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Readers Impressed With St. Louis’ New Riverfront

July 28, 2016 Planning & Design Comments Off on Readers Impressed With St. Louis’ New Riverfront

The biggest group of readers in the latest non-scientfc Sunday Poll were “somewhat impressed” with the remake of Lenore K Sullivan Blvd.

Q: Impression of St. Louis’ new riverfront?

  • Very impressed 8 [15.09%]
  • Impressed 9 [16.98%]
  • Somewhat impressed 15 [28.3%]
  • Neither impressed or unimpressed 7 [13.21%]
  • Somewhat unimpressed 6 [11.32%]
  • Unimpressed 3 [5.66%]
  • Very unimpressed 0 [0%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 5 [9.43%]

More than 1 in 5 are neutral at this point.

The opening event didn’t work well for accessibility — they parked food trucks on the sidewalk. The end of the food lines were behind a curb. I too voted for “somewhat impressed” — I like the stainless steel railings and the raised streetlight bases.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

A Sneak Peak Inside The Lofts @ 625 North Euclid

July 25, 2016 Central West End, Featured, Planning & Design, Real Estate Comments Off on A Sneak Peak Inside The Lofts @ 625 North Euclid

Two weeks ago I visited a building I’d been in many times before. The 6-story warehouse on the SW corner of Euclid & Delmar, known as the Euclid Plaza Building for decades, is being transformed into high-end apartments known as 625 Lofts at Euclid. I got a personal tour from the developers. I previously posted about this project in May, see: Delmar & Euclid Building Will Soon Have New Use As Apartments.

The following are gone:

  • The 70s/80s dated 2-story center lobby
  • Former offices, hallways, bathrooms, etc
  • The fixed windows
  • Freight elevator in SW corner of the building

The following were retained:

  • Three passenger elevators
  • Medicine Shoppe pharmacy

Three of five floors are finished, residents have begun moving in. We took a look at the display units, plus a couple units on a floor still being completed.

I was impressed with the quality/amount of cabinets, the finishes & appliances.
I was impressed with the quality/amount of cabinets, the finishes & appliances.
Units in the SW corner feature kitchens in the former freight elevator shaft, with exposed brick walls above the cabinets. The glass door + transom to the balcony wasn't installed yet.
Units in the SW corner feature kitchens in the former freight elevator shaft, with exposed brick walls above the cabinets. The glass door + transom to the balcony wasn’t installed yet.

Each unit is unique compared to others on the same floor. One bathroom featured a rain shower head, for example. Due to construction, we didn’t get up to the roof. When finished, it’ll be fully accessible, but it wasn’t yet when I visited. Interior parking is wisely unbundled — you pay extra if you need a parking space.

The developers say they’ve had no problems leasing the units, anticipate full occupancy despite rents on the high side. I think it’s important for cities to offer a variety of housing options — at a variety of price points. Purchase & rental.

They leased the rough surface parking lot to the East during construction, hopefully the Roberts brothers will develop it or sell to someone who will.
They leased the rough surface parking lot to the East during construction, hopefully the Roberts brothers will develop it or sell to someone who will.
625 N Euclid, on the left, with 6 floors, is about the same massing as the 8-story building to the North.
625 N Euclid, on the left, with 6 floors, is about the same massing as the 8-story building to the North.

After they get all the 82 residential units finished and occupied they’ll push for commercial tenants facing Euclid. Euclid & Delmar is a corner to watch. If you’re in the market for a nice apartment check out their website and visit the leasing office.

— Steve Patterson

 

Reuse Potential If The USPS Ever Moved Processing Out Of St. Louis’ Main Post Office

A week ago I posted some Historical Background on St. Louis’ Main Post Office, today I want to talk about the current building and options should the USPS ever decide to move processing to a newer, larger, facility. I have no idea if such a move is even being considered — this is a hypothetical exercise.

