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Collinsville’s Gateway Conference Center & Adjacent Doubletree Hotel

Where do you look to plan an annual conference in the St. Louis region where you will have large & small meeting rooms plus hotel space for 2,000+ attendees.  If your budget is large you go to America’s Center in downtown St. Louis.  But if your budget isn’t so big you go to the Gateway Conference Center in Collinsville IL (aerial).

“Most of Collinsville’s lodging is within walking distance of the convention center.”

That seems very convenient!

The Gateway Convention Center is located adjacent to the Doubletree Collinsville/St. Louis and is an ideal partner for your larger meetings and tradeshows. Gateway Center offers 50,000 square feet of flexible, ground-level space that is sure to suit all your event needsThe convention center is surrounded by more than 40 restaurants and several visitor-friendly attractions. Lambert St. Louis International Airport is a short 30 minute drive away.

Together with Doubletree Collinsville/St. Louis, Gateway Center is “The Great Way to Gather” in the St. Louis MO metropolitan area for large events!

Wow, perfect! Convention center with adjacent hotel and others within walking distance.  Sounds perfect, right? Well almost…

ABOVE: Stairs over drainage ditch from Doubletree to Gateway Center (see in background)

If your conference has persons with mobility issues these stairs are a major obstacle. The problem is a flood control channel owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

ABOVE: Flood control ditch between the Doubletree (left) and Gateway Center (right)

The Doubletree is adjacent to the Gateway Center  and it has the small meeting rooms the other hotels in the area lack but the stairs are a major barrier when 100 or so of your attendees use mobility scooters, wheelchairs or just push baby strollers.

ABOVE: Stairs over drainage ditch from the Gateway Center to the Doubletree (see in background)

Part Two of this post will be published next week on the 29th.  That post will look at the walkability & accessibility of the Eastport Plaza area where Collinsville’s Gateway Center is located.  Pushing carts of convention materials from the main hotel to the center is also impossible.  The solution is a “switchback ramp” on each side of the levee. The Doubletree Hotel has new ownership and recently received a $12 million dollar makeover inside & out.

ABOVE: New concrete work around the Doubletree, but no connection to public sidewalk or ramp to Gateway Center
ABOVE: New concrete work around the Doubletree, but no connection to public sidewalk or ramp to Gateway Center

The hotel was built in 1982, construction on the Gateway Center started six years later. In 2007 the hotel, then a Holiday Inn, made the headlines.  This article from July 3, 2008 explains:

“The state auctioned off the hotel Thursday. St. Louis-based Lodging Hospitality Management, which owns 16 hotels in the St. Louis area, submitted the highest bid of six that were submitted, according to [Illinois State Treasurer Alexi] Giannoulias.

Giannoulias said in a statement that installing new owners will put an end to a 25-year “financial debacle.” Giannoulias said former owners B.C. Gitcho and Gary Fears received “an outrageously favorable $13.4 million state-backed loan” and quickly fell behind on payments enough that the outstanding principal and interest totaled $32.2 million.”

What I don’t yet know is when the steps and bridge were built over the flood control ditch.  Was the costs shared by the hotel and Collinsville? Did bonds for the Gateway Center finance the steps & bridge to the existing hotel?  I will keep digging.

In the meantime, next week I will post a look at the area where the Gateway Center is located, called Eastport Plaza.

– Steve Patterson


Collinsville IL Still Has One-Way Streets

ABOVE: Downtown Collinsville IL
ABOVE: Main looking east from Clinton, Collinsville IL

Yesterday I was briefly in downtown Collinsville IL.  I’d forgotten how nice their Main Street looks.  I last wrote about their Main Street in July 2007 when it looked like they may undo what never should have been done: Collinsville IL May Finally Correct One-Way Main Street Mistake.  Unfortunately, Collinsville still has a one-way couplet — Main St eastbound and Clay St westbound.

Does the direction of auto traffic matter to pedestrians?  Yes!  On the sidewalk you feel like you are next to an escape route. Decades ago traffic engineers convinced nearly every town, big & small, to install one-way streets to move traffic faster.  One-way streets in a small town make little sense but undoing what has been in place for so long is nearly impossible.

It is a shame too, Main St in Collinsville has very charming buildings and a decent streetscape. Changing Main & Clay to be two-way again would have huge benefits.  The vibe would instantly be different.

– Steve Patterson


Affordable Housing In Granite City, IL

October 30, 2010 Metro East, Real Estate 6 Comments

Eight new homes were recently completed on infill lots to the east of downtown Granite City, IL.


Assistance was provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The homes were developed by Justine PETERSEN.


ABOVE: Master bathroom in one of the accessible house

The one-story house I toured was very basic, a good home for someone needing an accessible residence.  Granite City, IL still needs to work on sidewalks and curb ramps so that a disabled resident living in one of these houses could reach the grocery store, bank, post office, bus transfer station and so on.

ABOVE: Washington Ave in Granite City where some of the homes were built
The two-story homes on North Lincoln have impressive detailing, especially for affordable housing

The model Justine PETERSON is using for the houses is interesting, an affordable rent-to-buy arrangement.

  • Those eligible must be below 80% of the median income.
  • Rent is $595.
  • The current value of the homes is $150,000; after the 15-year rental tenure, the tenant pays 60% of the market value of the home at that juncture.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: What Do You Think Of The MVVA Proposal For The City+Arch+River Competion?

2010.08.08_Plan Mockup_01.inddBy now most have formed an opinion of MVVA’s winning proposal in the City+Arch+River competition.  Over the next five years we will (hopefully) see work completed on both sides of the river. For the poll this week I hope to get a sense of what you think of the proposal.  I know there are those who are disappointed, but are they a few or the majority?  The poll is in the upper right sidebar.

– Steve Patterson


Readers Think St. Clair County Transit Needs Bike Racks On Buses

ABOVE: Metro bus without bike rack at the Belleville IL MetroLink station
ABOVE: Metro bus without bike rack at the Belleville IL MetroLink station

Response to this poll was low but the results are clear, those who voted think St. Clair County Transit needs to add bike racks to their buses.

Q: St. Clair County (IL) Transit District doesn’t have bike racks on their buses, they 1) damage buses 2) damage wash brushes 3) take extra labor. Your thoughts?

  1. Madison County Transit finds a way, so should St. Clair County Transit. 36 [37.5%]
  2. So what if it takes more labor to wash the buses, they need to find a way to pay for it and get racks on their buses 29 [30.21%]
  3. No bus in the region should have bike racks 15 [15.63%]
  4. Other answer… 7 [7.29%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 6 [6.25%]
  6. If it takes more labor saving money is more important than providing bike racks 3 [3.13%]

I thought #6 above would be the primary against answer so the 15 votes that “No bus in the region should have bike racks” was shocking.

The seven other answers were:

  1. SCCT should get over themselves and get with the program!
  2. Its up to the residents of st. clair county to want bike racks
  3. Why do the buses need to be washed, and how much money was spent on that?
  4. modify the bus wash to work with racks, like other transit systems do!
  5. Lame excuses
  6. there needs to be a balance between cost/benefit to the region of the bike racks
  7. If MCT, Metro and tons of other transit authorities can, St. Clair should too.

I’m going to stay on this issue until the day you can bike-n-ride in St. Clair County.

– Steve Patterson