By. Chris Stritzel
Yesterday evening, I had the chance to take my time and walk around the Euclid Corridor a corridor that has changed quite a lot over the past few years. The blend of new and old architecture, coupled with a small neighborhood vibe really creates a setting of a true urban oasis. The sound of cars isn't to prominent along this street unless you are close to Lindell or Kingshighway. The cars you hear are those passing through or busses, but not much else. People in this area seem to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the street life, like myself. Most of this traffic is foot and bike traffic. Everyone seems to want to take part in the "City Living" aspect of life that is common down here in Central West End. That aspect is what seems to be leading this regions explosive growth whether on Euclid, or elsewhere in the blocks surrounding Euclid.
Currently, the Euclid Corridor offers everyone who visits it spectacular dining options, 3 hotel options and even retail, a rarity in the city. Most importantly, it seems, there are plenty of options for living here. Whether it is a Multi-Million Dollar House or Penthouse or affordable apartments in condos in either new or old buildings, this neighborhood has it. There is some Office Space (which is growing) but not much. Some stores here are similar to those at Plaza Frontenac (these can be found on Maryland Plaza, just East of the Chase Park Plaza). Let's start at Lindell and work our way up to McPherson in this story.
This part of the street is where things change quite a lot from what it is elsewhere in the Central West End neighborhood. Its what divides Euclid into two sections, fully built out and room to grow. Most recently, this corner has received the 12 Floor, Citizen Park apartment project by OPUS which brings additional retail space and living space to the Central West End area. The Citizen Park Building completes the Mid-Highrise wall that consists of both new and old architecture and buildings. Overall, it completes the wall from Kingshighway to Taylor Avenue. On the other side of Euclid lies the St. Louis Public Library/Parking Garage Combo. This structure also includes some retail at its Northern end. A garage which is needed to serve the people visiting this shopping area since street parking is tight and even non existent in some places.
Moving around this mid section between Lindell and Maryland, a 2 floor, older building sits with space for retail at its base. It is fully occupied by cafes, restaurants and clothing stores. Basically, this completes the Lindell/Euclid area of the Corridor when heading North. Now for the town square portion of the region, Maryland Plaza and Euclid.
When you get to this area, the vibe changes dramatically. It becomes quiet, people are outside talking and walking and the fountain can be heard from Euclid. It is almost as if you have been transported to Country Club Plaza in Kansas City but without the Spanish looking Architecture or as much traffic. Instead, this region becomes a gem in itself. From Kingshighway, Maryland Plaza offers visitors a half neighborhood half retail section anchored by the massive Chase Park Plaza building. This street is home to some of the ritziest stores found in the City itself. Names like Straubs, 10DENZA, AG Jeans and Lululemon greets visitors along with the future Patagonia or Urban Outfitters at the Chase Park Plaza and the Existing SCAPE Fine Dining Restaurant.
Personally, I think Maryland Plaza should be closed between Kingshighway and Euclid to allow small concerts and fairs to take place on the Central West End's most valuable street. It will also protect visitors from speeding cars.
These names make Maryland Plaza a key feature in the ever-changing neighborhood that is quickly outpacing the middle class and heading straight for upper class. In Maryland Plaza, a fountain sits greeting everyone with a nice addition to the street which is bringing luxury shopping to the city. Continuing down the street, we meet up with Euclid again. All4 corners have a business on it that anchors this part of the corridor. One id the Drunken Fish, another is Coffee Cartel on the West. On the East, Culpeppers and Hamlins Whiskey House and Steak House. This corner also includes locally known Mexican restaurant, El Burro loco just to the North of the intersection in the base of the former Fairmont Hotel.
Across the Street, Sub Zero Vodka bar and 2 small retailers make their presence known along the avenue. These 3 are situated in the same long building that Culpeppers is in. And finally, before you get to the neighborhood portion of everything, a Bike Shop, Pet Groomer make their presence on the East side of Euclid while on the West Side, a Lebanese Restaurant and Golden Grocer add to the neighborhood vibe that has become common place down here. Following these, the rich neighborhoods begin that house famous streets such as Lenox Place, Hortense Place and Pershing Place. All 3 have very large and expensive homes on them. Now, we move up to McPherson and Euclid. A piece of Euclid that calms down but contributes to pushing the district closer to Delmar.
Basically, this corner wishes to be like its larger sibling to the South. McPherson has some art galleries and a modern furniture store on it while McPherson and Euclid include Pi Pizza and local book store, Left Bank Books. This area also boasts of the last big cluster of stores before getting to Delmar, just a few blocks up. While there are some more restaurants North of here, there isn't much else. This region also includes some parking for those who wish to explore this area to its fullest. Besides this, the tour of the built out area of North Euclid is completed. The walkable neighborhood has everything you need. Police Presence here is high and the neighborhood is strong in everyway.
Central West End houses a grocery store and even, one day, a pharmacy at the Citizen Park Building. From here, residence or people who wish to live here, have their choice of living in a house, condo (Chase Park Plaza) overlooking Forest Park, or apartment building that puts you in the heart of it all. density in this region is crucial to giving the neighborhoods urban feel. This urban feel helps make Euclid one that is stronger than most of the other streets elsewhere in the area. However, do not compare this to Delmar Loop. This street is more local than touristy, but, this is only half of the full Euclid Corridor. The Southern Section between Lindell and Parkview Place and rapidly changing and will define Central West End for years to come. Whether that change is for good or bad, ill lay out the facts in my next piece on Euclid and Central west End. Look for "Are we Overbuilding South Euclid" soon on this website or the "Euclid Corridor: St. Louis' Most Walkable District (South)". Wither should be coming by June 5th.
COMMENT BELOW AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THE STORY. SHOULD I DO MORE OF THESE INDIVIDUAL STREET TOURS? LET ME KNOW BELOW!
By. Chris Stritzel
An interesting plan is underway in North City where a technology school plans to expand big time. Ranken technological college plans to expand their North City campus to accommodate an additional 100-150 students when the expansion opens in Late Summer early Fall 2018. Just in time for the new 2018-2019 school year. This new construction will also be a key piece in the future of North City from going from a large asset and wasteland to a land where historic buildings and new construction meet.
The current college is quite popular thus leading to the need for new construction. The new building will be built just east of the current building. The new building will be a job training center and it will cost $4.6 Million to construct and make a reality. The total Square footage of the building will be 30,000 square feet. Primarily, said building will basically be a school where students can learn entrepreneurship and learn tech skills at the same time. Local companies plan to sponsor the project once it opens.
Further more, the key piece of North City's revival is the fact that the project is moving along faster than Paul McKees failed Northside regeneration project. If anything, this will help improve the neighborhood. We will see whether the student-fix architect group designed building comes to fruition. Bets are, it becomes a reality. Ranken hopes to break ground this summer and wrap up in summer/fall 2018.
By. Chris Stritzel
In an interesting post first reported by NextSTL, a plan has been submitted to the city o redevelop the abandoned Tudor Building at Locust and 10th in Downtown St. Louis in the merging Old Post Office District of Downtown. As seen in the conceptual rendering put out by TWG Development out of Indianapolis. These developers currently hold plans to redevelop two adjacent buildings and turn them into loft apartments in two abandoned historic buildings. The 3 Floor Tudor Building will be the last building to be redeveloped on the block.
As the last building to be redeveloped, plans have been up in the air and not fully decided on what to do with the building. One plan was to demolish the building an build a 2 floor retail/restaurant building at the corner instead. Those plans have fell through the floor since we never heard anything else about this proposed building since the concept was first conceived back in November 2016. Since we no longer heard anything else about this, we supposed it was dead, until today.
Now plans were made public today showing new plan that will bring in a new kind of urban living in downtown. This new concept is townhomes. Proposed is 5 townhomes for the site in what appears to be a reused Tudor building. Judging by the odd shape of the proposed townhouse row, it looks similar to the current Tudor building. Such a recladding of a building of this size will mean that it will give a weird look on a Downtown corner. The building would have one 3 floor home and four 2 floor homes.
Such a design would look like a dogtown townhouse or a Benton park townhouse. While no other information on this available at this time, we can assume this is most likely to move forward if it is a redevelopment of the current building.
Below is the old plan for the building that seems to be cancelled.
By. Janet Sikes
Yesterday, Chris posted a story making several claims on the Loop Trolley. It was not greeted with much agreement across all forms of social media, therefore, Chris Stritzel has taken the time to write a statement to clarify the article which can be view by clicking this button. The statement is below.
By. Chris Stritzel
Its been a project years (literally years) in the making but as the Loop Trolley finally nears completion and the official grand opening, bumps in the road are already appearing to doom the trolley before it can even carry passengers up and down Delmar and Debalivere. Several factors have been taken into account when writing this post and most revolve around how the project has been coming along, how it is planned to runs and even more. Let's get started.
