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Forget TOD, Apparently Parking Critical To Financing Redevelopment of Arcade-Wright Building

July 31st marks 21 years since the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station opened downtown, the Arcade-Wright building on that corner remains undeveloped.  For nearly 20 minutes at the June Parking Commission meeting Otis Williams (SLDC: St. Louis Development Corporation) & Steve Stogel talked about a variety of downtown development issues, including why a lease for parking spaces in the 7th Street garage was critical.

The Arcade portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Olive
The Arcade portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Olive
The Wright portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Pine
The Wright portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Pine, entry/exit to station (WB) next to building
The Arcade-Wright across 8th Street from the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station
The Arcade-Wright across 8th Street from the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station (EB)
The city-owned 7th Street parking garage
The city-owned 7th Street parking garage

During the 18 minute discussion many details about the proposed redevelopment are revealed.

The Arcade-Wright building:

  • is owned by the LCRA (Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority), for about 5 years
  • is one of the last buildings awaiting redevelopment downtown.
  • has roughly 500,000 square feet
  • Webster University will lease the 1st floor, mezzanine & 2nd floor, 55,000 sq ft. Their campus will be about 90,000 sq ft total
  • Upper floors will be a combination of (202) affordable and (80) market rate apartments
  • $118 million dollar project
  • LCRA bought the Arcade-Wright building for $4,500,000 after John Steffen’s Pyramid Constriction firm collapsed with 7-9 downtown buildings
  • Mortage was held by Bank of America. Total for this mortgage and several other buildings was $32 million
  • Interest had accrued and property taxes hadn’t been paid on the properties
  • Development will let the LCRA get reimbursed for all expenses
  • Not enough parking in the building, “the 200 affordable units have to park somewhere”, seeking long-term lease in the 7th street garage so the residents in the affordable units have parking

Other:

  • Redevelopment of the Chemical building at 8th & Olive will move forward once the Arcade-Wright is underway
  • The owner of the Laclede Gas Building is planning a renovation once Laclede Gas moves out
  • Jefferson Arms is the other building that was held by Steffen in 2008 that hasn’t been renovated yet
  • April 23, 2008 John Steffen asked Steve Stogel to help him liquidate. (Note: Pyramid shut down on April 18, 2008)
  • The Chemical building is 160,000-180,000 sq ft

This was on June 12th, I’ve not seen any announcements since. I recorded (audio) of the nearly two hour meeting, you can listen to the last 18 minutes about the Arcade & development here.

Further reading:

So all 202 affordable (subsidized) apartments at a MetroLink stop need a parking space in the garage a block away to finance the redevelopment. It’s unclear if parking at Dominium’s Leather Trades & Metropolitan is included in the base rent or an additional charge. I’m not sure anyone involved realizes the building is adjacent to an underground light rail station — one people would need to walk past to reach the parking garage! Enterprise CarShare also operates downtown, for times when residents need wheels.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: No Free Parking During Downtown Events

July 2, 2014 Downtown, Parking 1 Comment
Metered parking on 10th Street
Metered parking on 10th Street

In the poll last week more than two-thirds of readers the voted clearly support Tishaura Jones’ decision to continue enforcement of parking meters.

Q: Should the St. Louis Treasurer suspend parking meter enforcement during downtown events?

  1. No 99 [67.81%]
  2. Yes 41 [28.08%]
  3. Maybe 5 [3.42%]
  4. Unsure/No Opinion 1 [0.68%]
  5. Yes, but only for the Komen Race 0 [0%]

I agree with Jones and those who voted no, too many events to say parking is free. How far away from the event would be free? What about events held elsewhere, would those events also have free parking too? Look, I’m sorry the Komen Race organizers failed to make it clear to participants that on-street parking hasn’t been free since July 2013. The ticket is only $10, take transit or carpool next year.

— Steve Patterson

 

Watch For Motorcycles, Park On Sidewalk

A lot of space in St. Louis is designated for vehicles, with a little for pedestrians. As a result, I get upset when a vehicle reduces the sidewalk space further.

Van parked part way on the  Olive sidewalk at 9:40am on a Tuesday morning
Van parked part way on the Olive sidewalk at 9:40am on a Tuesday morning
Close-up of sticker on back window
Close-up of sticker on back window
Side
Side view of van, unsure if it’s still associated with Southwest Christian Church in Fenton

If your vehicle can’t be parked without being part way on the sidewalk I suggest you find a different parking spot. If you’re a motorist do please watch for motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

— Steve Patterson

 

Parking: Study Flaw, Open House Tonight, Consultant Hired (UPDATED)

SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM.

The weekly poll that started on Sunday morning is about parking, but there’s more on the subject. First, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones is hosting an open house tonight:

The City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office will conduct a town hall meeting to give the public the chance to meet the vendors participating in the parking technology field tests in downtown and the Central West End.

The meeting will be June 24 at the Central Library in downtown. A meet and greet with the vendors will take place at 6 pm, with a presentation to begin at 7 pm. The companies participating in the town hall are: Xerox, Duncan Solutions, Aparc Systems, and a joint proposal submitted by T2 Systems, Inc., Republic Parking System and Digital Payment Technologies. (source)

As of yesterday morning, tonight’s open house still wasn’t listed under the “Upcoming Events” heading. The above quote is from the blog post listed under “News” 0n May 29th, not holding my breath they’ll list the event as an event. The open house seeks feedback on the field tests of new parking meter technology. First, a little help with some of the jargon you’ll hear.

