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Car Illegally Parked Blocking Fire Hydrant

January 26, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Parking 1 Comment

On the way to the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse a couple of weeks ago I stopped to photograph a car illegally parked on 11th Street at Market St.

Ford has a spotlight but regular Missouri plates. Click image to view the non-space on Google Street View
Ford has a spotlight but regular Missouri plates. Click image to view the non-space on Google Street View

This location on 11th Street is next to the Carnahan Courthouse:

The Carnahan Courthouse is the former federal courthouse building located at 1100-1114 Market Street in St. Louis. The Carnahan Courthouse provides office space and facilities for the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri. Additionally, the Carnahan Courthouse provides office space for the City of St. Louis Sheriff’s Department, the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney, the City of St. Louis Circuit Clerk, the City of St. Louis Public Defender, the City of St. Louis Personnel Department, the City of St. Louis Internal Audit Department, and other City offices.

Many vehicles that park around the courthouse belong to those doing business inside. We have many spots downtown where parking isn’t allowed but it probably should be. But there’s no excuse for parking in front of a fire hydrant.

I’ll send a link to this post, as well as the plate number, to various officials. Hopefully parking enforcement isn’t afraid to ticket court officials who block fire hydrants.

— Steve Patterson

 

Two Downtown Restaurants Closing This Weekend

January 25, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Retail 1 Comment

I’ve lived in St. Louis for more than 25 years now, the last 8+ downtown (Downtown West). In this time, many restaurants have come and gone all over the region.  Anniually publications highlight closings & openings — RFT’s 2013 Openings & Closings, for example.

Restaurants close for a variety of reasons.

According to a frequently cited study by Ohio State University on failed restaurants, 60% do not make it past the first year, and 80% go under in five years. (Food Network Chef Robert Irvine Shares The Top 5 Reasons Restaurants Fail)

At the end of this month two longtime downtown restaurants will close: Mike Shannon’s Steaks & Seafood and Harry’s Restaurant & Bar.

On the heels of Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood (closing Jan. 30), Prime 1000, the Dubliner and Joe Buck’s shuttering, comes word that Harry’s Restaurant & Bar will close after a celebration Jan. 29-30.

Harry’s co-owner Tim Pieri confirmed to the Post-Dispatch that the sprawling complex at 2144 Market Street will close after nearly two decades. Harry’s includes a dining area along with a patio and the Horizon at Harry’s nightclub. (Post-Dispatch)

Shannon’s will focus on their two other locations — Edwardsville & the airport. Harry’s only has the one location.

Only photo I could find of 620 Market, where Shannon's was located on the ground floor. February 2012. Click image for map.
Only photo I could find of 620 Market, where Shannon’s was located on the ground floor. February 2012. Click image for map.

City records online don’t list the date the building was constructed. In 1969 the Spanish Pavilion (briefly) opened on the block, this building appears on a 1971 aerial.  In the early 1990s the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, our Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), was located on the 2nd floor.  I have no recollection what was on the 1st floor prior to Shannon’s relocating here 10-15 years ago. They installed new windows along Market — making a strong connection to the public realm. Pedestrians could see the beautiful dining room & bar — though both were slightly higher. I ate there once 5-8 years, a friend was treating. Great food & service. Convenient location, we arrived as pedestrians.

The location is excellent, very close to Busch Stadium. Unfortunately, the city allowed the Cardinals/Cordish to build Ballpark Village without pedestrian access from 7th Street. So anyway wanting to eat here before or after a baseball game were forced to walk in auto driveways or a circuitous route to stay on marginal sidewalks.  This didn’t cause them to close, but it didn’t help. It also presents physical challenges for the next tenant of the space.

Harry's address is 2144 Market St, but the entry is on 22nd St, click image for map
Harry’s address is 2144 Market St, but the entry is on 22nd St, click image for map
Looking North on 22nd toward Market. FBI on left, Harry's on right
Looking North on 22nd toward Market. FBI on left, Harry’s on far right

On paper Harry’s location is also good: surrounded by hotels and at a highway on/off ramp. The building was built in 1964, for years a Mercedes-Benz dealership was across 22d  Street — now the FBI.  I remember the auto dealership, but I don’t recall what was in the Harry’s building. The dealership closed in 1995 — about the same time Harry’s opened.

