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Accessibility Error at Yorkshire Village Shopping Center Addressed

Back on July I posted about a problem accessing Yorkshire Village Shopping Center, recently completed construction had created a new obstacle! I contacted the property owner about the problem, we even met at the site once.

A new curb!?!
July 2014: a new curb kept the path between buildings from being accessible. I don’t know how stuff like this gets built more than two decades after the ADA, but it does all too often
The developer fixed the problem on October 23rd, I visited again on the 31st.
The developer fixed the problem on October 23rd, I visited again on the 31st.
Looking the other way, toward the new CVS
Looking the other way, toward the new CVS

It’s a small change, but was much more expensive after the fact than if it had been done correctly in the first place. Their architect/engineer still insists it was compliant the way it was first built, but it wasn’t. The fact the building was existing is irrelevant:

Because barrier removal under the ADA is a continuing obligation, an accessible route may need to be provided at a later date, if a route for the general public develops or is created, and the provision of an accessible route is readily achievable. For instance, if a new bus stop is established near a site, an accessible route may have to be provided if pedestrians commonly walk between the new bus stop and the entrance to the facility. Similarly, if a sidewalk or walkway is provided between the facility and the new bus stop, an accessible route may be required. (Dept of Justice)

I’ve taken readings of the ramp, based on the slope it needs handrails on both sides to be fully compliant with ADA guidelines. If it weren’t as steep handrails wouldn’t be necessary.

Thanks to Matthew Stack of Koch Development for recognizing the problem and taking corrective action.

— Steve Patterson

 

Returned To The City: Mercedes-Benz Dealership

October 30, 2014 Featured, Retail, STL Region 9 Comments

After nearly a two decade absence (see Last Downtown St. Louis Auto Dealership Closed in 1995), a Mercedes-Benz dealership is once again located within the City of St. Louis.  Two more exist in the region, one in St. Louis County and one in St. Charles County. None in the Metro East.

Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis opened recently at Hampton Ave. & Clayton Ave., I stopped by for a visit earlier this month.

The new Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis at Hampton & Clayton
The new Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis at Hampton & Clayton

Before we take a closer look at the finished dealership, we need to revisit the before and during.

KTVI's studios previously occupied the site. October 2012
KTVI’s studios previously occupied the site, not remotely urban. October 2012 photo
By July 2013 the old KTVI building had been razed, the site fenced. August 2013 photo
By July 2013 the old KTVI building had been razed, the site fenced. August 2013 photo
The steel structure for the main showroom going up in February 2014
The steel structure for the main showroom going up in February 2014
View from Hampton
View looking north along Hampton
View looking east along Clayton
View looking east along Clayton
View from near the east-facing showroom entrance, looking down the accessible route to the Clayton Ave public sidewalk
View from near the east-facing showroom entrance, looking down the accessible route to the Clayton Ave public sidewalk. See Mini of St. Louis, it is possible to comply in a graceful way!
Inside the showroom
Inside the showroom
Southern view of dealership. Service work is done in the level below the showroom. Customers drop off their cars on the main level though...
Southern view of dealership along Berthold Ave. Service work is done in the level below the showroom. Customers drop off their cars on the main level though.
Customers dropping off or picking up their Mercedes-Benz do so up on the main level, but visiting the parts department requires a short flight of stairs that lack handrails. The grade change on Berthed Ave would've permitted an accessible entry.
Customers dropping off or picking up their Mercedes-Benz do so up on the main level, but visiting the parts department requires a short flight of stairs that lack handrails. The grade change on Berthed Ave would’ve permitted an accessible entry.

For nearly 20 years this dealership, then called TriStar Imports, was located in suburban Ellisville at 16360 Truman Rd Ellisville, Missouri 63011.  Their old location is listed for $4.5 million. The far west county demographics just weren’t what they hoped they’d be.

Welcome back!