“Multi-space parking meters” includes two very different types: pay-per-space and pay-and-display. With the former each parking space is assigned a number for you to use when paying at a pay station, the latter you pay at a pay station but get a receipt to stick inside your car window to show payment, spaces aren’t formally designated. The pay-and-display form of multi-space parking meters aren’t being tested in St. Louis. Everyone should be familiar with single space meters.

A flaw recently occurred to me in the design of the pilot project to study two types of technology (Single space meters & Pay-per-space/multi-space stations) from four vendors. Two areas areas of the city were selected to try these: the Central West End (CWE) and Downtown. The problem is someone decided to test both vendors with single space meters in the CWE and two out of three pay-per-space stations downtown.  One vendor, Xerox, being tested at Euclid & Laclede, has both single space meters & pay-per-space stations. To control for different conditions, users, etc. one of each type of technology should’ve been placed in each neighborhood, no single space meters are being tested downtown.

Single space meter being tested on Laclede
Single space meter being tested on Laclede accepts credit cards & mobile payments…coins too

The most recent numbers compares the four vendors to each other, with no reference to historical revenues for the test areas with the current meters. Is one higher because of the technology or because that spot is busier?

The latest numbers on the four vendors, distributed earlier this month at the Parking Commission meeting. Received vis a Missouri Sunshine Law request. Click image to view 2-page PDF  on Scribd.com
The latest numbers on the four vendors, distributed earlier this month at the Parking Commission meeting. Received vis a Missouri Sunshine Law request. Click image to view 2-page PDF on Scribd.com

As you can see above payment by coin (red) is larger than credit card (blue), with mobile payments barely registering. It’s expected after a system is selected that credit card and mobile payments will make up the bulk of the revenue. None accept bills.

Thankfully the Treasurer’s Office realized they need parking professionals to guide the city into the future…at least with respect to parking, they recently announced a firm to act as a consultant:

Desman Associates responded to a request for proposal (RFP) to hire a consultant to evaluate the City’s current on and off-street parking programs and to recommend improvements to the parking system. Desman Associates has conducted several parking studies in St. Louis, including studies for Ballpark Village, the Peabody Opera House, Grand Center, and Washington University.

“The parking study will be used to reform the current parking system and offer guidance as we look to implement new parking technology and modernize an outdated system,” said Tishaura O. Jones, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis. “We look forward to working with Desman Associates to create a first class parking operation for the City.”

Desman Associates is based in New York:

DESMAN Associates, is a professional corporation with more than 100 professional and technical personnel. The firm is a leading national specialist in transportation improvements and the planning, design and construction administration of functionally efficient, attractive and cost effective parking facilities. Since the firm’s inception in 1973, DESMAN has served public, private and institutional Clients and Owners throughout the U.S. and abroad and has provided planning, design, and restoration services for over 1,500 parking projects.

DESMAN operates from the nine following office locations:

  • New York*
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Hartford
  • Boston
  • Denver
  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Pittsburgh

DESMAN Associates is also recognized as a certified Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE) by many states, municipalities and other government and public agencies that may help clients meet or exceed their affirmative action goals and policies.

* Corporate office

I’m not sure if representatives from Desman Associates will be at the open house tonight, I’ll be there (Central Library) to meet the four vendors at 6pm and see the presentation at 7pm. Remember, when Tishaura Jones ran for the office in 2012 she said repeatedly she didn’t want to be a “parking czar.”

UPDATED 6/25/2014 @ 7:30am, after talking with teams last night:

  • The Xerox team is advocating a mixed approach for St. Louis with some multi-space stations and some single space, depending on the conditions. Block faces with few spaces the single space meters are more cost-effective to install. Other teams indicated they also advocate using both even though they’re only testing one type.
  • In cities where a mobile app can be used everywhere the use rate ranges from 10-50%, right now so few meters accept mobile payments few have bothered to set up accounts.
  • I was highly impressed by all four teams, the two mobile companies, and the town hall event.Kudos!

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Should the St. Louis Treasurer Suspend Parking Meter Enforcement During Downtown Events?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The following letter to the editor ran recently in the Post-Dispatch:

My wife, who is a cancer survivor, attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure walk on Saturday. We parked on the street at 17th and Locust to join the event. No one paid the meter;  we were the last space on the block, so we assumed the city waived parking fees.

Two hours later, we arrived back at the car and saw every car was ticketed. The city and Mayor Slay should be ashamed! Attila the Hun had better PR techniques. When 30,000-plus people come to downtown for such a worthwhile event, all meters in the area should be free for the morning hours.

Tom Carpenter  •  Shiloh

This prompted a response from Treasurer Tishaura Jones:

The St. Louis City treasurer issued a statement on Tuesday addressing parking meter enforcement during Saturday’s Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure. Some people were ticketed during the race, and this is the first year parking meters were enforced since the office decided in July to start charging for metered parking on Saturdays.

Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones defended the meter enforcement, praising the race and the other events held downtown, and pointing out that if they offered free metered parking for one event they would have to offer it to everyone. (stltoday)

The poll this week asks if you think the St. Louis treasurer should suspend parking meter enforcement during downtown events. Parking meters are enforced Monday-Saturday, no charge on Sunday. The poll is in the right sidebar.

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