The High Cost of Parking on Pershing

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The parking lot at 5510 Pershing is barely used. It was created as a part of the ~1980 redevelopment of DeBaliviere Place neighborhood. In the 1960s parking was so scarce that residents would pay someone to drive their car to a garage off of Laurel Street. Five buildings were razed to create the Pershing lot. The calculus then determined that to compete with the suburbs it was critical to provide abundant proximate parking. So how does the math work out in 2014?


{The lot in 1958 and today – Historic Aerials and Google Maps}

Let’s assume the buildings razed were of the scale of the one directly to the east. That building has 16 apartments and pays $8,000 in property taxes. Let’s say each household earns on average $50k, so $500 in earnings taxes and spends $5,000 on sales taxable stuff, so $200 to the city and other local sales taxes. I’ll leave out the utilities taxes and the income tax on the rental income as well as the multiplier for having more residents creating wealth and spending in the city because I have no idea. That’s $19,200 per building per year.

The parking lot pays $4,300 in property taxes plus earnings taxes on the income on the parking. Wild guess here- 30 spaces rented at $50/mo = $18,000, so $180 in earnings tax. So that’s $4,500 per year. I’ll leave deductions for the property taxes and maintenance out.

Buildings kept Building revenue Parking revenue
0 $0 $4,500
1 19,200 3,600
2 38,400 2,700
3 57,600 1,800
4 76,800 900
5 96,000 0

No contest and it only gets better adding in the things I left out. The opportunity cost of the parking lot is momentous considering it has been there for more than 30 years. Add on top the cultural costs of losing historic buildings and the loss of vitality that the residents would have added to the city.

Not only does the city miss out, but so do landlords. The apartments lost would have generated much rental income. Perhaps with construction of West End City Phase II around the corner, this spot will see an increase in development interest.


{Streetcar on Pershing looking towards Union}

Competing with the suburban-style development pattern on its terms has cost the city dearly. It can only win by offering something different. The Pershing parking lot is just one small scar from the city’s attempt to build car-oriented places. Let’s all be more skeptical when more land or another structure is turned into parking.

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  • http://justinchick.com Justin

    Yes!
    As someone living next to this sea of parking I can say I’ve never seen more than a fraction of spaces utilized. So silly & such a waste.

  • matimal

    Wonderful analysis!

  • Flavin

    I lived very near here for years, so I have a few additional notes.

    1. There is a strip of grass in front of the parking lot that the owners fenced in and set up as a little dog park. It was not properly licensed and quickly got shut down by the city. There was a sign up for a while saying the owners would get the dog park licensed and reopened soon, but as far as I know that never happened. This was maybe 2007 or 2008.

    I’m not saying that a dog park makes up for the missed opportunity cost of having multiple occupied apartment buildings, but at least it provides some value to the neighborhood. A mostly empty parking lot, obviously, does not.

    2. Across the street and slightly west, there are two unused tennis courts. You may ask how I know they are unused; I offer the evidence that a fence has been built right through both of the courts. How many buildings were razed for this misuse of land?

    This area, like the area I mentioned in point 1, is also used sometimes for walking dogs.

    • rgbose

      I left the pool and tennis courts across the street because i didn’t want to pile on and its surely a higher use than the parking. Ir looks like 4 buildings were razed for them. I don’t think the pool is still used either. I submit that if there were five occupied apt buildings across the street there would be more money around to maintain them.

      • Flavin

        The pool and tennis court are privately owned; I don’t think their maintenance is connected to the occupancy of any buildings on the block other than the ones they were intended to serve. (I think they’re owned by Park Station, but I may be misremembering.)

        A functional tennis court may be a higher use than a functional parking lot, but I think a non-functional tennis court—one with a structure built into it that renders it 100% unable to be used for its intended purpose—is not. It is basically the same as a parking lot that no one can park in.

        I shouldn’t split hairs, though. They’re both awful.

  • http://donspoliticalblog.blogspot.com Don

    Hindsight is an exact science. Unfortunately, it’s often unfair to the decision makers of the past who couldn’t see into the future as clearly as we see the past.