— Steve Patterson

 

Perfect Location For Centene’s New Ferguson Claims Center

Earlier this week one local company stepped up to invest in Ferguson:

Centene Corp. has selected Ferguson, the site of unrest for more than three weeks following the police shooting of Michael Brown, as the location for a new claims processing facility, with plans to bring up to 200 jobs to the city. The unrest following Brown’s death prompted Centene to select the city for the expansion. (stltoday)

This is potentially great news! I say potentially because most major call centers fit perfectly in an exurban office park; generic building sounded by massive surface parking lots, all fenced in. Ferguson needs these jobs, but it needs them in an engaged environment. Where? What would it look like? The where is quite simple: Emerson owns the perfect site on the SW corner of W. Florissant & Ferguson Ave., 9001 W. Florissant Ave.

This corner is 7+ acres
This corner is 7+ acres
Looking north from an adjacent Ameren substation
Looking north from an adjacent Ameren substation, the Ferguson Market is in the background
Looking north from in front of the Ameren substation
Looking north from in front of the Ameren substation
Looking south from Ferguson Ave
Looking south from Ferguson Ave
Map of the site consisting of two parcels, both owned by Emerson
Map of the site consisting of two parcels, both owned by Emerson, right of the purple line is Jennings

I’m not sure why Emerson bought this property, likely to raze the structure that was on the site as of 1971. Having a neighbor like Centene could be beneficial to Emerson, more workers means more lunch places. Hopefully Emerson would be willing to sell to Centene, or partner on a project to develop the site. And build what?

What they shouldn't build is a building surrounded by parking
What they shouldn’t build is a building in the center surrounded by parking
Instead, the building should be pushed out to the corner so pedestrians can easily reach the entrances.
Instead, the building should be pushed out to the corner so pedestrians can easily reach the entrance(s).

Ideally the building would be at least two floors, with the first floor for retail. I’d like to see a St. Louis Bread Co (aka Panera*) or Chronicle Coffee on the corner. This would provide additional jobs and more places for these 200 employees and those who work in the area to get breakfast, lunch & dinner. Nearby locally-owned places like Ferguson Burger Bar & More would also benefit. Parking can be located behind the building. If Centene doesn’t need this much space the site could be planned for more than one building facing W. Florissant.  * Disclosure: I have a handful of Panera stock

If Ameren built a new substation at the back corner, an auto entrance could be created at the traffic signal at Solway Ave.

A project at this corner could be a great way to implement East West Gateway’s Great Street master plan for W. Florissant!

— Steve Patterson

 

Downtown’s Grocery Store Turns Five Today

August 11, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Retail Comments Off on Downtown’s Grocery Store Turns Five Today

Culinaria, the grocery store downtown, is five years old today. Downtown’s previous grocery store, City Grocers, was open almost five years before Culinaria opened.

Schnucks family members cutting the ribbon on August 11, 2009
Schnucks family members cutting the ribbon on August 11, 2009

A decade of grocery shopping has made a huge difference in downtown! City Grocers paved the way for Culinaria.

— Steve Patterson

 

Unfinished Business

There’s a building on West Florissant Ave, across from the entrance to Calvary Cemetary, that has intrigued me for years. A former gas station with a large unfinished 2-story addition, city records show the original was built in 1971 but no indication when the addition was started.

5250 W. Florissant back in late April
5250 W. Florissant back in late April 2014, click image for map link
A few days ago
A few days ago

It’s always looked vacant to me, but the other day I noticed someone entering or exiting the building as I passed by on the #74 MetroBus. The building is owned by a husband & wife, both lawyers, they’re also part of the ownership of the package liquor store inside. The property was previously part of the 1st ward, but became part of the 3rd ward after the last redistricting. I looked at aerial images on HistoricAerials.com, the addition existed in 1998 — 16 years ago. I don’t recall a time before the addition, I moved to St. Louis in 1990. I can’t believe how long this has been like this, how much could it cost to put some vinyl siding over the plywood sheathing? — Steve Patterson

 

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