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Oh the “Mayor’s” Sense of Irony

Mayor Slay’s website has an interesting post tonight:

Urban-esque Planning

There are two stories in today’s newspaper that should be read together.

The first is a report that the owners of Mid-Rivers Mall in St. Charles County, built in 1987 as a suburban mall, are planning a multi-million dollar 120,000 square foot addition to revive the tired property, including “a 70,000 square foot village with the feel of an urban shopping and dining experience.”

The second is a report that Spinnaker Real Estate Partners and Pyramid Cos. have closed on the purchase of St. Louis Centre, built in 1985 and pummeled for years by suburban malls, in order to transform the former urban shopping mall into a new mix of condominiums, shops, offices, and restaurants.

It might be less expensive – and less ironic — to direct St. Peters residents with an appetite for contemporary urban living to downtown St. Louis

Perhaps the mayor’s staff can spend a little less time making fun of St. Charles County’s recent attempts at urbanism and focus some of that energy on our own development patterns?

– Steve


Dardenne Prairie In Talks with DPZ for New Town Center

The suburban St. Charles County municipality of Dardenne Prairie is talking with famed New Urbanist firm DPZ to help plan a town center for the mostly bedroom cummunity. Dardenne Prairie Alderman Scott Kolbe recently met with DPZ’s chief Andres Duany at their Miami offices. Kolbe and Mayor Pam Fogarty both need to convince the rest of their Board of Aldermen to fund the initial planning process as well as put out the RFP for a New Urbanist developer. Initial planning cost are expected to exceed $300,000.

Kolbe & Fogarty are focusing on roughly 80 acres at MO-N & Post Rd (map). Without a good town center plan in place this will land will likely develop like the rest of St. Charles County, lines of small to big boxes surrounded by lots of parking.

I’ve visited the area a couple of times as well as talked with Kolbe & Fogarty about their vision. Both seem to be seeking a mixed-use area that can serve as a center point for their municipality. Integrating the old Immaculate Conception church located at the main corner is an important part of their strategy for the area.

If Dardenne Prairie’s Board of Aldermen approves the expenditure the firm of DPZ, the same planners responsible for New Town at St. Charles, would help guide the process leading to an RFP seeking a developer for the project. Construction would be at least three years away at best.

While I don’t spend much time in St. Charles County I would like to see more municipalities take such issues as seriously as Dardenne Prairie’s elected officials. I’d like to see elected officials in the City of St. Louis to consider the old urbanism we’ve got as well as the New Urbanism that we need.

Kudos to Dardenne Prairie’s Scott Kolbe & Pam Fogarty for having the vision to push for such a project in an area where one would not normally think of having a town center. In the interest of full disclosure, I have previously solicited the Dardenne Prairie Board of Alderman to assist in their planning process as a paid consultant.

– Steve