholders”? When do we stop studying and start building?

  6. James says:

    To add insult to injury, Central Parking didn’t even notify parkers that the garage was going to close. I purchased a monthly spot in that garage for my residential parking about a month before they started the construction. Then one day I tried to drive in and it was just closed. No warning. No notice. Nothing.

    • Sgt Stadanko says:

      This whole parking syndicate downtown is shady. I have said this once, and I will say it again. Follow the money…and it will be going right out of this country and to their motherland. foreigners! They like cash. Two guesses why… Thanks, Sarge

  7. kizi3 says:

    Nice post, It’s really interesting. I will be referring a lot of friends about this. Friv Thank for Sharing.


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