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Majority of Readers Excited About IKEA St. Louis Opening Soon

In the recent Sunday Poll a solid majority (68.63%) indicated — no surprise — positive feelings about IKEA opening soon. Those who were neutral outweighed the negative, 19.61% vs 11.76%.

I don't like that it's set back from Forest Park Blvd, but glad they'll have two wide walkways from the public sidewalk through the parking lot to reach the entry.
I don’t like that it’s set back from Forest Park Blvd, but glad they’ll have two wide walkways from the public sidewalk through the parking lot to reach the entry.

I’ve shopped at 7 different IKEA stores over the last 25 years, always while traveling. This will be a new experience being able to go anytime I want. As rumors of the store were circling a few years ago I said, as a big box, it belonged in suburbia. I still feel that way. It lowers the bar for the redevelopment of the area. I can only hope that so many others want to locate in close proximity that everything about the IKEA is more urban than the IKEA itself.

Here are the results:

Q: How do you feel about IKEA St. Louis opening in 45 days:

  1. Excited 18 [35.29%]
  2. TIE 10 19.61%
    1. Somewhat excited
    2. Meh (Neutral)
  3. Very excited 7 [13.73%]
  4. TIE 3 [5.88%]
    1. Disinterested
    2. Very disinterested
  5. TIE 0 [0%]
    1. Somewhat disinterested
    2. Unsure/No Answer

Follow the various pre-Grand Opening events here.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Shriner’s Hospital Returns To St. Louis City After 52 Years In Suburban Frontenac

Sunday afternoon the new Shriner’s Hospital for Children will be dedicated.  The new facility will open for patients on June 1st, a return to the City of St. Louis after 52 years in the affluent suburb of Frontenac.

In 1924 the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children opened on the NE corner of Euclid & Clayton
In 1924 the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children opened on the NE corner of Euclid & Clayton
In 1962 the Shriner's built a larger hospital on many acres in Frontenac
In 1963 the Shriner’s built a larger hospital on many acres in Frontenac

Changes in care meant the 1960s facility was too large:

The hospital is leaving a 182,000-square-foot facility in Frontenac for a 90,000-square-foot facility in St. Louis. The new hospital, at 4400 Clayton Avenue, will continue to use 12 inpatient beds despite its license for 80. (Post-Dispatch)

Many of us have been watching the new building take shape for a while now, much more visible than the facility they’re leaving.

The new hospital as seen from across I-64 last October
The new hospital as seen from across I-64 last October
The Clayton Rd entry in December
The Clayton Rd entry in December, the ADA accessible route is on the right

About Sunday’s dedication:

New hospital dedication ceremony May 17
Dedication of the new replacement hospital for Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis, will take place from 1 – 4 p.m., Sunday, May 17. 

Imperial Potentate Dale Stauss and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Doug Maxwell will officially open the building for visitors that day. Following a special ceremony featuring the local and national leadership of Shriners Hospitals for Children – as well as a few surprises from the patients – the hospital will be open for tours. Tours of the hospital will include a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see in some areas of the hospital that will be restricted to patients, families and employees only, such as the operating rooms, patient rooms and patient-family quarters.

Sunday’s dedication is open to the public. Yesterday I got a tour of the facility, here are most of the photos I took:

Approaching on Clayton Ave, from Euclid
Approaching on Clayton Ave, from Euclid
At the entrance
At the entrance
The required ADA accessible route
The required ADA accessible route
Crosswalk at drive
Crosswalk at drive
At the main entry
At the main entry
Just inside the front doors
Just inside the front doors
Looking to the left of the reception desk
Looking to the left of the reception desk
Looking out toward Clayton Ave from the lobby cafe
Looking out toward Clayton Ave from the lobby cafe
In the cafe area changing images are projected onto a wall
In the cafe area changing images are projected onto a wall
One of the exam rooms
One of the exam rooms
A side entry on the East side allows patients to arrive/leave in privacy
A side entry on the East side allows patients to arrive/leave in privacy
There are six double rooms . Each patient has a tablet for music, games, etc. Patients can also adjust a color-hanging LED light over their bed!
There are six double rooms . Each patient has a tablet for music, games, etc. Patients can also adjust a color-hanging LED light over their bed!
The nurses station in the recovery area
The nurses station in the recovery area
The main operating room
The main operating room
On the 2nd floor is the board room, which will also be used for staff meetings
On the 2nd floor is the board room, which will also be used for staff meetings
A 2nd floor lounge
A 2nd floor lounge
A large research lab
A large research lab
Recreational therapy
Recreational therapy
One of the hotel-like rooms for family staying overnight
One of the hotel-like rooms for family staying overnight
A family lounge on the 3rd floor with windows facing East toward downtown
A family lounge on the 3rd floor with windows facing East toward downtown
The view looking East
The view looking East

This new hospital is good news for the City of St. Louis, even better news for the young patients & their families who’ll receive care here in the decades to come. I know the hospital where I had surgery at age 4 looked nothing like this, it was a scary institutional place. Thankfully all new hospitals have gotten more welcoming.

