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Old North St. Louis Annual Meeting & Potluck Dinner

Ald. April Ford-Griffin (D-5th Ward) addresses the large crowd.

I love attending events in St. Louis’ many neighborhoods, especially those involving food. Monday’s annual meeting and potluck dinner in Old North St. Louis extra special to me. You see it was the potluck 20 years earlier, in 1991, that convinced me to move to Old North St. Louis. I talked to many of the same people Monday that I met 20 years ago.

ABOVE: The food table at the end of the night.

I lived in Old North St. Louis for just under three and a half years, March 1991-August 1994.  I recall clients at the time living in places like Frontenac & Ladue being shocked I lived in anywhere in the city, much less north of Delmar.  Those were great years, I was among friends and we were working to realize the tremendous potential of the neighborhood.

I’ve stayed connected in the 16+ years since I moved away and I’m so glad to see all the progress that has been made.  In 2010 a failed pedestrian mall from 1977  was removed, a food co-op was opened. and more new housing was finished and occupied.  I especially love visiting neighborhoods where so much is going right after years of having things go wrong.

– Steve Patterson


Readers Like That McKee’s NorthSide Project is in Smaller Pieces

February 9, 2011 NorthSide Project 5 Comments

northside regeneration mapLast week readers weighed in on Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project.

Q: Current Thoughts on McKee’s Northside Regeneration Project? (pick 2)

  1. I like the smaller piece approach McKee has been forced into 43 26.88%
  2. McKee should break out & detail more pieces 39 24.38%
  3. McKee should push for the full enchilada 30 18.75%
  4. I like the project more now 14 8.75%
  5. I never liked the project 14 8.75%
  6. Other answer… 7 4.38%
  7. McKee should abandon project 7 4.38%
  8. unsure/no opinion 6 3.75%
  9. I used to like the project but not anymore 0 0%

Seems like the opposition is shrinking.  Here are the other answers:

  1. never going to happen, will just result in loss of irreplaceable architecture
  2. I dont like McKee
  3. Should incorporate more of the ideals on New Town at St. Charles
  4. Irrelevent what I think, it will never happen.
  5. McKee should be in prison
  6. The Plan furthers Team 4
  7. I hope the project is successful, but that he is a good neighbor in the interim.

Clearly the opposition wanted to provide their own answers!

– Steve Patterson


Poll: Current Thoughts on McKee’s Northside Regeneration Project?

northside regeneration mapFriday 5th ward alderman April Ford-Griffin introduced Board Bill 278 regarding Paul McKee’s stalled Northside Regeneration project:

An Ordinance authorizing the execution of a project agreement between the City of St. Louis and Northside Regeneration, LLC; prescribing the form and details of said agreement; authorizing other related actions in connection therewith; and containing a severability clause.

This agreement would cover only a fraction of McKee’s overall project:

The proposal includes cleaning up 14 vacant lots, tearing down six empty buildings and rehabbing seven more, including the old Greyhound Bus station at Cass Avenue and 13th Street. It also would build a $750,000 materials recycling center on 10th Street near Interstate 70, where bricks, wood and other materials from demolished buildings and ripped-up roads would be stored and sold for reuse. (Post-Dispatch)

This is in response to a legal delay last July:

A St. Louis judge threw out a city ordinance Friday that authorized $390 million in tax increment financing – the largest in the city’s history – for Paul McKee Jr.’s $8.1 billion NorthSide redevelopment.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker ruled in favor of city residents who allege in a lawsuit filed last fall that the Board of Aldermen did not comply with state law when it approved a tax increment financing (TIF) package for McKee’s massive project. (
St. Louis Business Journal)

So McKee’s Northside Regeneration project is the subject of the poll this week (upper right of blog).

– Steve Patterson


Signs of Hope Along St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive

This is my seventh year writing on Dr. Martin Luther King Day.  Every year, except 2008 I have looked at the St. Louis road named Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, in 2008 I looked at the issue of race.

Here are links to each of the prior posts:

Today we will start at Tucker (12th) and work our way West.

ABOVE: The infill of the old rail tunnel under Tucker has now reached MLK Dr.
ABOVE: South of MLK Dr Interco Plaza has already been removed.
ABOVE: this handsome glazed brick building is showing recent damage
ABOVE: The fire likely happened in the last year.
ABOVE: Site where a farmers' market was to be built
ABOVE: So glad to see this building being renovated as part of a larger project
ABOVE: This building & others were very close to being razed
ABOVE: A few years ago it looked like one of my favorite buildings in the city might not survive.

The two buildings above are part of the Dick Gregory Place project.  This building is the NE corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. and Marcus Ave.

ABOVE: A former muffler shop at Kingshighway is being converted to a gas station. Progress?
ABOVE: Only the front remains (barely) standing

The back of the above building. located just west of Union, is nearly gone.  I don’t expect to see this building next year, but I’ve thought that the last couple of years.

ABOVE: The adaptive reuse of the Arlington School into housing is a huge step forward for the Wells/Goodfellow neighborhood

ABOVE: These buildings at Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. & Bud Ave were razed to make room for new housing to be built as part of the Arlington Grove project
ABOVE: These buildings at Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. & Bud Ave were razed to make room for new housing to be built as part of the Arlington Grove project. Image: Google Streetview
ABOVE: The Arlington Grove project will occupy the entire city block.  Image: Google Maps (click to view)
ABOVE: The Arlington Grove project will occupy the entire city block. Image: Google Maps (click to view)

From Multi-Family Housing News this past October:

Construction has started on the Arlington Grove residential redevelopment project in north St. Louis. When complete it will include 112 mixed-income rental units in garden apartments, townhouse and semi-detached housing, along with a new mixed-use building and rehabilitation of the historic Arlington Elementary School. All together, the redevelopment will total 162,000 square feet of residential space and 5,000 square feet of commercial space.

The school renovation will include 21 apartments. The rest of the Arlington Grove’s residential space will be 91 new-construction townhomes and garden apartments. All of the units are designed to meet mandatory Enterprise Green Communities (EGC) criteria as required by the Capital Fund Recovery Competition (CFRC) grant, a stimulus-related grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that helped pay for the $41 million development. (full story)

Foundation work on the new construction on the placement looks good from an urban perspective. I will report more on this later this year as well as on Martin Luther King Day 2012.

ABOVE: near the west city limits storefronts in the once bustling Wellston Loop area remain largely vacant

I say it every year but it is going to take a major transportation infrastructure project (modern streetcar or even a BRT line) to make MLK Dr a desirable enough street to bring back the middle class.


– Steve Patterson


KMOV Confused About Downtown’s Borders, Location Of Shooting

November 23, 2010 Media, North City 12 Comments

CBS affiliate KMOV seems confused about the borders of downtown as well as the location of a shooting yesterday.

ABOVE: Screen shot of KMOV story, click to view article

The casual reader would think downtown St. Louis is unsafe.  But the article says the victim was leaving a gas station at 8800 Broadway.  8800 Broadway  – north & south — is over 7 miles from downtown.  The map they show with their article shows 8800 South Broadway but it says the victim hit a house on Riverview so the shooting had to happen at 8800 North Broadway. Granted downtown is between these two points but it would be nice if the media understood that downtown doesn’t extend south of Chouteau, north of Cass or west of Jefferson. The CBD (Central Business District) is even smaller.

– Steve Patterson