    It’s easy to say in 2014 that St Louis has been too parking obsessed for far too long, which is a popular sentiment in this forum.

    The 70′s and early 80s were desperate times for the City of St Louis, and all the other rust belt cities in the US as heavy industry was leaving and population with it. Decisions makers were desperate to try anything and everything to reverse those trends. The overwhelmingly popular view at the time was that nothing would work and cities like St Louis should just be abandoned.

    Many mistakes were made, and some real treasures lost, but we survived. St Louis could have easily gone the way of Detroit. Fortunately for us, it didn’t. It’s popular to write here with incredible certainty about of the obviously solutions to the problems facing St Louis 35 or more years ago that were forgone at that time to the detriment of our fair city.

    Clearly, that parking lot is not the highest and best use of that land. Now would be a great time to find someone to develop that parking lot into something actually useful.

    • rgbose

      I do understand the thinking of the time. My point is that it was short-sighted, and we can now see that, so we should think about it this way in the future. The solution then was to stop subsidizing (highway construction) and mandating (parking minimums) car-oriented development patterns, and it still is today so let’s stop it. This is a lesson for the future not just Captain Hindsight here to save the day.

  • Adam

    any photos of the demolished buildings? sadly, i’m sure they were more attractive that anything that might be built to replace them.

    • rgbose

      Alas if we only had Google Streetview back then. Maybe there’s some in the redevelopment proposals of the day. Where might those be? Library? City Hall?

    • http://donspoliticalblog.blogspot.com Don

      I was struck by how much the 1950′s photo reminded me of a NYC streetscape.

  • JoAnn

    As someone who lives across the street from that parking lot, I can attest to how little the parking lot is used. While Atlas Restaurant encourages its patrons to use the parking lot, most park on the street. The dog park is missed – it was a great meeting spot for neighborhood residents.

  • John

    This lot is close to the one where they are building those new apartments, right? Maybe this lot will soon be home to something similar.

  • SecondHalfMatt

    I used to live right next to that giant parking lot. I even had access to park there since it is gated. I moved to St. Louis in April 2011 and I moved a block away in 2012 and still live in the area.

    As I stated it is gated and very few people have access to it. If you ever drive down Pershing people are always parking on the street. If it were actually useable for everyone on the street I’m sure the craziness of driving down Pershing wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. There is a small lot there that is apparently only for Atlas customers. If you park there and are not a customer they will threaten to tow you.

    The dog park was torn down around May 2011. I was sad to see it go but I didn’t have a dog. Of course I adopted a stray in 2012 and it would’ve been awesome to still have that around for her to play in. I’m actually getting ready to move out of the area because I don’t have anywhere she can easily, freely play. One of a few reasons really.

    As far as the tennis courts go the most I see them used were for people’s dogs to play in. I guess it became the “dog park” after the real one was shut down. I can’t recall seeing anyone ever play tennis there.

    If the pool that is being talked about is the one on Waterman that is a private pool that gets used plenty. If you live in the neighborhood you can get a seasonal membership for $100(?) I think. The last day the pool is open they let everyone’s dogs go for a swim.

    I had a conversation with a realtor that provided some insight on why the street is as it is. I forget the company I was told that used to own most the street. They put in a lot “improvements” in for the area so they could sell some of the building to other companies saying they could rent the apartments for $X. Then after selling some buildings those improvements went away (I don’t know why). Then the new owners could not rent for the X price and had to lower their rent.

    • rgbose

      Wasn’t that a pool right next to the tennis courts?

      • SecondHalfMatt

        You are right. I just checked google maps and saw it. I don’t think in my time living there I ever noticed it. I always knew about the Waterman pool since there were signs out for it.

  • Guy Vils

    The basic fallacy here is that paid city parking could compete with free suburban parking. Cities and municipalities that figure that out thrive and those that do not suffer for it. I live in the Central West End because it is walkable and I don’t have to pay to park there. When I get in the car to go anywhere else I almost never go when and where I have to pay to park. Why should I when there are so many alternatives where I don’t have to pay and can spend that money instead at the businesses there. The most anti-business development parking policy I have seen are the meters on Cherokee Street.

