Two Buildings, One Small Lot

 

 In the past you’d see multiple buildings on a single lot. Usually this was house and outhouse, stable, or garage. Large fancy homes might have servant quarters over the stable/garage — such was the case at the Campbell House. In more modest neighborhoods you might see two houses or a …

Renovated Kiener Plaza Reopened 5 Years Ago Today

 

 Five years ago the trees at the renovated Kiener Plaza looked so new, provided no shade. Now they’ve matured nicely. Saturday we spent 2+ hours sitting in the shade. It’s nice seeing Kiener Plaza be a space that can hold thousands of people and still function. Now if only we …

Rethinking 811 North 9th Street (Holiday Inn Express)

 

 I recently posted about a 1960s hotel in the Downtown West neighborhood that no longer worked (see Rethinking 2211 Market Street (Pear Tree Inn). Today is a similar look at an early 1980s hotel the no longer works: The Radisson/Ramada/Holiday Inn at 811 North 9th Street. It is across 9th …

Vacant Land Near Centene Stadium Awaits New Construction

 

 Centene Stadium (St. Louis) – Wikipedia, the soccer stadium finishing up construction now, is reshaping the Downtown West neighborhood.   This got me thinking about a vacant parcel just south of the stadium, next to the former YMCA that became a Drury Hotel in the 1980s. The official address is …

Recent Articles:

New Book — ‘Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Successful Green Infrastructure Networks’ by Sandra L. Albro

July 19, 2019 Books, Featured Comments Off on New Book — ‘Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Successful Green Infrastructure Networks’ by Sandra L. Albro
 

A new book I received earlier this year is about something St. Louis has in abundance — vacant lots.

Vacant lots, so often seen as neighborhood blight, have the potential to be a key element of community revitalization. As manufacturing cities reinvent themselves after decades of lost jobs and population, abundant vacant land resources and interest in green infrastructure are expanding opportunities for community and environmental resilience. Vacant to Vibrant explains how inexpensive green infrastructure projects can reduce stormwater runoff and pollution, and provide neighborhood amenities, especially in areas with little or no access to existing green space.

Sandra Albro offers practical insights through her experience leading the five-year Vacant to Vibrant project, which piloted the creation of green infrastructure networks in Gary, Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Buffalo, New York. Vacant to Vibrant provides a point of comparison among the three cities as they adapt old systems to new, green technology. An overview of the larger economic and social dynamics in play throughout the Rust Belt region establishes context for the promise of green infrastructure. Albro then offers lessons learned from the Vacant to Vibrant project, including planning, design, community engagement, implementation, and maintenance successes and challenges. An appendix shows designs and plans that can be adapted to small vacant lots.

Landscape architects and other professionals whose work involves urban greening will learn new approaches for creating infrastructure networks and facilitating more equitable access to green space. (Island Press)

Here are the 6 chapters:

  1. Green Stormwater Infrastructure on Vacant Lots
  2. City Dynamics that Shape Vacant Land Use
  3. Vacant to Vibrant Planning
  4. Vacant to Vibrant Implementation
  5. Sustaining Urban Greening Projects
  6. Scaling Up Networks of Small Green Infrastructure

You can read an extensive preview of Vacant to Vibrant at Google Books.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Union Station Made Right Decision To Ditch Failed Retail Mall

July 17, 2019 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Readers: Union Station Made Right Decision To Ditch Failed Retail Mall
 

St. Louis Union Station, built in 1894, has an interesting history.

By the last decade of the 19th century St. Louis found itself in an increasingly important role as “The Gateway To The West” since it lay at the conjunction of the mighty Missouri and Mississippi rivers.  The Transcontinental Railroad had been finished just over 20 years prior and new lines were still being built across the Frontier.  In addition, many eastern and western trunk lines, or their future subsidiaries, terminated at the city such as the Iron Mountain & Southern (Missouri Pacific); Wabash; Ohio & Mississippi (Baltimore & Ohio), Louisville & Nashville; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis (the “Big Four” controlled by the New York Central); St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco); Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy); New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road); and Pennsylvania.  Following the Civil War, a growing St. Louis expanded to the point that it boasted the nation’s fourth largest metropolitan region behind only New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. (American Rails)

This was St. Louis’ second Union Station, the first was quickly outgrown. Additional tracks were added on the west side of the shed within the first decade — to accommodate increased passengers for the 1904 World’s Fair. The train was how people got from city to city at the time.

The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background
Grand Hall in St. Louis Union Station, 2010

Passenger volume peaked in the 1940s, dropping off steadily after that as improved cars, highways, and air travel shifted how people got from city to city. St. Louis Union Station closed completely in 1978, the vacant station was then used in filming scenes from the post-apocalyptic (1997) film Escape From New York (1981).

The month I began my first semester of college, studying architecture, Union Station reopened as a “festival marketplace.” That was a fancy way of saying a speciality mall without a department store anchor(s). Though the retail mall was only a portion of the space under the massive train shed, that was a big part of the image.  At the time it was hailed as a way to reuse large historic properties.

Union Station had only been reopened for 5 years when I moved here in August 1990. I remember my excitement finally getting to experience what I’d only read about in college. The original retail mix was good — lots of well-known stores. One of my favorites was Kansas City-based Function Junction — I still have a tray purchased there in November 1990.

