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From Dated to State of the Art: 100 North Broadway

January 18, 2023 Downtown, Economy, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on From Dated to State of the Art: 100 North Broadway

Buildings are expensive to construct, so frequently renovation makes more sense than razing & replacing. If the structure is sound changing the finishes, fenestration (windows & doors), technology, etc is cost-effective and green. The office tower at 100 North Broadway is a good example. Most was good, very little was bad — but the bad was so prominent it overshadowed the positives. I posted about this building in 2015, suggesting the 2-story section get reimagined. The building’s owner thanked me for my interest.

The owner hired longtime tenant Trivers Architects to sketch up some ideas. Not for them, but to help sell the building. In February 2020 a new local owner took possession of the building. Then the pandemic hit, office employees worked from home. Ouch! What was initially going to be a simple interior update turned into a major project — kudos to the owner & investors for seeing the big picture, playing the long game.

building
The renovated pavilion & plaza of 100 N. Broadway in November 2022
The original greenhouse design was well past its prime.

Granted, the former branch bank inside was even more horrendous.

Looking toward the building lobby, July 2015
Inside looking East along the South atrium/greenhouse wall we can see those inward points

The timing at the beginning was actually a good thing. The owner & architects from Trivers were able to rethink amenities for attracting tenants. The former bank offices on the 2nd floor became a common areas and high-tech conference rooms. Let’s take a look.

First up, a monumental staircase. The bank tenant didn’t want everyone going to their offices instead of tellers, but now an inviting stair makes sense. Elevators on the east & west sides were also replaced.
A huge preserved moss wall brings color to the new lobby, adds natural warmth.
Again, this isn’t a high-maintenance living wall — it’s the largest preserved moss wall in the region. Note the seating below.
A view of the lobby from the 2nd floor.
Yes, under the stair is a small meeting space enclosed by orange glass.
The other side is space for eating. behind me is a cafe space, with room for a commercial kitchen including exterior exhaust.
At the top of the monumental stair is a kitchen space, for tenant events.
Just off that kitchen is an outdoor space. A group from one tenant was gathered when I was there.
The outdoor space has great views.
Back on the main floor, the security/reception ares is between the lobby and elevators.
This is significantly larger than before, the elevators are more visible.
These efforts helped attract McCormack-Baron when their lease was up in the old Laclede Gas building. Their new space is on several floors. Trivers also designed their offices.
Outside the 2-story part was clad in horizontally ribbed terra cotta, a nice contrast to the metal of the tower. Both the east & west plazas were totally redone so the roof of the underground parking garage could be resealed. The east entrance now has this ramp rather than just steps.

The only criticism I have is one that’s easily corrected. The only bicycle parking is for tenants, in the garage — none for a guest. bike rack on each side would solve this.

As a person who saw the before and envisioned how it could be I’m so glad the new owner, investors, architects, consultants, and contractors made something happen. As a former designer I loved seeing tired buildings rethought around current requirements, materials, technology, esthetics. For additional building information see Loopnet, for project info see Trivers Architects.

— Steve
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St. Louis urban planning, policy, and politics @ UrbanReviewSTL since October 31, 2004. For additional content please consider following on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and/or Twitter.

 

Newish Book — ‘ Recast Your City How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing’ by Ilana Preuss

December 11, 2021 Books, Downtown, Economy, Featured Comments Off on Newish Book — ‘ Recast Your City How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing’ by Ilana Preuss

It’s possibly human nature that causes us to look for a magical silver bullet to fix our cities, towns, and villages. Examples might include a sports team, corporate headquarters, even a monorail.  Lasting success is never that easy, it takes more effort.

Too many U.S. cities and towns have been focused on a model of economic development that relies on recruiting one big company (such as Amazon), a single industry (usually in technology), or pursuing other narrow or short-term fixes that are inequitable and unsustainable. Some cities and towns were changing, even before the historic retail collapse brought on by COVID-19. They started to shift to a new economic model that works with the community to invest in place in an inclusive and thoughtful way, with short-term wins that build momentum for long-term growth. A secret ingredient to this successful model is small-scale manufacturing.

In Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing, community development expert Ilana Preuss explains how local leaders can revitalize their downtowns or neighborhood main streets by bringing in and supporting small-scale manufacturing. Small-scale manufacturing businesses help create thriving places, with local business ownership opportunities and well-paying jobs that other business types can’t fulfill.

Preuss draws from her experience working with local governments, large and small and illuminates her recommendations with real-world examples. She details her five-step method for recasting your city using small-scale manufacturing: (1) light the spark (assess what you can build on and establish goals); (2) find and connect (get out of your comfort zone and find connectors outside of your usual circles); (3) interview (talk to people and build trust); (4) analyze (look for patterns and gaps as well as what has not been said); and (5) act (identify short-term actions to help build long-term change). This work is difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, but necessary and critical for success. Preuss supports and inspires change by drawing from her work in cities from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Columbia, Missouri, to Fremont, California.

In Recast Your City, Preuss shows how communities across the country can build strong local businesses through small-scale manufacturing, reinvest in their downtowns, and create inclusive economic opportunity. Preuss provides tools that local leaders in government, business, and real estate as well as entrepreneurs and advocates in every community can use. (Island Press)

St. Louis still has manufacturing downtown, TUMS is the example that comes to my mind. We certainly could use more downtown and throughout the region.

This newish book has a video trailer featuring the author!

As usual, I like to use the contents to show how the author makes her case:

Chapter 1: What it Means to Recast Your City
Chapter 2: Why We Need a New Economic Development Model
Chapter 3: A Stronger Economic Development Model with Small-Scale Manufacturing
Chapter 4: Five Steps to Recast Your City
Chapter 5: Step 1: Light the Spark
Chapter 6: Step 2: Find and Connect with New People
Chapter 7: Step 3: Start the Conversation and Get Great Information from Your Interviews
Chapter 8: Step 4: Analyze the Input and Understand What it All Means
Chapter 9: Step 5: Be Impatient and Act Now

As Preuss said in the video, this book is for local leaders that want to change the economic outlook where they live.  Any of you might be the local leader to make it happen here.

You can get a link to download the first chapter emailed to you here.

Steve Patterson

 

It’s Opening Day! No, Not Baseball

May 18, 2020 Economy, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on It’s Opening Day! No, Not Baseball

Source: Food & Drug Administration

Every year opening day in the St. Louis region is a big deal, Cardinals baseball fans celebrate every year. But baseball isn’t starting today — some businesses in St. Louis City & County are being permitted to reopen, with restrictions. Not all businesses that can open, will open. Others that want to reopen aren’t yet permitted to do so, such as gyms.

Many will still be celebrating today. In contrast, others think reopening businesses now is a huge mistake. As businesses reopen today it’ll be impossible to enforce new reduced occupancy and other rules.

As someone that hasn’t been able to work for over a decade I understand getting bored at home, money running out, etc. I wanted to get back to normal, but I had to accept that my stroke meant I had to adjust to a new normal. This took me over two years.

The normal that everyone had at the start of 2020 will not be returning. Ever. Anyone who thinks otherwise will struggle to adapt.

This is not a democratic hoax, Coronavirus won’t just “disappear”. In fact, it may “never go away”.  A mass-produced vaccine won’t be ready to distribute this year, that won’t happen until at least the 2nd quarter of 2021. It could well take more than a year from now.  When it does arrive we don’t know if it’ll be free.

In the meantime we’re going to see repeated waves of infections, deaths will continue to escalate. Our economy will be stopped again with each wave. Until at least 70% of the population is vaccinated social  distancing, face masks, etc need to continue — 2021 or after.

Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, but I don’t think I need to worry about that happening.

— Steve Patterson

 

Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever

September 4, 2019 Economy, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever

One of the many cute dogs in Monday’s Labor Day Parade

The few at the top have been using the masses to pass laws designed to diminish unions — increasing their profits. As income inequality gets worse, labor unions are needed more than ever.

Collective bargaining is an important force in reducing inequality and ensuring that low- and middle-wage workers are given a fair return on their work. As productivity has risen over the last several decades, wages have remained flat for the majority of working people, while skyrocketing for those at the top. Union decline can explain one-third of the rise in wage inequality among men and one-fifth of the rise in wage inequality among women from 1973 to 2007. Among men, the erosion of collective bargaining has been the largest single factor driving a wedge between the middle class and the top 1 percent.

Working people in unions use their power in numbers to secure a fairer share of the income they create. On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector. But importantly, collective bargaining also raise wages for nonunion workers—as an economic sector becomes more unionized, nonunion employers pay more to retain qualified workers, and norms of higher pay and better conditions become standard. If union density had remained at its 1979 level, weekly wages of nonunion men in the private sector would be 5 percent higher today. (Economic Policy Institute)

Given the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll it’s clear a majority of participants agree.with me.

Q: Agree or disagree: Labor unions are no longer necessary because laws protect worker’s health & safety.

  • Strongly agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.27%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Strongly disagree: 29 [65.91%]
  • Unsure/No Answer:  0 [0%]

As usual, about 20% take the conservative viewpoint.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should We Invest In Expansion of Our Convention Center Complex?

October 7, 2018 Downtown, Economy, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should We Invest In Expansion of Our Convention Center Complex?

Please vote below

Last week a plan to expand our convention center, aka America’s Center, was unveiled by Convention & Visitors Commission President Kitty Ratcliffe, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger:

The expansion comes as some downtown restaurateurs and hoteliers complain that their businesses have taken a hit from fewer conventions. The CVC said last month that hotel room night bookings associated with America’s Center were down 30 percent year-to-date, to 230,554 from 327,578 in 2017.

Several big conventions, such as the O’Reilly Auto Parts and FIRST Robotics, did not return this year because they had outgrown America’s Center’s facilities. Ratcliffe said that some national associations, which book several years in advance, had removed St. Louis from consideration after the unrest that began in Ferguson in 2014, and that those decisions were starting to have an effect this year.

Ratcliffe has long argued that upgraded facilities were needed to compete for conventions in cities such as Nashville, Tenn., and Indianapolis, which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to revamp their tourism infrastructure. She said getting the two regional leaders on board was key to the project’s success. (Post-Dispatch)

Here’s a 3-minute promotional video:

However, not everyone is on board with the expansion. Are you?

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. On Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts and the non-scientific results.

— Steve Patterson

 

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