    • Alex Ihnen

      What American city that could be considered culturally and economically “thriving” offers tons of free parking everywhere?

      • Guy Vils

        OMG, that’s the problem with St. Louis! We don’t charge enough for parking. ROFL

        • matimal

          St. Louis doesn’t charge enough for anything. That is indeed its problem. St. Louis gives itself away so we shouldn’t be surprised that people don’t value it. If you charge the true cost of something, which in this case would be the lost opportunity cost of using it for parking and not housing, people will realize they are getting what they are paying for. When you pay for parking you are contributing to a source of income with which an area can be improved and its other uses subsidized.

        • Adam

          no, the problem is that people think they deserve everything for free, and that they’re always entitled to maximum convenience. you know the old adage: you get what you pay for. like matimal said, paid parking = income the city can use for maintenance and improvements. and the city is in dire need of more income.

          • Guy Vils

            First off, if you live, work, do business or shop in the city you already pay for those services in property, earnings and/or sales taxes. But the important point is that you won’t get those residents and customers if you have a cost of parking obstacle that your competition does not. Do you think Schnucks, Target and the Galleria provide free parking in order to make less money?

          • matimal

            How do you explain the existence of NYC or San Francisco? By your logic that shouldn’t exist.

          • Guy Vils

            Great ocean ports, an island and a peninsula, history, a global financial capitol on Wall Street and tech capitol in Silicon Valley for a start. When you are the core of those you can charge for parking; if you are downtown St. Louis or Detroit you are just driving people to greener pastures if you do.

          • matimal

            Houston and New Orleans are huge natural ports with lots of parking. Silicon Valley has as much parking as St. Louis, so does Maui. Physical geography is beside the point. Economics explain this. That means ALL costs and ALL benefits for EVERYONE, not just select suburban drivers.

          • Guy Vils

            SO what is your point? Houston, in addition to the economics of being a huge international port is the oil and gas capitol of the country and has had the freedom to expand it’s borders throughout Harris County and beyond. That core can also get away with charging for parking, but proportionally there really is very little paid parking there and a whole lot of driving. Geography is absolutely not beside the point. And if you think geography is beside the point in New Orleans you must have missed Katrina.

          • matimal

            Houston has endless free parking and it’s a port. There is no connection between the two. The places that maximize the total value of property are the ones that win. Parking is never the maximum value for any piece of land. Therefore places that don’t have parking have learned how to maximize the value of their land. This maximizes the efficiency of land use and tax income with which public services can be improved thereby further improving the value of property with superior services. THAT’S why Manhattan exists. You’ve got it all backwards.

          • Guy Vils

            Talk about having it backwards! Every business that provides free parking space has concluded precisely that it is the maximum value of that land. Manhattan exists as it is because it is the financial hub of the largest economy on earth, the central core of a city of 8 million people and has built the public transportation infrastructure to provide them access. It is backwards to think that is because it made parking scarce and expensive there.

          • matimal

            No business provides “free” parking. Someone pays for it in the end, it’s just a matter of who. If customers don’t pay directly, they pay through the price of the goods they receive. If the business is not making money with parking but it spending money on it, that is less profit and less to reinvest in the business. It also reduces the value of the property as Alex has shown. Parking is an effect, not a cause. You are completely 100 percent wrong.

          • Guy Vils

            But the point is indisputable; every business that provides the space has decided that it is the maximum economic use of that land …a decision that has been made billions of times the world over.

          • matimal

            It’s not only disputable, it’s untrue. “Free” parking and roads don’t exist in most of America. They are massively subsidized and thus very far from the maximization of economic use. Subsidization means some get what they don’t pay for and others pay for what they don’t get. That is the point of Alex’s post in the first place.