Also in 1985 a huge mall opened in the main Central Business District — connecting two large department stores. St. Louis Union Station’s retail mall was very different from the large St. Louis Centre mall. Like many other malls across the country, both failed. Prime tenants gave way to tourist t-shirt shops, eventually there were more vacancies than shops.

Vacant retail spaces in the midway, 2011

St. Louis Union Station’s current owners bought the property after the retail mall was on life support, they made the correct decision to pull the plug.  Not sure if the coming aquarium, Ferris wheel, and other attractions will be sustainable — but I appreciate their bold decisions.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll a majority agreed dumping the retail mall was the right decision.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis Union Station should’ve updated the retail mall & food court rather than switch to an aquarium.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [1.75%]
  • Agree: 3 [5.26%]
  • Somewhat agree: 6 [10.53%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 2 [3.51%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [5.26%]
  • Disagree: 15 [26.32%]
  • Strongly disagree: 27 [47.37%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

I personally look forward to riding the Ferris wheel on a clear day so I can enjoy the views and take hundreds of photos.

— Steve Patterson

Neighborhood Street Lights Back On 24/7

July 15, 2019 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Neighborhood Street Lights Back On 24/7
 

In April I posted how My Neighborhood’s Street Lights Are Always On, notifying the Citizens Service Bureau (CSB) via Twitter.  It was Service ID 1206799.

I posted a follow up a month later once CSB clued me in on the issue — Neighborhood Streetlights Still On Because Electrical Station Is Blocked.  I figured it shouldn’t the long for Streets to move the barrier so Lighting could activate the dusk to down timer(s).

Looking west on Cole from 7th, the lights all the way down at least to 9th are on

In the meantime I looked back through old Google Streetview images and found the lights were as early as August 2018, but not a year earlier. So all we know is the lights have been on 24/7 since sometime after August 2017.

Finally on the afternoon of June 25 I noticed the street lights were off.  I was so thrilled I shared on Facebook.

?In April I reported to the city how the streetlights in the Columbus Square neighborhood were on 24/7. They’d been on…

Posted by UrbanReview ST LOUIS on Tuesday, June 25, 2019

And yes, they came on at night just like they’re supposed to. I was very glad I’d help correct a highly wasteful situation!

However, my joy only lasted a week and a half. On July 6th the lights were back on 24/7 again.

A street light on our street was back on the afternoon of July 6, 2019

What I still don’t know is the location of the subterranean switches for the entire neighborhood. I also don’t know what kind of timer controls street lights for an entire neighborhood.

I just want the city to replace the burned out lights and then get them working correctly for more than a week and a half.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Union Station Have Updated The Retail Mall & Food Court Rather Than Gut Them For An Aquarium?

July 14, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Union Station Have Updated The Retail Mall & Food Court Rather Than Gut Them For An Aquarium?
 
Please vote below

As you probably know the retail mall under the old train shed at St  Louis Union Station is gone. The former retail/food court space is being converted to an aquarium. The plan for the aquarium was announced almost three years ago.

The other day I overheard a couple of people saying how they missed the mall & movie theater at Union Station. Out of curiosity I want to see what you think.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday morning I’ll have the non-scientific results and my thoughts on the aquarium, Ferris wheel, and other aspects of Union Station’s post-mall future.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 13 of 2019-2020 Session

July 12, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 13 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 13th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 12.

Today’s agenda includes six (6) new bills:

  • B.B.#89 – J. Boyd – An Ordinance adopting the 2018 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, with amendments; and containing a penalty clause, severability clause, savings clause, and emergency clause.
  • B.B. #90 – Coatar – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on July 2, 2019, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map, from the dual zoning of “D” Multiple-Family Dwelling District and “G” Local Commercial and Office District to the “D” Multiple-Family Dwelling District on the newly platted Lot B (the parcel that abuts the existing alley) and the “H” Area Commercial District on the newly platted Lot A (the parcel that will abut both Geyer and Menard Avenues), in City Block 396 (1027 Geyer Avenue), so as to include the described parcel of land in City Block 396; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #91 – Vaccaro – An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of January and Tholozan regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on January at Tholozan and regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Tholozan at January, and containing an emergency clause
  • B.B. #92 – Vacarro – An Ordinance establishing a three-way stop site at the intersection of Tholozan and Sulphur regulating all traffic traveling northbound Sulphur at Tholozan and regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Tholozan at Sulphur, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #93 – Spencer – An ordinance directing the City of St. Louis to apply for grant monies available to airport sponsors under Title 49 U.S. Code §47134 for predevelopment planning costs relating to the preparation of an application or proposed application for the privatization of a public airport pursuant to the FFA Airport Investment Partnership Program, and to direct any monies resulting to the City from said application to obtaining and paying for the services of professional consultants and access to knowledge resources to inform and advise the Board of Aldermen regarding the Airport Investment Partnership Program and the City’s efforts related thereto.
  • B.B. #94 – Muhammad/Vaccaro – An ordinance setting forth regulations for the use of surveillance technology by the City; requiring surveillance technology usage rules, regulations and guidelines be established and approved by the Board of Aldermen before any such surveillance technology may be used and plans may be put into practice; and containing a severability clause and emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

Today is their last full meeting before summer break, the next will be Friday September 13, 2019.

— Steve Patterson

Advertisement



[custom-facebook-feed]

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe