By. Chris Stritzel
Looking at North St. Louis, many people see a crime ridden area that is to far away from being saved. This idea has plagued the region thus making it lose all hope of ever being redeveloped. However, the way I see it, North City has more potential than any region in the entire City of St. Louis. The plan that I will lay out today will look at the most possible way of redeveloping the North Side through partnerships in the public and private sectors as well as the general citizens living in the Northern region of the City. It will be a lot of words and numbers but, when drawn up, it will be very doable and will put Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration to shame in every way.
Lets start with the area surrounding the new NGA in the real estate section.
REAL ESTATE THAT MATTERS
Upon the new NGA going up, the surrounding neighborhoods will really be able to grow and expand as well. Currently, this area of North City has a very large amount of vacant (and very prime) real estate. The real estate here can draw the next big thing, and possibly even spawn the region’s next Central West End. Besides this, the new NGA Complex will anchor the Northside’s Southern End as a Catalyst for future development and an anchor for the future of North St. Louis.
Besides the area around the New NGA, the whole Northside consists of Dense Neighborhoods (North Pointe and Baden) and less Dense areas (St. Louis Place and Carr Square) that all share one thing, unique character. Each one has their own look that cannot be looked at and be ignored. Because of this, real estate in these regions have their own way at life. They come and go, but need to become more stable. When assessing the options for these neighborhoods and their once vibrant, and need to become vibrant, business districts, I see a doable project that will ensure that existing residents get what they want while visitors also get unique experiences that are unique to those neighborhoods.
Confusing wording? Read it again.
What I am hinting at is community engagement. Community engagement can empower former powerhouse neighborhoods become strong and new again and lead to the next trendy neighborhoods where real estate matters and the residents have a chance to start over and become the next business leaders of St. Louis.
Upon residents waking up to the need to join together and realizing that their neighborhood needs change, they will push together as one and begin pushing their neighborhood as the next trendy area to open a business and live. This will then push for the need to do small scale redevelopments of abandoned structures and the demolition of those that are to far gone from being saved. Besides this, residents will further engage themselves in pushing the Northside as St. Louis’ greatest asset and push it as the region’s next big area to develop and grow a business or start a family. But the negativity of crime will take a toll on these efforts unless the community further engages them self in safety.
Workign with the police department, residents will and shall have an opportunity to create a community policing system that works to solve crime faster and get the neighborhoods to be very safe in a shorter amount of time. Any crime found by community policing groups are reported to the main department and members of the community policing department should hold the criminal until cops arrive to handle the problem. In the end, residents will look at the new system and will want to take part in it thus making the area much safer. Besides that, the community will have a stronger support for the police which makes everyone’s life easier and better.
Follwoing this, large scale redevelopments of neighborhoods good begin which leads to the need for a Public-Private Partnership to achieve such a development.
In Order to achieve a North Side that is productive and ready to grow, the community must join together to promote development, as said earlier, but should only accept the best that will, not only increase the living conditions, but also provide opportunities for everyone who lives up there. Those who care about their area will want only the best companies to invest money into their area. Many names that come to mind in redevelopment and development organizations are:
- Benton Home Builders
- McBride and Son Homes
- Cordish Companies
- Sansone Group
- Lawrence Group
- and Koman
All companies listed here, if requested, would probably invest money if they saw the amount of enthusiasm that the residents of North City are showing. The residents will then see a flood of proposals to show off what can be done. Every resident will benefit from this. How? Their property values go up and more job opportunities will rise up for them to all take. This will not only help grow the wealth and make many people wealthy but will also grow the economy to where the population will start to rise on the North Side for the first time in decades.
In order to transport others to visit the area, public transport needs to be a key factor that’s ill further assure developers that North St. Louis is ready for change.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TIES IT TOGETHER
Transportation has to be looked at as a key assets in assuring the public that their hard work will pay off. Transportation must also be safe and quick to get visitors and residents to all parts of the city. And while our current system is not very large, the Northside-Southside line could be the one piece of the puzzle and rebuilding the North Side. The transit line had to be seen as the next piece into promoting development, it must also be seen as a way for everyone to go and experience things that most people would never want to do. So what does this have to do with anything?
- Transit can promote TOD (Transit Oriented Development) thus creating more jobs and revenue
- The Line can promote changing the Northside into a walkable region thus creating a vibrant urban area
- Transit can fix things that have failed in the past, such as failed urban planing but can also fix modern day issues like aging infrastructure.
- The Northside-Southside Line can promote safety along the route as more people will be out and about to see things as well as technology on the the system being able to detect crime.
However, the current Metro Line planned will either run on Florissant Avenue or Jefferson Avenue. Both are major thoroughfares that need some love. But only one will be home to the new Line. Because of this, Metro must also look forward to putting another line on whatever street is not chosen to hold the new line. This line can be BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) or a new light rail line. Either one would further cement the Northside as a very walkable area with new Transit options and greater service.
So Transit is key to fixing the Northside. Now, when you tie Community Engagement with the real estate that is already prime with the new Metro Line, you get even more prime real estate that will sell for high cash. Besides this, abandoned structures will either be restored or demolished to make always for new construction thus reducing crime breeding places. New places leads to more people and greater security. Once Developers realize this, then they get involved and start pushing for developments that will speed up the process and make the entirety of the Northside safer and more vibrant as well as more dense. Furthering this, the new Metro Line will really increase the speed in which these things will get done.
No matter how the lines are designed, they will add a ton of new options to the Northside. Because they will speed up Development, North city will experience a boom in construction unlike anything very seen before. But, as the redevelopment of the North Side continues, the city must put a new ordinance in effect that protects that history of the Northside. The ordinance that can make all the difference must be one that lays out how things are designed and placed.
In order to truly see the change that will come about, we need to see a mix of what was once there and a taste for the future. The city ordinance I wish would get implemented would be as follows, “All new construction on the Northside, when referring to homes, must be designed to mimic what was there. The design must be similar are exactly alike to restore the neighborhoods that we have forgotten or haven’t forgotten. Main Street corridors must have buildings holding a street wall with retail at the base. This will promote businesses and jobs along the major streets. Along the transit lines, the same idea must be put into place, but taller buildings that hold hotels and residential as well as a hotel or two, can be built and are recommended to be built. On larger spaces that are abandoned, Like Pruitt Igoe, must be developed to become a live-work-play community.”
That idea would turn the Northside into an affordable and productive region where everyone who lives there will be proud to live there. While many residents would be worried about higher taxes, the city must rethink this and put a 5-10 year hold on raising taxes for everyone North of Delmar so that they have time to adjust to the new region, save up some more money, and even have he opportunity to make more money. After that 5-10 year period, taxes can go either up or down. For developers, the city must also say that they can only get 100% abatement on taxes for no more than 5 years and for 75%-25%, no more that 10 years, and for 25% and below, no more than 15 years. This would ensure money keeps flowing and keeps the City budget from going under.
So, some key takeaways from here:
1. Residents have large involvement in the redevelopment
2. Abandoned structures are ether restored or demolsihed
3. Community Watch Groups help get Crime down
4. Police-Citizen relations improve
5. Developers are requested to look into investing in the Northside
6. Massive Transit Expansion takes place making the redevelopment faster
7. Crime goes down dramatically as crime centers are redeveloped and repurposed
8. Better security rises in the form of new construction where people will live work and play
9. Taxes are not raised for 5-10 years depending on progress
10. More things happen than Paul McKee’s failed plan
Upon the plan being even considered, everyone who lives in the city will finally be happy to see the North Side thriving again. The North Side will become the city’s newest epicenter for change and prosperity where everyone who visits and lives there sees it differently but talks great about it. North City will surely be the place to live and work in St. Louis if this was ever taken literally.
Ah, it’s that time of year when the talk of the future of the region’s Rail System. While voters approved of a tax hike to fund the Northside-Southside MetroLink line, we are now just seeing the plan to get the system up and running within the next decade. It is an ambitious plan, but a plan that could produce great results for the City’s Northside. But while everyone worries, including myself about the overall safety about the system, an expansion could create an entirely different system. However, that is if we do it right. What do I mean by this?
I mean that this line could promote safety+devlolemt t his creating a welcoming and new system that can promote development that benefits those living on the neighborhoods and those visiting the neighborhoods thus growing the economy. It is a lot, I know, but those are the benefits in the way I see it. Besides this, we as a region really need to look forward to the full on economic boom this thing can bring along with it. But first, let me make something clear, out of pure speculation, I am going to refer to this route as the Orange Line for simplicity. Now back to the story.
The Line could include 30 stations. The route bough could be entirely different because of the NGA though. While it will not add or take away any stations, it will be a game changer if the study and design team takes into effect running the Orange Line along Jefferson rather than North Florrisant. As seen in the image above, the line cuts right through the hearts of the Northern side and Southern side of the City and right through Downtown. That in itself could be the key to promoting smart development. With the NGA route being taken into consideration, it would further promote redevelopment and development just because of the high profile location that it will run down by.
The Orange Line will be entirely different than the Blue and Red Lines. Why? It will not be on its own right if way until it is on Interstate 55. So, it will run in the street like a Streetcar, so the rail cars will have to be low floor to meet the lower platforms that will be constructed for the system. Because it runs in the street for a majority of the route, speed for the system will be reduced. Some will see this as a good thing while some see it as a bad thing. In all, it would help more people look at things that they otherwise would ignore. Continuing, because of all of these things being taken into consideration, the rail cars willl have to be entirely different which means new cars will be coming as part of this planned line. Below is the conceptual design of the new rail cars.
Put the new design of the railcars, the route and the stations and book, you have prime real estate situated next to the route that developers will find to good to pass up. This will lead to major overhauls of neighborhoods and more and eventually lead to a healthier, more walkable St. Louis. Now back to safety. In order to make this a reality, Metro must look at making the system more safe. How can they do that? Be sure to include a paid City officer on the train at all times since it will be in the City a majority of the route. Also, make sure the trains and the stations are well lit so any vandalism or crime that takes place is noticed and caught on camera, becuase a clean system is a happy system!
While the studies are now just beginning, and if they are all good and if financing is laid out successfully, we could see construction begin in 2023 and a completion in 2027. Nearly 10 years away. And who knows, maybe by then, the demand for another line will grow and we will have two new lines. But until then, we have the Orange Line to look forward to.
If you you would like to learn more about the new Orange Line, click the button below to read the organizations grand plan.
Yesterday, news got out about the ambitions to build a 48 Unit, 3 Floor apartment complex in the new Boulevard Heights subdivision of the full Boulevard Heights Neighborhood. The new building will add many new residents to the new neighborhood that was once home to greenhouses. Run down ones at best. However, things changed when the new houses were built on site. One noticeable thing and problem when you would either pass through the new area or live there, there is a noticeable gap of rubble and grass thrown in the middle section of the project. It has always pointed towards future development, but what that would be remained unknown until now.
The new project will be constructed by St. Ann based CF Vatterott. The total cost will rank up to around $6.6 Million. A strong investment into a neighborhood of the City hat borders Carondelet Park to the direct south. Although this project will not include street level retail, for obvious reasons, it will add much needed density to the neighborhood and more options for living no matter what you are looking for. Boulevard heights has many homes but few apartments, this will help change it. Some in t he neighborhood support the idea while some oppose of it, so we will see what happens regarding this project.
But, of course, the developer will go before the city and request a 5 year tax abatement to pay for the $6.6 Million building. How much of a percent abatement remains unknown. The Development Board is supposed to take this up this Tuesday or Wednesday evening at its meeting.
As time goes on, we will be sure to update his post.
Today, DowntownSTL Inc. Hosted their annual event at Union Station. this year, it was called Downtown Online. The meaning of the name is to Live Tweet all the important things that were said during the event today and in some cases, announced today. Besides this, there were key updates to the State of Downtown, the Convention Center plan and multiple redevelopment plans that could, in the end, change St. Louis entirely. Many of the announcements in the nearly 1 and a half hour event were centered on "where do we go from here". and "what do we need to do to truly make us the hub of the region". Today, a new standard was laid out for our Downtown. But, in this post, I would like to talk about 6 major announcements form todays Downtown online Conference held at Union Station.
1- LYDA KREWSON'S OPENING STATEMENT
The first thing to happen today after President and CEO of DowntownSTL Inc. welcomed everyone to the large conference, Mayor Lyda Krewson got up on stage and welcomed everyone as well. Throughout Lyda's speech, she hinted at the success that Missy Kelley and the whole Downtown STL organization has had over the past 15 years. She continued to talk about what a different place St. Louis was back 15 years ago when the coalition was started to change Downtown for the better. In the middle of her speech, the Mayor said, "26 Million people visit the region yearly. many of these visitors want to now what Downtown has to offer to them". Besides this, Lyda hinted at the fact that there will be even more development in the next few years. naming projects like the Railway Exchange Building and Ballpark Village Phase 2, there is a lot of stuff coming Downtown that will truly draw more visitors and people downtown. Overall, Lyda completed her speech with the promise to make downtown a Safe and Walkable neighborhood
2- BOB O'LOUGHLIN RECEIVES AWARD
Part of the tradition of these meetings is that every year, a new recipient is awarded the John H. Poelker Levee Stone Award. After a lengthy speech by the CFO from Stifel by the name of James Zemlyak, Bob O'Loughlin received his award. Following this, Bob gave a speech about who he thanks for this major accomplishment and the properties he owns in the region. To name a few he owns:
- The Cheshire in Clayton
- Worked on 360 on top of the Hilton at the Ballpark
- He has worked on Westport
- He owns the Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton and Crowne Plaza at the Airport
- As well as Union Station
To say it in short, Bob is a St. Louisan who has deep connections to the region no matter where at in the region. Following up, he started to talk about Union Station and how his plans were to not involve a Mall portion again. So, he talked about the plans for the Ferris Wheel, Aquarium and more at Union Station as well as a timeline to get it all finished and reopened for everyone to enjoy. As seen in the video below, he plans to break ground this Winter on the Aquarium. More information is in the video for those who want to know everything about what Bob said.
3- THE STATE OF DOWNTOWN
Following Bob's big speech, Missy Kelley got back on stage to give everyone the State of Downtown and how it is doing. She first hit everyone with a great quote from former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut (R). The quote reads, "You can't be a suburb of nowhere". A very fitting quote for the whole region as a whole. In order to make St. Louis the center of the region and not have suburbs of nowhere, Missy Kelley presented everyone with growth trends for the region and how they are effected by our image. A clear statement was made that every time the national news talks about the St. Louis region, they use the skyline as our image, whether that news is good or bad. Because of this, Downtown is clearly the image for the whole metropolitan region, so it has to be a good image down on the streets as well.
Missy Kelley says that T-REX and Fashion Startups are reviving Washington Avenues Garment District. This is in turn creating a vibrant downtown thoroughfare perfect for everyone,. One that includes offices, hotels, restaurants shops and more all centered around historic buildings. It is an achievement. Besides this, there was more to Kelley's speech than what is featured here.
Surprisingly enough, DowntownSTL Inc. moved to defund their tours and instead push the money to pay for officers to police downtown and make the whole area feel safer. In total, around $1 Million has been invested into getting more Police Officers on the streets to protects visitors and citizens. They are also there to not make people feel scared. Police officers can be found in Downtown walking or riding a bike or in the normal police car patrolling the region keeping everyone safe. Another key part of safety is lighting. DowntownSTL is pushing for LED lights and colorful light strips to be put ion downtown street lights to brighten up the streets and sidewalks thus making them far safer than they are. The plan for the new lights is going to move fast with many lights being replaced and made operational by the end of daylight savings time in October of this year.
5- MONEY FOR THE CONVENTION CENTER
Once again, DowntownSTL pushed for City money to go towards funding an overhaul of the America's Center on Washington Avenue. Missy Kelley says that to many cities of similar size are taking conventions that could be easily held here. So, the plan is to push for more money to go towards the convention center. This is lining up with rumors that the convention center could be rebuilt, tonight, there were no hints towards that except for the need for money. Watch the video below to hear this.
6-THE #MYSTL INITIATIVE
One of the last things to come out of the State of Downtown Address was the #mySTL Initiative. The plan is to, despite all the bad press, focus on how good St. Louis is as a whole. The plan for this is to share your memories, videos, pictures and more about downtown as well as spread ideas for videos focusing on Downtown St. Louis. In the end, the plan is to inform people who are skeptical about St. Louis and truly change the region's face for the better.
So, as you can see, these are the key things announced today at the Downtown Online Conference. DowntownSTL has clearly helped out the city's image a lot by promoting development and preservation of abandoned places in Downtown which in turn can power our economic engine. We will be there t the next conference, And remember, we are Building St. Louis.
What do you think about todays announcements? Are they good or bad for the region? Comment below!
By. Chris Stritzel
In an interesting twist this Monday, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) announced plans to open Downtown St. Louis’ first food hall at the base of the tallest building in the city. That building is the 42 Floor, Metropolitan Sqaure building. The new idea will bring many new restaurants and eateries to the downtown region while complementing those that already exist in a close proximity to the building. But, this is not all of the plan for the building.
An outdoor patio will be added as well to give diners a Urban experience in the heart of downtown. The location of this food hall will be where the former Kemoll’s restaurant was and the commons area towards the back of the building. According to JLL, the project will cost roughly $2.5 Million to complete. Construction is supposed to start this month (June 2017) and wrap up by late Fall of this year.
There are currently three tenants signed up for some of the new dining space. These tenants are:
- Arista Gourmet Salads and Flatbreads
- Dino’s Deli
- Kimcheese Asian Fusion
All three are new to the area and are specifically new to the Downtown St. Louis region.
