Its been 12 years since the Eye-Catching plan to expand the skyline North of the Edward Jones Dome was unveiled. The development, at the time, would have cost about $300 Million (Now would probably be closer to $900 Million). The dream was to have a mixed use development district with shops, restaurants, offices and residential as well as a hotel. Sounds familiar to Ballpark Village which has been brought back to life. The tallest building on the site would've been 630 feet. A dramatic shift for the skyline.
The complex came out of the growing economy from the early to mid 2000's and the idea that Saint Louis would grow upward again, (We are approaching another one of those times). This area would have expanded the skyline North and be the anchor for the North End of the Skyline. The other major project, Ballpark Village on the Southern End would have been the infill that Downtown South needed and will soon get. But the big question that I want to return to the mainstream Saint Louis talk is "Will the Bottle District ever rise"?
The answer can be answered in 2 very simple ways. A optimistic way and pessimistic way. So here are the two different sides tot eh story...
The Optimistic Side- As Downtown begins to pick up where it left off in 2007 and 2008 with plans and development being revisited and re-released, this one could be one of the next ones on the list to be released yet again. The economy is strong and Downtown Residential and Office Space is becoming increasingly demanding. Ballpark Village will lay a foundation of developments to come in Downtown and this Bottle District could seal the deal. Downtown needs a new anchor on the Northern End. Currently the anchor of the Northern End of the skyline is the Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel. This is as far as the skyline goes Building wise.
Becuase the NGA West is being built on the North Side, this could also fuel development in the region to the North and push development on the Northern End of Downtown closer to the river. The Bottle District could be the project that comes out of this. Though it may be downsized, the project would still be transformational to the Northern end of Downtown. The ideal building height for this area is around 450ft or 35 floors depending on how you look at it. So in short, this development will come back when the time is right and that seems to be within the next few years.
This project could expand Downtown North and make the existing Downtown a older Downtown with the Northern Downtown being a very modern and ever changing expansion of the City.
The Pessimistic Side- This project can't be built because demand is not high enough for anything that this project would offer. The site itself is not very valuable since it sits on the edge of Interstate 70 and past the now Abandoned Edward Jones Dome. The property just isn't that good.
No developer or business would ever develop the site because of how crazy it really is. Not under any circumstance would the city either allow a project as ambitious of a project be built. Ballpark Village is the only large scale development that should be built.
As you can see, the Optimistic side is the one side that I side with more than the Pessimistic side of the argument. I believe that Interstate 70 could be capped in this area and the City would be connect to the North Downtown Riverfront and then this would fill in with new High rises and a new Downtown that is here for the future. That is where the idea of the past comes into play, City To River would surely work well here in the situation. So I do believe that the Bottle District will rise but not on the level as originally envisioned and in doing so will push Saint Louis further on the limits of having a successful Downtown. One where competition for businesses is strong and in turn keeps them all open which means more jobs for everyone.
The area that would see exceptional growth from this project would be Tucker to the West, The I70-Tucker Interchange to the North, Wharf Street to the East and the MLK Bridge/Cole Street to the South. A large area that would be rebuilt and made into a new Downtown expansion.