The last all-new hospital in the 22-hospital Shriner system was in 1997 — so this is a big deal. Shriner’s St. Louis has always had a connection to Washington University, this new location will strengthen that relationship.  Again, Sunday’s dedication is open to the public.

Welcome back Shriners!

— Steve Patterson

 

1893 House on Delmar Blvd Getting Rehabbed

I like to end each week with a positive post and nothing is more positive than a favorite building, long written off, getting rehabbed. A large house on Delmar, with unique dormers, has been in disrepair for years.  A few months ago a friend posted on Facebook that work was starting on the building. Earlier this month I took the #97 MetroBus to photograph the progress.

Work was still ongoing on my December 12th visit.
Work was still ongoing on my December 12th visit.
Diagonally across Delmar & Pendleton
Diagonally across Delmar & Pendleton, click image for map
This March 2014 photo from GEO St. Louis shows the old fire escape from when the house was divided into multiple units.
This March 2014 photo from GEO St. Louis shows the old fire escape from when the house was divided into multiple units.

City records indicate 4270 Delmar Blvd was built in 1893 and contains 5,687 sq ft. This property is just a couple of blocks West of another favorite building, that also recently got rehabbed, now known as Freedom Place. Fingers crossed someone will take on the building at the East end of Fountain Park.

— Steve Patterson

 

Central West End (CWE) MetroLink Station Poorly Connected To Taylor Ave

Our busiest MetroLink light rail station is the Central West End (CWE) station, but it’s also one of the worst when it comes to connecting to a public street. If you head up the stairs/elevator at the west end of the platform you’ll get to a plaza where Euclid Ave used to be, now part of the Washington University Medical School/BJC campus that’s decimated the street grid. Head east and the grid remains mostly intact, but getting to it isn’t easy.

Looking east toward Taylor from the CWE MetroLink platform
Looking east toward Taylor from the CWE MetroLink platform
Looking east down the service driveway toward Taylor
Looking east down the service driveway toward Taylor

The connection is narrow & winding, designed to get MetroBus rides to/from light rail. It isn’t designed for pedestrians to reach Taylor Ave. Why might someone want to go to Taylor Ave?  For one, various hospital related buildings are within a few blocks. The CWE is to the north, but one can use the former Euclid Ave to connect with Euclid Ave. To the south, however, is the Forest Park Southeast (FPSE neighborhood) and The Grove, accessed via Taylor Ave.

Expensive investments in mass transit infrastructure, such as light rail, needs to be designed to maximize use and thus, return on investment. If you didn’t see the train occasionally or the crossing gates, you’d never know a station as been just off Taylor Ave for more than two decades.

— Steve Patterson

 

Housing For Homeless Veterans Nearing Completion At 4011 Delmar

I February 2010 I posted I would live at 4005 Delmar, then a vacant & boarded building, I was dreaming of it being renovated.

Boarded storefronts at sidewalk level
Boarded storefronts at sidewalk level, February 2010

The building at 4005-4011 Delmar has since attracted the attention of a developer, who also dreams:

We believe being a dreamer is every bit as important as being a do’er. In our personal and our professional lives, the members of The Vecino Group are dedicated to imagining a better world and then working to make it happen. 

I too agree it is important to dream, I’ve shared mine here for over 9 years.

Last year:

A housing developer from Springfield, Mo., has embarked on a $12.7 million project to renovate the building as 68 affordable apartments for homeless vets. The five-story building, at 4011 Delmar Boulevard, is in the city’s Vandeventer neighborhood, about three blocks from the John Cochran VA Medical Center.

Plans call for the building, named Freedom Place by the developer, to be redone as 20 studio apartments, 24 one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units. Monthly rents are scheduled to range from $369 to $640. (stltoday)

According to city records, the building had 100 one-bedroom apartments and three “other” units. Hopefully the new mix of units will work well.

I pass by this project on the #97 MetroBus, but recently I was in the area photographing for my post on the North Sarah Apartments so I got a closer look at the progress.

New windows greatly improve the appearance
New windows greatly improve the appearance

I’m curious to see how the ground-level will be used. Will a neighborhood coffeehouse be able to open?  A small local market perhaps? The area desperately needs economic activity to create jobs for the veterans that will live here, as well as others.

Directly across the street a 1945 commercial building is vacant. With its side parking lot this could be a good market.
Directly across the street a 1945 commercial building is vacant. With its side parking lot this could be a good market for the area.
At 4035 the later commercial store front in from of a 19th century house has collapsed.
At 4035 a commercial storefront  addition in from of a 19th century house has collapsed.

Housing for these vets is huge, but we must also finds ways to rebuild the local economic base to create jobs. One local effort is Bridge Bread:

Bridge Bread is a social entrepreneurship initiative designed to provide job opportunities for guests of The Bridge. The goal of the initiative is to help disadvantaged guests engage in a financially rewarding effort that enhances self-worth, promotes dignity and enables the guests to help themselves.

It takes much more than a shelter cot to rebuild the lives of the homeless. Kudos to the people behind The Vecino Group!

— Steve Patterson

 

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