The Architecture firm for the project is Nehring Design based in suburban Webster Groves. An odd one considering the architect of the building is HOK but it is fine if it makes the lobby not so desolate and empty.
Updates will be posted about the project as more information is made available.
By. Chris Stritzel
Yesterday, President Trump unveiled his ambitious plan to rebuild our infrastructure. The plan is to put forth nearly $1 Trillion over the next 10 years to rebuild many things in this nation. Most importantly, our roads and airports. When you look at the way St. Louis' infrastructure is, many would say that it is among some of the best in the nation. But look closer, major interstates cut the City in many pieces. This on display on Interstate 70, 64 and 44. While 44 gets improvements all the time, 70 and 64 are in their own categories. Past Kingshighway on Interstate 64, the highway becomes dangerous. Sharp curves and crumbling bridge supports have divided midtown and downtown to where no developer wants to look south of the Highway. It is a mess all the way around.
Interstate 64's double-decker highway portion and the Poplar Street bridge are the two worst pieces of the highway as mentioned earlier, they are crumbling and work is always being done to it bringing receipts of millions of dollars between MODOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) and IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation). The improvements never seem to work and always end up causing bottlenecks when it comes down to traffic and congestion causing more issues than it is worth. Something needs to change here. Interstate 70 carries some issues/ Most has to do with reliability. Many people who use 70 North of Downtown make in into a race track of horrors. People go fast, crash and some die here because the speed limit is not obeyed and how curvy it is. Things really need to change here. 70 also splits downtown rom the arch grounds (CityArchRiver tried to fix this) which is a major problem.
Now comes the big infrastructure plan. Although it is only $100 Billion a year for 10 years, Missouri needs to do everything it can to take lots from that promise. MODOT has to consider changing the way our highways work. Interstate 64's Double-Decker Portion simply needs to be rebuilt and made 1 level and more straight, that way, it isn't as bad. In downtown, 64 must be rebuilt as well and not be an eyesore like it is already. 70 needs to made level in Downtown after the CityArchRiver Park over highway portion. 70 South of this must be capped in order to connect Downtown fully to the river. Further North, Interstate 70 becomes a highway again and the express lanes are taken out in order to straighten out the road and reduce deaths by plowing into the curvy walls of the highway.
Besides this, the money form the plan would create a better flow for everyone in downtown and create a boulevard along the eastern edge of downtown. Much like what was envisioned by City To River several years ago. When it comes to Lambert Airport, there are no noticeable problems. Since it is not as busy as it was in the TWA years, no major improvements need to made here. Besides that, Metro is the last thing on this list that can be improved. Money from Trump's plan could easily fund better security on the system and even possible expansions in the future all across the metropolitan area.
Overall, I believe, that if taken literally, President Trump's plan could overhaul our City's ageing infrastructure and inadequate infrastructure and improve it for everyone. Because as our City grows, the infrastructure must be there to support it. We cannot have 20th Century infrastructure operating and controlling at 21st Century City. It just won't work. Outside of the President's plan, I wish the City would invest in making all Sodium-Vapor Streetlights in the City become LEDs instead. It will more power efficient and brighter providing a better sense of safety on the streets at night. That is more doable than the major portion of this story.
By. Chris Stritzel
Tomorrow, Apple will unveil their latest versions of key software. With it, we will begin the movement to custom settings through custom "Swift" code through Apple. This change will ensure that the website is more unique in every aspect. It will even ensure that it will operate on Apple TV (tvOS), Chrome TV and others. macOS will be far more interesting. This is where the website will be based from following the release of the software. Based as in being designed and coded. Part of the changes that we will bring that will be existenent across all platforms (mobile, PC, Home) is...
- New Fonts
- New Layout
- Simplified design
- New colors
When it comes down to mobile (iOS, Android) the main driver will be the iOS Weebly App. This will help ensure stories on the go and will eliminate the need for a computer to be taken everywhere. Also with mobile and PC, deep RSS integration will be a reality making it easier to see our latest stories whenever one becomes available. Overall, the new design will look exceptionally great by using the Apple ecosystem as the foundation of the website. It will also work great on other systems.
As I work on the new site, I'll share tease images on my personal Twitter (@chris_stritzel) and share hints on the website's Twitter (@BuildingSTL). Following the conclusion of WWDC on Thursday, ill have more information regarding this change. Until then, Mr. Jeff Maine and Mrs. Janet Sikes have been assigned authors of new projects announced this week (if any).