The Loop Trolley has been envisioned for years by "Loop Mayor Joe Edwards". It's his brainchild of creating a better Delmar Loop which he plays a key roll in. Now as the trolley prepares to open, we are starting to see clear cuts in a plan that, looking back, was doomed from the beginning. There will be (or at least should be) 4 Trolley cars. 2 from Seattle and 2 from Portland that will run along the 2.2 Mile Fixed route along Delmar Boulevard and Debalivere Avenue. The route will connect the whole of the Loop to Forest Park. Sounds great doesn't it? It sure does, but fractures in funding have appeared.
The project is severely over budget. SEVERELY! This is clearly causing issues for the way the system is supposed to operate. Throughout late 2016 and Early 2017, the Loop Trolley Company has pushed back the opening date more than 3 times. Originally, it was scheduled to open in Spring 2017. That quickly changed to Early Summer 2017. Finally, the plan changed to move the opening date to sometime in Late Summer 2017. Now even this seems to be out the window as the Trolley Cars still need serious work done to them to make them fit in more with traffic along the route.
That is where he over budget factor comes into play. The Trolley company is basically running on a shoestring budget following the construction phase of the project. This issue is holding back the opening for the system thus making many people feel as if the project is nearing death before it even opens. Only 2 of the 4 streetcars have been fully restored, but in some cases, not very street safe.
According to Chris Sommers, owner of the Loop's Pi Pizza Location, this interesting quote was said and shared on the UrbanSTL Forum.
"Just learned today that the REAL reason for the Loop Trolley delay is that in first day of testing, they realized that from just 15mph, these shitty, 100 year old trolleys take SEVENTY feet to stop. So, when they run in traffic lanes, they can't stop. Like at all. Potential solutions are to run the trolley cars at FIVE mph the entire route, or totally overhaul the cars. They don't have money for the latter. The delay is now indefinite.
Well done, STL. Well done!
Meanwhile, check out the MODERN streetcars in Cincy, KC, Milwaukee and virtually every other city. They get it. We don't. Because we can't have anything nice. And we want to live in the past. Ding, Ding."
If this is true, it is not good news for the Loop Trolley at all. This is also clearly not good news for those who want to see the system at its maximum potential. Joe Edwards needs to be worrying about this project or forever have a failure associated with his name. This is surely something that he does not want after all the success in the Loop. Besides just the trolleys taking forever to stop (rumored), the only place left to turn is something that could nail the coffin shut on the Loop Trolley as a whole within its opening year. That is the chance of a fare to ride the system.
A fare would be disastrous for such a trolley system. It is going to be a novelty connecting huge tourist attractions in the city's furthest West attraction. Many visitors will not want to pay a large fare to ride the trolley. It is ridiculous to pay a fare for a system that only connects two regions, it's not even a viable form of transit. Some locals will use it, but not much and with the fare, even less locals will use it. Why pay a fare for a trolley that can only take you so far or take a Metro Bus that goes even further than a trolley for roughly the same fare price?
Note to Mr. Edwards and others working on this project, follow Kansas City's lead and do not charge a fare for the Streetcar/trolley. It has clearly worked out very well for them, so try it here. You may be surprised with the results of not charging a fare.
In the end, I see the loop trolley as being something that will be cool to have if it only works as originally promised and helps promote development. Hell, I'll even go as far to say I will ride it if it comes out to be a great thing to have. Maybe even one day, the trolley will connect to a larger Streetcar system in the City and County, but those days are surely to far off to envision.
For the skeptics about this post and where some information came from, here are some sources I used.
By. Chris Stritzel
After a long 2 years of being under construction, the Kingshighway bridge is set to reopen to automobile traffic this Saturday. According to an email sent out by 8th Ward Alderman Stephen Conway, the long awaited reopening is scheduled for 10 A.M. on Saturday where Lyda Krewson, Stephen Conway (8th Ward) and Joseph Vollmer (10th Ward) will host a ribbon cutting at the Southern End of the bridge near Vandeventer.
However, the bridge is not fully finished yet. There is still one lane in either direction that needs to be completed and Street lights will need to be put up. Besides this, the bridge will be reopen. This is a sigh of relief for businesses on the Hill who have suffered through the construction of the bridge and the traffic the detour brought to their neighborhood. On the other side of Kingshighway, on Vandeventer, businesses over there are worried that they will be ignored again.
This is a concern for them. Meanwhile on Shaw, O'connells Bar will be the lone building separated by 2 Shaw Boulevards (One that goes straight and has turn lanes, and the other that is strictly one way). A new Shaw on one side and the old one on the other. Overall, the entire region will be less congested once construction finishes up on the project. This completes one of the biggest headaches in South St. Louis History and the largest bridge reconstruction since the Grand Boulevard Bridge several years ago. The construction on this bridge started on July 6, 2015.