          • Guy Vils

            It is up to the businesses, customers and residents who produce the economic activity to decide it’s value, not you, and they have decided, relentlessly and overwhelmingly. They demand the mobility of automobiles and convenient, no-charge places to park them. Get over it.

          • matimal

            It should be up to individuals, businesses, and residents, but in the U.S. it isn’t. Government tells them what to do all the time. Tax and zoning laws and other publicly funded transportation decisions mean that businesses must do things that are very far from maximizing economic activity in order to survive. They GET what GET because government has massively tilted the ‘free market’ in which they act. Every user of a public highway or of “free” parking is a welfare queen. Get over it.

          • Guy Vils

            No one who has chosen to buy a car is going to swallow that nonsense. According to the Vehicle in Operation market analysis from Experian Automotive, there were 247.9million vehicles on US roads during the second quarter of 2013. You have an uphill fight on your hands to convince them that they don’t need and want them.

          • matimal

            Anyone who feels financially burdened by having to buy, insure, fuel, and maintain a car implicitly understands exactly what I’m saying. As do those who pay for roads they never use. You have an ethical dilemma on your hands. Do you accept that cars are massively subsidized and that you are arguing for a system of continued massive subsidization that has worked against the interests of St. Louis at every turn? Or, do you support free market principles and argue that St. Louis can enter into a virtuous cycle by beginning to pull away from the automotive welfare system allowing it to redirect its resources to what it want and thereby allowing its property owners to maximize their property values? Dozens of American cities have show how its done. Good luck with that.

          • Guy Vils

            No, dozens of American cities have not eliminated roads, none have. Roads predate automobiles by thousands of years. Transportation is a necessary foundation for civilization and mobility is an essential element of individual freedom. Building and maintaining roads is not welfare; no one is being cheated by the costs of roads that serve us all; even those who do not use them directly are completely dependent on them for their daily existence. Walkability is highly desirable; it’s why I live in the Central West End, but even my neighborhood does not thrive on its residents alone. As many needs as can be met within it, I still need a car for those that can’t and I value highly the capability to visit other interesting place, and my friends and family scattered around the metro area. Who do you know, so insular they do not?

          • matimal

            I wonder who you’re responding too besides me. Anyway, roads in America today ARE welfare until users pay the true cost of the roads they use. Mortgage interest deductions are welfare. 90 percent of mortgages in the U.S. today are guaranteed by fannie mae or VA/FHA, that’s welfare, too. We are a welfare society. That’s the problem. When neighborhoods, towns, cities, and states start paying for the roads, parking, and housing they use, they will be forced to increase the economic use of property. You can’t treat the political and economic dynamics of the moment as somehow natural laws that always apply. They are human creations and will be recreated by humans.

          • Alex Ihnen

            We’re talking past one another, but this isn’t a fight against cars, or an argument in which people with cars are convinced they don’t need and want them. My home has two drivers and two cars. It’s a necessity given that jobs/school/home aren’t all walkable to one another. I wish there were more options for car-free living in St. Louis. There aren’t, in part, because of parking lots like the one in The Loop. You can’t have a walkable, dense neighborhood that meets all, or nearly all, resident’s needs and have big surface parking lots. They’re not compatible. People should have more choices and car ownership shouldn’t be a requirement to the degree it is today.

          • Guy Vils

            The Loop and the Central West End belie your contention. Car ownership is essential in almost all metropolitan areas because of the large geographic dispersion of services and resources.

          • Adam

            car ownership =/= daily usage. yes, if you’re driving from one end of a metro area to another every day then you’ll probably need a car. the whole point of a “city” is that services and resources are NOT widely dispersed.

          • Guy Vils

            The point of the city is that services and resources are not too widely dispersed for the available transportation, which for all American cities includes automobiles.

          • matimal

            That is not the point of the city. It’s the current state of the metro. It became that way because of a systematic agenda of subsidizing car use. There is nothing natural or inevitable about it. As it becomes unaffordable, people and governments will gravitate to cheaper ways. St. Louis can offer those more efficient alternatives and reap the rewards.