I’ve never eaten at Harry’s — never had any desire. The building isn’t inviting. They took the on-street parking for valet use. Though I live closer to Harry’s than to Shannon’s, pedestrian access is basically impossible. Not the building — getting there. I was able to photograph the conditions in June 2010:

The sidewalks between Harry's and Union Station aren't friendly to the able-bodied -- impossible for the rest of us.
The sidewalks between Harry’s and Union Station aren’t friendly to the able-bodied — impossible for the rest of us.
Another example
Another example

Even a guest at the hotel across Market St from Harry’s would have a challenge walking to dinner. But again, even if it was a walker’s paradise the building isn’t inviting.

One photo from their website. Seriously?
One photo from their website. Seriously?

I looked at their menus and photos — how did they stay open this long?

[Harry’s owner] Pieri cited a familiar scenario: “It’s the economy, the highway closing, Ballpark Village. Downtown is just a dead area right now, unfortunately. Obviously, the sad part is nobody is talking about it. Iconic places are going out of business, and nobody cares.

“Ballpark Village was the nail in the coffin. It shut down Washington Avenue and took 70 percent of our business. We thought it would be more like 10 or 20 percent. It took the people left who were coming to downtown.”

He said the closing of Highway 40 (Interstate 64) for construction in various stages between 2007 and 2009affected Harry’s because “St. Louisans are creatures of habit. When it was closed for 2½ years, they went elsewhere.”

Pieri thinks there’s a downward swing that will continue until downtown books more conventions and brings crime under control. “People are afraid to come downtown,” he said. (Post-Dispatch)

The closing of Harry’s isn’t a shock to me.

— Steve Patterson

 

1900 Washington Ave Appears Salvageable, But Too Soon To Be Certain

January 22, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Real Estate 1 Comment

Monday afternoon I was at home writing, looking up from the computer screen it looked foggy outside. A quick check of my email was a Nextdoor.com message from a neighbor asking what was on fire. Ah — smoke — not fog. My first thought was the building at 17th & Locust.

Despite the cold, I decided to have a quick look to see. From 18th & Locust I could see emergency equipment at 19th, the #97 MetroBus, usually on Washington, was rerouted to Locust. So I headed North to see where Washington was blocked.

Looking West from 18th & Washington Ave at 2pm on on January 18th
Looking West from 18th & Washington Ave at 2pm on on January 18th
Six minutes later looking West toward 17th & Locust
Six minutes later looking West toward 17th & Locust
The next morning (10:45am) we drove by for a quick look. Click image for map
The next morning (10:45am) we drove by for a quick look. Click image for map
The old layers of the roof are gone
The old layers of the roof are gone
This is how 1900 Washington looked in February 2012
This is how 1900 Washington looked in February 2012

The good news is the walls appear to be sound. Monday afternoon owner Pete Rothschild replied to my earlier email, indicating they’ll know more once the engineers In a followup on Wednesday he said:

The goal and likely outcome is that we’ll still do the project. There are a million moving parts, and it’s going to be quite a while until I really know if that’s possible.

I look forward to the day 1900 Washington is fully renovated and occupied.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Parking Payment Stations Finally Added To South Side of 11xx Block of Locust Street

Scaffolding next to the condemned parking garage at Tucker & Locust prevented the adjacent parking meters on the South side of Locust Street from being upgraded with the rest of downtown. Until last week, the old meters remained on the South side of Locust between 11th & Tucker (12th). The North side got new individual meters last year.

New multi-space pay stations were installed on January 12th
New multi-space pay stations were installed on January 12th
The meters just before Tucker had long been blocked by scaffolding for the condemned parking garage, but the scaffolding came down in November
The meters just before Tucker had long been blocked by scaffolding for the condemned parking garage, but the scaffolding came down in November
A few days later the old meters were gone, the new pay stations unwrapped. Locking a bike here may be a challenge given the proximity to the new pay station.
A few days later the old meters were gone, the new pay stations unwrapped. Locking a bike here may be a challenge given the proximity to the new pay station.

The other side of the street has new individual meters, not the multi-space pay stations added to the South. This is far from the only block that has both individual meters and multi-space pay stations. I guess having lots of one-way streets and streets that are closed for a block wasn’t confusing enough — now we have two different types of electronic payment machines to understand.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should We Continue With The North Riverfront Stadium Plan?

Please vote below
Please vote below

The Rams are returning to Los Angeles, but a lot of effort — and $16 million dollars — has gone into planning a new stadium on the North Riverfront.

Now what?

The poll is open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

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