If you wish to see what the project looks like when finished, click through the slideshow below. I will update the story with my images of the project in the near future before the bridge reopens.
By. Chris Stritzel
Last night, a rumor was floated on Reddit about NextSTL Founder, Alex Ihnen, that he would be leaving St. Louis thus stepping down from his creation, NextSTL. Today, May 9th, that rumor was confirmed and Alex Ihnen will be leaving St. Louis and move to Cincinnati for his wife’s job. The shake up comes just a month and a half after the new NEXTSTL kickstarter wrapped up bringing in $20,000 to fund a site redesign and to keep the UrbanSTL Forum still operating.
Since this website began, I have used NextSTL, the St. Louis Post Dispatch Building Blocks section and the Business Journal to write my stories. 95% of the stories I read on NextSTL were written by Alex Ihnen. His journalism was and is professional and a model for all contributors, including myself, to follow when writing on NextSTL. According to the news put out on the UrbanSTL forum about Alex’s departure, in his post, he stated:
“NEXTSTL will continue and a new partnership is setting the stage for growth. I haven't been able to take on new ideas (monthly meetup, events, advocacy, etc.) for quite some time given my other commitments. It's been time for some time to have someone else take it on. My commitment is that the site will continue, that this forum will continue and remain as-is. I am fulfilling all Kickstarter obligations (picked up sweet T-shirts yesterday!). Support from that, advertisers, and other contributions have finally helped NEXTSTL achieve some stability and professional set up it has lacked. My goal has long been to have it be something that could be passed on and maintained. I think it's there! Having run the site for nine years, I was nearing the point of stepping back. The timeline isn't what I had planned, but I could be more proud and excited about what's to come!”
I, being a contributor to NextSTL and the owner of Building St. Louis News, wish Alex the best on his future adventures in Cincinnati Ohio. As for what's next for NextSTL, according to Riverfront Times, the site will be handed over to South Side Spaces developer, Jason Deem. Jason will take over the roll Alex is leaving behind, Author and Owner of NextSTL. All that remains is speculation for what's next for NextSTL. I know the $20k raised will go towards the sites eventual redesign and I look forward to continuing to contribute on NextSTL for the seeable future.
Thanks Alex for your Contribution to the Metropolitan St. Louis Region. We wish you the best on your future endeavors!
By. Chris Stritzel
As if one Ferris Wheel Proposal was enough for Downtown St. Louis, or the city as a whole, Tony Sansone & Michael Sansone now plan to build a 120 foot tall Ferris Wheel on the City's edge in the Loop. This is an interesting proposal for the now growing Delmar Loop. As the loop continues to grow with the Trolley, Everly on the Loop and more, the last idea anyone would think that would go into the Loop is a Ferris Wheel. The planned attraction would be situated on the lots of a vacant fast food restaurant, which has been an eyesore for years at the corner of Delmar/Skinker. Instead of the project being like the 3 floor Office/Retail combo building proposed for across the street, this would possibly be an eyesore in itself.
The planned design is planned to have a beer garden at the base of the wheel and approximately 20 Climate Controlled Gondolas. The ride around the wheel would be approximately 4 rotations. For neighbors nearby (Washington Boulevard Homes) They believe that this is going to be an issue for them. A big, well lit Ferris Wheel basically in their backyard is basically a big "no no" for them. Besides this, the wheel could bring more people tot he Loop in a crazy idea. The Wheel could help make the loop visible form taller building in Central west End and in Forest Park. But there is one bad thing that this Wheel brings and that is the "touristy" aspect.
So far, the City has one, 220 foot tall Ferris Wheel planned to be open by Spring 2019 at Union Station. That is a tourist location. Along with that, an 700,000 gallon aquarium planned to open in Summer 2019. Both are big tourist spots. From the looks of things, St. Louis is turning into one giant tourist center. Something we do not want to be or become. That job is for Branson, who themselves received the old Navy Pier Ferris Wheel from Chicago. besides the Ferris Wheel in the loop, there are already a large amount of tourist places on the loop such at the Trolley, the Moonrise Rooftop Bar, Blueberry Hill, Fitz, Delmar Hall the Pageant and the Tivoli Theater. Adding a Ferris Wheel here would add to the Touristy feel of the loop instead of the local district that we want it to be.
However, the developers have said they will lease the property for 10 years and are requesting zero tax abatement from the City. That in itself is a plus. The plan will have to go through the City Approval process and face the opposition of the neighbors before any construction on this Ferris Wheel/Beer garden duo can take place. Below is the half rendering of the Ferris Wheel and the Beer Garden up close.