          • Adam

            you forgot about efficiency. as far as the current state of cities: what matimal said.

          • matimal

            What IS my contention?

          • matimal

            I feel that way. I know others who do to. You need to meet more and different people. We all have an uphill battle figuring out how to pay for roads we don’t remotely pay for now. Just think how much worse things could get if no we can’t pay for roads and they deteriorate and political battles over transportation spending become more and more intense. St. Louis could avoid some of that in ways that Chesterfield can’t.

          • Guy Vils

            I like meeting people, but you’re the one who needs to get busy with it if you expect to convince 247.9 million of them to give up their cars.

          • Adam

            actually, it’s not up to the businesses. there are absurd minimum parking requirements that lead to excessive parking.

            http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/03/parking-minimums-create-too-many-parking-spots/1561/

          • Guy Vils

            And of course in those jurisdictions it residents ensure store parking does not overwhelm their residential parking, because obviously the customers want to park there. You folks who think you can somehow convince people they don’t need and want their cars and places to park them are tilting at windmills.

          • Adam

            no, it means that if a store cannot provide for the required number of parking spots, said store doesn’t get a license to operate. the residents have nothing to do with it. as for tilting at windmills, other places have been pretty successful at it. it’s about smart planning, which St. Louis has not done in allowing, or requiring, too much parking. sorry, but there are just too many counterexamples to your conviction that “nobody’s gonna not drive”.

          • Guy Vils

            The people who make those regulations are the representatives of the residents. If you actually have been involved in development you should know how much residents are involved in the process and the political repercussions when they aren’t listened to. I fully concur that St. Louis has been poorly served by urban planning for more than half a century, with no end in sight. There aren’t many places that have been even moderately successful creating urban density sufficient to greatly reduce the use of automobiles, and even in those that have they are a privilege of the wealthy and there are quite a few people unhappy about the situation.

          • matimal

            The people who make these regulations are the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, The Federal Reserve, Congress. They are the ones who decided we’d have highways without tolls and mortgage interest deductions.They decided not to lend money to black people to buy houses in ‘white areas’ in the past and to non-single family houses now. Local zones laws have to conform to many state regulations, regulations authorized by a state legislature that contains but a few representatives from St. Louis. Local government is surprisingly hamstrung when it comes to roads and parking. If St. Louis takes charge of its own such policies, figures out how to increase property values and tax income as a result , it wins.

          • Adam

            nah, i don’t buy that anybody in St. Louis has ever been elected based on the promise of plentiful parking. if you have evidence to the contrary point me to it. and the parking regulations in place now weren’t put there by anyone elected recently. sure, people in St. Louis are used to driving around. it’s what they know. they’ve been doing it for decades and so some of them will fight for it. that doesn’t mean it’s good planning or that it shouldn’t change. i assume you agree since you agreed that St. Louis has suffered from lousy planning for decades (in which case i don’t even understand why you’re taking the position that you’re taking). where we apparently disagree is that “there’s no end in sight.” the younger generation moving into the city does not want to own cars, as evidenced by the fact that car sales are down. things are already changing, and once us car-dependent fogies are gone they’ll be calling the shots. as far as how many places have been successful… the number is irrelevant. what matters are the factors that make the successful places successful, and there’s a very strong correlation among success, density, pedestrian activity, and transit options. not sure what you’re getting at with the “privilege of the wealthy” comment. cars are a privilege of the wealthy in successful cities? maybe, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping people from moving to places like SF, NYC, DC, etc. in swarms and, you know, living. apparently people aren’t so unhappy about the situation that they’d rather move to St. Louis.

          • matimal

            This isn’t about convincing people to act differently in the current system. It’s about making a new system. We aren’t tilting at windmills, bit by bit we are building proverbial windmills. You are sitting on the hill next to us as we build them shouting that we’ll fail. All the while the wealthy and ambitious move to cities where these policies are succeeding. Maybe you should travel more?

