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Sunday Poll: Did You Think the Lawsuit Against the Rams Would Fail or be a Success?

December 9, 2018 Featured, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Did You Think the Lawsuit Against the Rams Would Fail or be a Success?
Please vote below

St. Louis received some positive football-related news last week. First, professional football is returning. Well, sort of…

The XFL obviously won’t replace the NFL in St. Louis, but it will provide an opportunity to watch pro football from February through April in what is now called the Dome at America’s Center.

The XFL has a multi-year lease with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (aka Explore St. Louis). Lease details aren’t known at this point, but one source familiar with the process said the CVC will receive more than the $25,000 per game the Rams paid to use the dome. (Post-Dispatch)

The first XFL games will begin in February 2020, so no direct competition with the NFL in terms of calendar. The XFL failed after one season, many years ago. This time around it seems better prepared/funded.  All teams will be owned by the league itself.

The other good news received last week was regarding the Rams:

The Rams have agreed to pay personal seat license-holders in St. Louis up to $24 million for the unused portion of their PSLs after the team relocated to Los Angeles.

Attorneys representing thousands of St. Louis Rams PSL-holders filed a motion for preliminary approval Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

This follows the news last week that the parties had reached a settlement in a class-action suit filed shortly after NFL owners approved the relocation of the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles on Jan. 12, 2016.

The Rams also agreed to pay up to $7.4 million in attorney’s fees and expenses — a figure that will be paid separately from the $24 million. (Post-Dispatch)

In May 2017 the majority who participated in a non-scientific Sunday Poll didn’t think the lawsuit against the Rams would be successful. See: Readers: Lawsuit Against NFL Won’t Be Successful.

I never committed either way, but I did follow the court case as I got email updates over the last 18 months. Anyway, today’s poll is a followup to the May 2017 poll:

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 26 of 2018-2019 Session

December 7, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 26 of 2018-2019 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 26th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes seven (7) new bills:

  • B.B.#175 – Coatar – An ordinance authorizing and directing the
    Mayor and Comptroller to enter into a Lease Agreement with FRONT PAGE LOFTS, LLC, to lease property located in City Block 516, for a period of Ten (10) years, and for the purposes of conducting operations of the City of Saint Louis Board of Election Commissioners, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#176 – Vollmer – An ordinance establishing the Hill Special Business District pursuant to sections 71.790 through 71.808 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, setting its boundaries; a tax rate, initial rate of levy subject to the approval of the qualified voters, and uses to which revenue may be put; creating a Board of Commissioners; and containing severability, effectiveness, and emergency clauses.
  • B.B.#177 – Guenther – An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing The City to issue its Taxable Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (Anheuser –Busch, LLC Project), Series 2018, in a principal amount of not to exceed $75,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds to pay the costs of acquiring certain equipment for an industrial development project in the City; approving a plan for such project; authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute certain documents related thereto; and authorizing and directing the taking of other actions and approval and execution of other documents as are necessary or desirable to carry out and comply with the intent hereof.
  • B.B.#178 – Ogilvie – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute a permanent, irrevocable Easement, which shall give, grant, extend and confer on the City, its agents, successors, and assigns, the exclusive right to build and maintain a span of sidewalk improvements along the east side of Sulphur from the intersection of Sulphur and Manchester to the driveway to the north; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#179 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance establishing a two-way stop site at the intersection of Adkins and Poepping regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on Adkins, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#180 – Martin – An ordinance any and all private construction projects, and building or property maintenance performed within the City, except for single family homes and multifamily dwellings with four (4) or less units, that receives either City revenue bonds, City tax-credits or abatements, or, any other form of City public financing including that resulting from tax increment financing or special taxing district, or is performed on buildings or properties owned by the City that are leased to a private entity must, at a minimum, abide by all applicable City ordinances, rules and regulations, and state and federal laws, rules and regulations regarding minority participation and prevailing wages as provided under RSMo. 290.210 – 290.340 as such statute exists as of November 2018, and all applicable City ordinances, state and federal laws, rules and regulations regarding insurance and tax requirements required of public works.
  • B.B.#181 – Boyd – An Ordinance establishing a temporary, three-way stop site, which shall be and remain in place for a period of six months starting from the date on which said stop site is installed at the intersection of Blackstone and Wells regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Wells at Blackstone and regulating all traffic traveling southbound on Blackstone at Wells, and containing an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away. The full board will meet again one week from today, then break for winter until resuming on Friday January 11, 2019.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Possible Soccer Stadium Will Not Help Downtown West Without A Neighborhood Plan

December 5, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Opinion: Possible Soccer Stadium Will Not Help Downtown West Without A Neighborhood Plan

Before I begin discussing my thoughts on a possible soccer stadium in the Downtown West neighborhood, let’s take a look at the results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: If awarded an MLS expansion team, the stadium could be a catalyst for the Downtown West neighborhood.

  • Strongly agree: 18 [34.62%]
  • Agree: 7 [13.46%]
  • Somewhat agree: 8 [15.38%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 3 [5.77%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [5.77%]
  • Disagree: 3 [5.77%]
  • Strongly disagree: 10 [19.23%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Over 63% percent voted in the affirmative, I voted “somewhat agree” because yes, it could become a catalyst. With history as a guide, it most likely won’t do anything positive for the surroundings. Busch Stadium II (1966-2006) didn’t have much of an impact on adjacent blocks for the 3 decades it stood. Our NFL dome didn’t do anything for its surroundings either — the large site to the North is still vacant.

