Last week Major League Soccer (MLS) officials indicated they’re interested in expanding — adding a team in St. Louis:
Major League Soccer will begin searching for a stadium site in St. Louis and planning for its financing and operations immediately, the league’s commissioner told the Post-Dispatch Thursday. (Post-Dispatch)
The site they shouldn’t consider is the North riverfront one previously targeted for a significantly larger NFL stadium — we shouldn’t tear down buildings when we have vacant land available. We have land, mostly state owned, without any buildings and a target for redevelopment for years already. I’m talking about the 22nd Street Interchange area — an area on the West side of downtown I’ve written about numerous times over the 11+ years.
Why this location?
- Brings needed activity/development to Downtown West
- Right size for stadium
- Paul McKee was going to redevelop the area, but nothing has happened yet
- Most of the land is owned by Missouri or St. Louis
- Would not involve relocating any residents or businesses
- Doesn’t require the demolition of any buildings
- Numerous hotels already serve this area
- New stadium could anchor West end of the Gateway Mall, events could take place in Aloe Plaza
- Market St viaduct/bridge is in poor condition
- Great views to the East.
- Would give a reason for the #99 Downtown Trolley (Bus) to make a complete circle and serving Downtown West, operating in both directions
What physically needs to happen for this to work?
- Gateway Greening’s urban farm project would need to be relocated
- Street grid restored, Pine/Chestnut 1-way couplet returned to 2-way traffic
- Highway on/off ramps need to be reworked:
- Entrance onto I-64 in both directions from 22nd & Clark
- EB off ramp connects to grid at 21st & Clark instead of 20th & Chestnut
- WB off ramp connects to grid at Clark between 21st-22nd
- Roundabouts may help along Clark at on/off ramps
What politically needs to happen for this to work?
- Elected officials need to abandon the idea of razing the North Riverfront
- City/region/state pays for these new roads/sidewalks, on/off ramps
- New ownership group pays for the actual stadium
- Form-based code to ensure development creates an urban pedestrian-friendly neighborhood over the next 15-20 years
Below is a rough mock-up:
Here are some additional images to show current conditions:
I think this location offers the chance to create a new neighborhood and provide the environment/experience desired by the MLS.
— Steve Patterson