          • Guy Vils

            There is no shortage of opportunity to upgrade and increase urban residential density; it’s happening all around: The Wash U. project in the Loop, Euclid & West Pine, Euclid & Lindell, Union & Lindell, Hampton & Oakland… There are the whole Grove and Cortex areas, and Delmar from Skinker Eastward has barely been touched. There is no practical reason to take away parking and very good reasons to have it; you just seem to hate automobiles. What’s your REAL problem with them?

          • matimal

            You’re proving my point again. The presence of parking isn’t making any of these things happen. Parking is an effect. It doesn’t make things happen or not happen as you suggest. Preserving St. Louis’ precious supply of parking has no economic benefit as you have suggested.

          • Guy Vils

            Whoa there, I’ve never said parking is a destination or attraction on its own. I keep trying to explain to you that it’s a necessary competitive ingredient for a commercial or residential destination. People need and want the freedom and mobility provided by automobiles and they live in places and travel to establishments that provide places to park them; cheaper is better, free is best. It is theoretically possible you could substitute ubiquitous unlimited free public transportation, but as I’ve said before, that’s tilting at windmills

          • matimal

            Roads are not “free.” They cost enormous sums of money. Gas taxes and licensing fees don’t even cover half of the cost of roads today. Roads ARE public transportation. To make roads and non-car transportation financially equal would require a combination of tolls, gas taxes, and registration fees equal to tens of billions per year in the U.S. You don’t pay anything like the costs of the roads you use, Guy.

            What people other than you “need” or “want” is for them to decide, not you. If cheaper is better, than cars, highways, and parking, free or otherwise are worst. They are astoundingly expensive and take money out of local economies that could be used to support higher economic uses. In the past, people lived in different places than they do now and the same will surely be true in the future. St. Louis will not stop changing. People decide what they “need” and “want” within a particular context. People didn’t decide they wanted to live in Chesterfield before there were roads to get there. The roads created the demand. The roads created Chesterfield for that matter. Successful cities will recreate demand in ways that benefit them in the future. You are a prisoner of the here and now.You can’t see the forest for the trees.

          • Guy Vils

            1) You’re not paying attention. I said parking is a necessary competitive ingredient. And that’s no secret. 2) Free, as in no additional charge for use, as being better, as in preferable. 3) Roads are part of our public transportation system and they certainly do cost money. They are recognized as essential and we all pay for them, including you and me, fully and completely, and in fact I pay my share of far more roads than I use personally, that’s the dominant system that’s been in place since our country began. 4) I don’t WANT to try to make car and non-car transportation equal and I told you it’s tilting at windmills for you to try. 5) Again, I have already told you that people HAVE decided; there are 247.9 million cars on our roads. You’re the one who wants to tell people their system must change, remember? 6) Cars are expensive, but far less expensive than any alternative that could deliver comparable mobility. They do not take money out of the economy, they are a big part of the economy. 7) You really do see things backwards. People did decide to live in Chesterfield (Gumbo Flats actually) and built roads as they needed them to get around where they wanted to go. That’s how it ALWAYS works. Other folks joined them, built their homes and businesses, and of course, places to “park” their horses and wagons. 8) What I see is that you have an irrational dislike of cars. Why is that?

          • matimal

            You need a history lesson. America’s transportation funding and housing finance arrangements have NOT always been the way they have been in the last 30 years. That is untrue. We do NOT all pay for roads. Taxes don’t remotely pay for roads. Why do you think that the U.S. government has to borrow 40% of its budget? The chinese government pays more towards the roads St. Louisers use that many St. Louisers do. Many may think that Chesterfields endless free parking and highways help it to ‘make’ money, they don’t. The cost of the roads and parking lots are more than will ever be brought in taxes or realized in property value increases by the expenditure of that public and private money in the first place. It’s a pyramid scheme. You may think that it “works” somehow, but it doesn’t.

            Parking is a result of subsidization of land use and is not a competitive advantage from the point of view of local governments or economies. Nothing is free in the real sense. We all use things and pay for things. If there is a mismatch between what we pay and the cost of what we use, it distorts the economy and governments on which we depend. There is no “free”. Everything must be paid for. EVERYTHING ALWAYS must be paid for. No exceptions, ever, for anything at all.

