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Fortieth Anniversary of Laclede’s Landing Redevelopment

February 19, 2015 Board of Aldermen, Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation 4 Comments

Four decades ago today — February 19, 1975 — the Board of Aldermen took at step to save what little remained of the oldest part of the city:

A group of downtown bankers and businessmen, led by William Maritz announced the formation of a corporation to oversee development of the tiny group of remaining buildings along the riverfront levee. The Laclede’s Landing Redevelopment Corporation was approved by the Board of Aldermen, which allowed interested owners to retain and improve their properties. Through the 1960’s several proposals were put forth for the area, including one shortsighted suggestion of complete demolition. The area was listed on the National Historic Register in 1976, the first commercial district in St. Louis to do so. Laclede’s Landing has since been on a steady upward path, with several local architects contributing to its renovation. The name “Laclede’s Landing” is a relatively recent name that has been given to the site, as there were nearly 150 more blocks of a similar character that made up the St. Louis riverfront before the creation of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. (STL250 via Facebook)

The bulk of the original city had been razed 35+ years before to make room for a riverfront memorial — eventually the Arch we know today. In 1975 the Arch was open but the grounds not yet landscaped, the north garage not yet built.

In the last four decades the area hasn’t been stagnant, buildings have been renovated while others have been lost. Most recently some sidewalks were improved, made more accessible.

Workers rebuilding curbs & sidewalks along N. 2nd St, November 2013.
Workers rebuilding curbs & sidewalks along N. 2nd St, November 2013.
One of the new sidewalks along N. 2nd, November 2014
One of the new sidewalks along N. 2nd, November 2014
It was announced a park was planned for the north side of the Eads Bridge, to the right of the trucks parked in the alley,
A park is planned for the site where the Switzer building collapsed (north side of the Eads Bridge, to the right of the trucks parked in the alley) March 2014 photo.

Despite recent progress, this summer a big employer will leave Laclede’s Landing:

Following an extensive search, the Bi-State Development Agency (BSDA) is excited to announce the relocation of its headquarters to the Metropolitan Square Building at 211 North Broadway in downtown St. Louis. The move is planned for summer 2015.

Since 1982, BSDA has occupied space at 707 North 1st Street, which currently serves as the agency’s headquarters for the Metro transit system, the Gateway Arch tram and ticket operations, St. Louis Downtown Airport, the new St. Louis Gateway Freight District, and the Gateway Arch Riverboats. The 117-year old building has approximately 100,000 square feet of floor space. (NextStopSTL)

Links:

Hopefully other businesses will take over the space that’ll be vacated by Metro! I’m grateful that decades ago some saw the value of holding on the last remnants of the old city.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Sean McElligott says:

    I think the landing should go from a office and night life district to a residential neighborhood. I think it would be a lot better off in the long run then. Also a couple of 20 to 30 floor residential towers would do well with views of the arch, downtown and the river. Some jobs are going to to the landing so this should help make up the loss from metro. http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/logistics-firm-pls-opens-st-louis-office/article_fe639342-6adc-5fa8-8155-6669fd8b0db0.html

     
    • Mark says:

      The Landing is in trouble. It is loosing one of it’s largest businesses, the Metro main office, which is moving downtown. The construction work being performed has done nothing to remove the areas isolation and make it feel like it is a part of the city, and many restaurants and bars have either closed or are struggling. Apparently, BPV is had a sever impact on the Landing. There is also only so much demand for rental properties in the foreseeable future, and many of the building downtown are already being developed to be offered up for rental, including the Arcade building. So developing more rental property down by the river with nothing of much too offer is simply not realistic. As long as the highway remains dividing the city, I believe the future for the Landing is dim.

       
      • John R says:

        I’m optimistic about the potential for residential development in The Landing and hope the Metro Building will be redeveloped as such. Right next to the improved Arch grounds and walkable to the CBD, the time has come for riverfront living in Saint Louis.

         
  2. KevinB says:

    It’s an interesting question — how much has forty years really done for the redevelopment of Laclede’s Landing? I guess the situation could be much more dire if there wasn’t a concentrated effort (and funding system) as the LLRC provided. Some of the remaining buildings have been beautifully restored, but are worryingly empty. At the same time, I seem to recall some pretty significant clear-cutting occurred soon after incorporation — many of the open-air lots there today were filled with buildings back then.

    The Landing had its hey-day, sure and that probably ran pretty close with the rise and fall of Mississippi Nights. There are some great businesses down there — both service-based and office — and a close community among its merchants (I worked with them for about two years). Hopefully, some smart development in a historic context can revive the area while retaining its importance as our city’s only active riverfront district/neighborhood.

    Lumiere definitely wasn’t the boon it was meant to be and further boxed in the Landing. Same with the overpass, and (likely) the same with the closure of Washington Avenue. I feel that Laclede’s Landing’s future is entirely dependent on the successful development and activation of the riverfront, from Chouteau’s Landing up through the proposed stadium grounds. If that can happen and people start visiting the river again, the businesses will likely follow for the Landing.

     

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