Let’s start in front and walk around…

The Main Post Office at 1720 Market opened in 1937
The Main Post Office at 1720 Market opened in 1937
In the 1970s 17th Street from Clark to Market was vacated
In the 1970s 17th Street from Clark to Market was vacated
On Walnut looking West at 16th Street side of huge post office addition
On Walnut looking West at 16th Street side of huge post office addition
Looking North on 16th, the post office addition on the left and Kiel parking garage on the right
Looking North on 16th, the post office addition on the left and Kiel parking garage on the right
The Southeast corner
The Southeast corner
Looking West on Clark from 16th
Looking West on Clark from 16th
Truck area on the South side, facing Clark
Truck area on the South side, facing Clark
Older brick building on Clark
Older brick building on Clark
Looking North from 18th & Clark. The corner building isn't attached to the the main building
Looking North from 18th & Clark. The corner building isn’t attached to the the main building in the background
The Clark building was started in 1939, two years after the main post office opened
The Clark building was started in 1939, two years after the main post office opened

Everything from 1909 is long gone, including 17th & Walnut streets.

I'd long assumed that Walnut existed between 16th-18th, but in 1909 it didn't exist between 16th-17th
I’d long assumed that Walnut existed between 16th-18th, but in 1909 it didn’t exist between 16th-17th

There are a couple of ways to go with the post office, keep the 1070s addition or remove it. What could be another use for the windowless addition? One thought is an indoor grow from for produce or marijuana (medical or recreational). With LED lighting it might do well. The truck access could aid in distribution.

But I like the idea of razing every bit of the 1970s addition.

I picture a restaurant in the lobby of the post office, with outdoor seating on the raised terrace out front. Perhaps residential in the back portion?

Seventeenth & Walnut streets could both be continued through, 17th South to Clark and Walnut West to the new 17th. New buildings could front onto Market, 16th, 17th, and Clark. New building(s) facing Clark between 16th-17th and the 1939 building a 18th could begin to transform Clark. This could help with ideas I’ve stared before:

This could lead to filling in the wasteland of parking lots between the light rail line and the elevated I-64.  Again, this is hypothetical in case the USPS moves mail processing in the future.

— Steve Patterson

 

Our Sprawl Means Lots Of Grass To Cut, Room For Urban Food Production

During the recent Board of Aldermen session where the budget was passed, a lot of time was spent discussing the cost of grass cutting. The discussion mostly focused on city/LRA-owned lots. We’re fortunate enough to have many parks throughout the city, but we also have many useless patches of grass that require regular cutting for months.

One example:

Waiting for the #90 MetroBus on Hampton Ave. I watched as at least three Forestry Dept workers were edging, April 15, 2016
Waiting for the #90 MetroBus on Hampton Ave. I watched as at least three Forestry Dept workers were edging, April 15, 2016
Seven minutes later one was up along Hampton
Seven minutes later one was up along Hampton

Throughout the city we have areas like the one shown above, a result of decades of suburban planning. The state mows the grass in the highway right-of-ways, but the city must cut it elsewhere. Before moving downtown I’d see Forestry cutting grass at Minnesota & Delor — see Google Street View. No telling how many total acres areas like this we’re cutting.

For the vacant lots the city has a new mow to own program, but there’s no easy solution to these scattered strips throughout the city. Some might work for food production, crops or fruit trees. In 2014, Seattle harvested almost 14 tons of fruit from public trees.

St. Louisans will come up with a laundry list of reasons why public land can’t be used to produce food.

— Steve Patterson

 

17th Street Connects Locust, Olive, Pine, Chestnut, and Market to Washington Ave

For years now I’ve tried to end the week on a positive note, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to be optimistic about St. Louis’ future. Today is the final vote on BB64 to give public land to a developer, cutting off others from Washington Ave. The following image illustrates the potential problem.

Looking North toward Washington Ave from the WW corner of 17th & Locust St.
Looking North toward Washington Ave from the WW corner of 17th & Locust St.

Behind me is the massive Butler Brothers Warehouse, at left is 1701 Locust — both vacant and in need of rehab. At right is one of our two buildings at Printers Lofts, the 5,500 sq ft first floor is currently vacant and for sale. Cutting them off from access to Washington Ave will not help.

Looking North on 17th, a clear shot to Washington Ave if the old CPI dock was removed from the public right-of-way
Looking North on 17th, a clear shot to Washington Ave if the old CPI dock was removed from the public right-of-way
From the NE corner of 17th & Locust you can see the Post Office on the South side of Market.
From the NE corner of 17th & Locust you can see the Post Office on the South side of Market.

Voting yes on BB64 would be incredibly short-sighted sided.

— Steve Patterson

 

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