            People have NOT “decided” that they want the housing and transportation funding system that we have today. Most Americans did NOT make a conscious choice to have things as they are. They have acted within the rules set by unelected bureaucrats under the cover of politicians who are bought and paid for by certain interests. You can’t go to Chesterfield until it exists and it can’t exist until the infrastructure that makes it possible exists and that won’t be built until someone sees a way to make money for themselves from that project. You are the one who wants people to continue to do things as they are. What I see is that you have an irrational dislike of change.

          • Guy Vils

            You seem to have no idea of history; of course someone went to where Chesterfield is today, before there were roads, settled there and built them. What I see is that you don’t like the way those who came before you built up this world you live in. What’s the matter, can’t you afford a nice car?

          • Guy Vils

            Just what is it that you have built that is going to change all of our minds about owning cars? Apparently you’ve noticed that what are you are spouting sure sounds like ideology…

          • matimal

            Parking is parking. Store, resident are meaningless categories. We won’t convince people of anything. The costs and benefits of transportation choice will convince them. We aren’t the ideologues here, you are, Guy.

          • Alex Ihnen

            In The Loop the free parking isn’t provided by the business, but by the city, paid for by tax payers. Parking is heavily subsidized, as is everything needed for a car to get from A to point B. The point is that driving and parking as they are practiced today in St. Louis aren’t the result of some fabled perfect market equilibrium. The question for St. Louis may be whether we maximize economic return, or maximize the convenience of drivers. And even then, it’s not so simple since convenience to drivers shouldn’t mean driving to and parking at different retailers for each need. Seems that we might not reach agreement on this one… What I would like to see are parking surveys so that we can have a better understanding of what’s being currently used. So The Loop lot is often full (again, that argument is about maximizing economic activity), but the lot on Pershing appears to be mostly empty. The stadium garages next to Busch don’t fill up for Cardinals games, but we build more garages and parking spaces right next to them.

          • Guy Vils

            I have no admiration for the record of urban planners in St. Louis, it’s shameful. The businesses that provide the vitality and the residents they attract pay the taxes. If you all have your way and manage to break what has worked so well in the Loop I fervently hope Joe Edwards has a backup plan in the East Loop as I would sadly miss such a great place to visit. As to Pershing I do not see a shortage of opportunity to develop and upgrade residential as Wash U. is doing now in the Loop; much of what is in the DeBaliviere area is not in the condition of highest and best use, but I guess is what satisfies current demand.

          • matimal

            Demand is created by conscious action as much as supply. There is no free market in anything. Demand is not somehow beyond the control of people. If you want to create demand for land, build a road through it. If you don’t build that road, no demand. People can’t want something before they want it. People didn’t “demand” parking, they were given parking and then began to use it.

          • matimal

            The urban planners were not really the ones at fault. They came into to fill the vacuum created by federal road and housing policy. It is federal and state housing and transportation officials who were given far to much power. Them and the Congress that allowed that to happen are at fault. That doesn’t mean St. Louis has to keep doing what they used to demand.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Wait, was that sarcastic? Maybe I’ll take my upvote back. :)

    • matimal

      If people aren’t willing to pay for something, they don’t value it. If this isn’t true, I can’t imagine how to explain the existence of Manhattan or San Francisco.

  • Adam

    let’s get that shit developed!

  • moe

    Sorry, but I believe your calculations are off. We know that at least once over the years, those properties would have been redeveloped/remodeled/reconfigured and with that comes tax abatement. I don’t think they would be paying real estate taxes. At least not yet. And that is the biggest problem facing not only the City, but as our regional little fiefdoms are finding out…TIFFS suck the life blood out in the long-term.

  • samizdat

    Looks a lot like speculative land-banking to me.

  • Alex Ihnen

    This is a pretty good conversation overall – different views have been expressed pretty clearly, but the back and forth doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Putting it on pause for a bit.