Master Plan for Soulard Market and Park

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Soulard neighborhood - STLA year ago, nextSTL covered the beginning of another effort to reinvigorate Soulard Market. The story started this way, “A decade ago Soulard Market was described as “falling into disrepair”, “dirty, drab, dark”. Sales were reportedly slipping and people complained that the open-air market was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. In stepped the Danforth Foundation, forming Soulard Restoration, Inc. to develop a rejuvenation plan for the market. A board was formed and a plan hatched. Problem was, the vendors themselves roundly rejected proposed changes and the plan wilted faster than the greens on the floor of stall 38 in early August.” Now, a new survey gathering input from various constituents including visitors, neighbors and vendors has led to a new master plan.

It remains true that if we wish to improve Soulard Market, the focus should be on the market’s surroundings. Seventh Street, what should be Main Street Soulard, is uninviting to be charitable. The best part, in theory, is that projects east of 7th aren’t constricted by Soulard’s historic standards. Innovative, dense development can occur here. Of course so can stripmalls and stand alone Starbucks. For better or worse, the City of St. Louis owns Soulard Market and could push better surrounding development via zoning and development incentives. This survey focused solely on the market itself, and in this regard, has produced many worthwhile suggested updates that would greatly improve the visitor’s experience. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments.

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO
{a view of Soulard Market today}

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO
{rendering of new east entrance to Soulard Market}

Findlay_Market_Cincinnati
{a view of Cincinnati’s Findlay Market}

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO
{rendering of north side of Soulard Market with new doors and trash collection}

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO
{rendering of Soulard Market with new exterior vendor doors and refurbished interior}

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO
{parking at Soulard Market}

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO
{possible alterations to crosswalks and Soulard Market park}
Master Plan for Soulard Market and Park – St. Louis, MO

Soulard Market - St. Louis, MO

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  • meddarnell

    The great Soulard Market needs a complete transformation to dignify its world renown reputation, not with garage doors, but with added stone/brick work, glass and steel. New polished concrete/stone, terrazzo floors and more expansion of the building itself. The market needs an additional building village concept and construction methodology. GET RID OF THE ASPHALT. Flower baskets, antique light posts, restructured below ground dumpster systems, additional ancillary buildings of distinctive retail and food, [eg. a coffee/tea house made of copper, steel, glass, etc.] Get rid of the playground. It’s a nuisance. This is a food and retail empire, not a jungle gym. Construct a broader loading dock system in the alleyways, complete with cooler/freezer systems, where vendor trucks can park without narrow lane restrictions. Reroute 7th street from Park, a couple of blocks east and hook back up by Russell, turning the area freed up into a massive gardened, fountained, brick and stone piazza/plaza, with additional stands, vendors, a streetcar line and parking, especially for busses, RV’s, etc. and many other additions and acquisitions to turn this great world famous market into the finest market system on earth. And, if by chance, the city would expand in population, then relocate those businesses east of Soulard Market and build 10000 new homes there with a state of the art flood wall, etc. and expand Soulard Market to include the old French Market into the Soulard-French Market District. The political winds say spend up to 14 million dollars to renovate. REDICULOUS. You get what you pay for and 14 million will get you just that- GARAGE DOORS. This is not a throw away, out of mind, lets be done with it albatross artist rendering. HAVE SOME DIGNITY AND RESPECT. This is Soulard Market. The pundits say what’s in your mind, here and I say, The Answer to your problems and dilemma. This should be a place that you won’t want to go home when you visit it. Yeah, that’s right.

    • Adam

      Pundits???

  • Imran

    We just can’t seem to shake this obsession with mediocre materials in the city. For a structure as significant as the Soulard Market couldn’t we at least propose something more than cheap metal awnings supported on concrete pillars? The siding on the gables, the round windows. It all seems so misplaced. Can’t a designer find inspiration in the history of the area? I mean all u have to do is walk the streets of Soulard.
    I am fine with the idea of the proposed changes. It is the renderings that look cheap.

    • This package is a feasibility study, meaning the direction of the package is to present ideas for the client’s needs and get the public’s reaction. The goal is not to produce a finished design, but to get an overall idea of the clients needs. Any finished design would be produced from a mix of the clients needs and the public’s reaction to the study. There are numerous items in the full proposal that are directed toward accessibility and necessary upkeep issues, those would be addressed before any major changes to the design of the market would be.

  • Rachel

    I like the renderings–much more modern and inviting. What we have now looks like a third-world market. I realize that including parking is necessary, but I would love to see more of an emphasis on alternative transportation because a lot of people do bike to the market. At the very least, throw in some bike racks out front!

    • There are bike racks on the north and south sides of the market.

  • RyleyinSTL

    It is clear the market needs vast improvements. The current building looks like a shitty flee market and practically ready to fall down in places and at the very least needs huge amounts of paint and tuckpointing work. I don’t necessarily feel that we need an indoor A/C environment. Based on how vendors currently use the space I don’t see it working anyway but the building needs to be more inviting. Improving parking, the park next door and trying to spur shopping in the surrounding blocks would be great as well.

    • Steve Kluth

      I don’t know if it was intentional or a Freudian slip, but I like calling Soulard Market a flee market. I’ve been to other markets both in the US and Europe, and what we have in STL really is a poor imitation of what a real market should be. If it wasn’t for the historic nature of the building, I’d suggest tearing it down and starting from scratch.

      I do like many ideas proposed here. I probably wouldn’t get rid of the bandstand. But it’s been so many years since I ventured to the market that I don’t remember it either so it would probably be no big loss. Seventh is rarely a busy street. I’d move southbound traffic to the northbound side of Seventh, move northbound traffic to a one-way Broadway from Russell to Park, and close the eastern half of Carroll between Seventh and Eighth to encourage more pedestrian traffic. Even better but more expensive would be to rip up both sides of Seventh and run it down the middle, planting trees on each side, and converting it to a short parkway.

      • I do not know what modot information you are deriving your 7th street statistics from, but 7th street is a major transportation route for the industrial companies in the Kosciusko neighborhoods, including Anheuser Busch InBev. I do agree 7th street needs major renovations, but unfortunately I don’t think they can minimize the size of the street, minus maybe parking.