To become a catalyst for private investment a lot of planning must happen, a form-based code adopted so every property owner contributes to the same vision. Part of the problem is the current ownership group, and the last, both want to located the stadium South of Market Street — between 20th & 22nd Streets.  In February 2016 I suggested a MLS stadium North of Market bounded by 20th Street, Market, a rebuilt 22nd Street, and Pine. Only the stadium would fit, if at all. This land is also owned by the State of Missouri. This would leave lots of room for new development South of Market Street, North of Pine, etc.

Looking East toward Union Station from 22nd Street, a new Fairfield Inn is under construction on the former site of Harry’s.

Part of the area where they want to build a stadium is where Harry’s Bar & Restaurant was located at 22nd & Market St. This small site is already being developed, from September 2017:

The Fairfield, a Marriott brand, will have about 125 rooms and a two-story parking garage along with event space on the almost 1-acre site at 2144 Market Street. Developer Equis Hospitality Management of Brentwood hopes to finalize financing for the $19.5 million project by January and begin construction in January. (Post-Dispatch)

In October it was said the hotel site wouldn’t be needed for the stadium.

Across 22nd Street from the hotel, now under construction, is the St. Louis office of the FBI. Urban Stadiums should be like Chicago’s Wrigley Field, surrounded on all sides by numerous businesses that are active even on days when the stadium is empty. Not surrounded on one side by a fenced parking lot at a fortress. I doubt the FBI has any plans to relocate.  The stadium would be focused more toward Union Station, presumably. Still, the best urban stadiums are surrounded by active properties owned by others.

Financially the deal isn’t the worst. the land hasn’t generated any property taxes for decades, so by abating property taxes it’ll continue as it would if nothing were built. The city would wave taxes on construction materials like they’re doing with the hotel and other projects. This isn’t a huge gesture because most construction materials used on these projects aren’t bought from suppliers located in the city. This might be an incentive for the contractors to buy from city suppliers rather than outside suppliers.

It’s really hard to be anything but cynical about a new stadium, likely surrounded by acres of surface parking. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised…assuming the MLS awards one of the two remaining expansion teams to St. Louis.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis City Pedestrians Finally Getting A ‘Leading Pedestrian Interval’

December 3, 2018 Featured, Walkability Comments Off on St. Louis City Pedestrians Finally Getting A ‘Leading Pedestrian Interval’

A significant change has been happening at St. Louis intersections: the leading pedestrian interval (LPI). The what?

Walk signal is on while the traffic signal is still red, 11th @ Locust.

A leading pedestrian interval (LPI) gives pedestrians the opportunity to enter an intersection 3-7 seconds before vehicles are given a green indication. With this head start, pedestrians can better establish their presence in the crosswalk before vehicles have priority to turn left. LPIs provide the following benefits:

  • Increased visibility of crossing pedestrians.
  • Reduced conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Increased likelihood of motorists yielding to pedestrians.
  • Enhanced safety for pedestrians who may be slower to start into the intersection. (Federal Highway Administration)

The FHA says the benefit is a 60% “Reduction in pedestrian-vehicle crashes at intersections.” Video I took last month shows a 3-second LPI. Hopefully busier intersections (pedestrians & cars) get 7 second LPIs. Still. 3 seconds is better than 0!

I’m not sure if an LPI is used anywhere in St. Louis County, or the rest of the region.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Would a MLS Stadium be a Catalyst for St. Louis’ Downtown West Neighborhood?

December 2, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Would a MLS Stadium be a Catalyst for St. Louis’ Downtown West Neighborhood?
Please vote below

Last week the city’s development agency issued a glowing report about the economic value of a potential soccer stadium, and aldermanic committee approved a resolution related to a soccer stadium:

For three hours Wednesday, aldermen on the Housing Urban Development and Zoning Committee questioned the prospective team owners and their aids on the many details of the soccer proposal. They wanted to know how much money the prospective owners were putting into the deal and how much the city would be on the hook for.

Team owners said they’d cover almost the entire $392 million cost to build the stadium, although they won’t have to pay the amusement or real estate tax. And three cents will be added to every dollar spent by fans at the game, which will go to the team.

Some aldermen wanted to know how much it would cost to demolish the yet-to-be-built stadium in 30 years because the city will own it by then.

“Some of that stuff was just meant to distract and it’s sad those things continue to happen,” Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said.

The place was packed with soccer fans; it was standing room only. Everyone who spoke up supported the proposal.

“I have asked countless people in all walks of life tell me the downside of this. ‘It’s too good to be true.’ ‘What am I missing?’ The answer is simple there is no downside,” said Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin.

The proposal passed out of committee by a unanimous 8-0 vote. (Fox 2)

With the Resolution 180 out of committee, the full board voted on it on Friday:

The city Board of Aldermen overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday that outlines tax incentives for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium downtown.
The proposal passed 26 to 2, with President Lewis Reed voting yes. Megan Green, 15th Ward, and Sharon Tyus, 1st Ward, voted no. Sarah Wood Martin, 11th Ward, was absent.
“I will enthusiastically vote yes,” Alderman Scott Ogilvie, 24th Ward, said before the vote. “But I will remind everyone that our work is not done making sure this is a good and fair lease.”
 
The resolution is just a first step. It outlines the financing plan but doesn’t create the laws required to secure tax incentives. Aldermen would vote on those later — if, Mayor Lyda Krewson has said, the MLS awards St. Louis a team. (Post-Dispatch)

Now it’s up to Major League Soccer (MLS) to determine if St. Louis will be awarded one of two remaining expansion teams. Today’s non-scientific poll is a hypothetical based on being awarded a team by the MLS. It’s up to you, the reader, to define what “catalyst” means in this context. An existing highway on/off ramp — built for a long-abandoned highway loop project — would be replaced by the stadium.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts, along with the poll results.

— Steve Patterson

 

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