IKEA_Muni Courts_blogging_Open/Closed_nextSTL evolution_contributors_CORTEX

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What else… this is something of an editor’s notes column I plan to run whenever I think of it. It’s an add-on, brain dump, non-linked or illustrated post intended to expand on issues with nextSTL and perhaps reveal a little more of the who-where-what-when-why of the site itself. We’ll see how it goes.
IKEA – I decided to post the IKEA piece after discussing sources and information about the prospective project with co-author Geoff Whittington. Geoff has deep ties in St. Louis and many good sources that have proven credible on issues large and small over years. I spent time looking into the information independently and was able to confirm what Geoff had drafted. We were also able to confirm that what we were being told wasn’t simply a rumor loop, or feedback from a single source. Anyway, in the end it was my judgment to post the piece.
Why? Well, as was shown, it’s big news. One can question the value of it, or the judgment in posting, but this seems rather simple. I mean, innumerable tech websites like MacRumors, Engadget, etc. endlessly speculate on the latest iPhone specs. So does the NY Times, WSJ, etc. And of course terabytes of space are used to speculate on professional sports, contracts, trades, injuries, lineups and more, and all in advance of the event or much information. It’s unclear to me how this is materially different. Somehow the things that actually affect our city and our daily lives as residents should be left unspoken?
I understand that nextSTL floats somewhere between a traditional publication such as the Post-Dispatch and a simple speculative blog, it’s a good place to be, but we’re not all of the above. This is something new. What we consider "media" is changing. Why would anyone read a blog that covered press releases and events after the fact? Maybe the next post will have more expansive thoughts on the how, why and who cares on that issue.
Anyway, we’re sticking with the IKEA story (of course). We do know that the Forest Park Avenue site is the focus of the city, Pace and IKEA for their St. Louis store. Now we wait like everyone else and see if it actually happens. We’ll have more on Laclede Gas and their interest, or non-interest in the site soon as well. In the end it’s flattering that others would seek to examine what we report. It’s welcomed. For what it's worth, we published the same rote corporate denial the Post-Dispatch posted the following day. For whatever reason, some latched onto the P-D web posting as a definitive denial of the nextSTL piece. That's difficult to understand. The St. Louis Business Journal did confirm a couple days later, what nextSTL reported first, that Pace Properties is representing IKEA in their location search in St. Louis.
nextSTL evolution – So nextSTL isn’t what it was and won’t be what it is. What it is ain’t exactly clear…there’s a man with a gun over there… Or something. Actually, there is a man with a conceal-carry permit over there, but that’s for another blog post. Anyway, nextSTL is evolving and I look forward to having its mission(s) be more clear. In short, there’s news, commentary and advocacy. These are conflated often on the current site and need to be sorted. In addition, there are events, co-sponsored and otherwise. There are new opportunities all the time. I’m constantly sorting through them and trying to understand how we can have the greatest impact. The site’s limits are currently my limits – whatever time I have. What gets covered, and what doesn’t, is largely my choice and often dictated by my limits. This too is changing as a more regular cast of contributors get on board. This group will continue to grow and I welcome a wide range of interests. In some respects the site will cover what contributors wish to cover. It would be great to see more writing focused on education, for example. Interested in a book club? We can promote, find a location, sometimes moderate, etc., but need individuals willing to lead. The more ideas the better. In the end, nextSTL should help you learn about St. Louis. There are many ways of getting there.
What else… the Open/Closed conference on vacant land will likely happen, though much later on the calendar than April, as it has occurred the past two years. I assisted with the conference before and will likely do so again, but more people are always needed. Get if touch in you’re interested. For those who noticed, the interview with Hasan Adelani was posted and then removed. The interview predated an agreement to not disclose particular aspects or ideas surrounding the development. The posting of the interview postdated that agreement. In time, it will be reposted. Other looming issues? CORTEX is taking off, BJC is ready to go with their north end of the medical campus redevelopment, Shriners should have steel work up soon…always a lot happening. If we’re missing something, feel free to pass it along, and I’m happy to discuss issues presented here, or just about anything in general, in the comments below.


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  • rhack2

    Alex… IMHO, criticism came to your post because the headline “IKEA SET to Build Near SLU…” has a clearly definitive tone to it. The response to your post likely would have been different had the headline been “IKEA Considering Forest Park Ave. Site…”

    I appreciate your site very much for the attention it shines on positive urban development projects. I think there is plenty of room for your posts to speculate on new development rumors or even projects you’d like to see come to reality. Personally, I’d to start the drive for a one-way downtown loop trolley that goes South on Broadway to Clark, turning to head West to 18th, turning to head North to Washington, turning to head East to Broadway. It would address so many of the limitations of downtown.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Don

      That was always my take on the criticism. The story itself made clear that this was far from a done deal, but the headline suggested otherwise.

      • Alex Ihnen

        That’s fair. It was my headline and was changed after consideration. It’s tough because it’s more than a rumor, or a consideration. This is the site for the project, but of course nothing’s done until it’s done. I still believe that they’re set to build here – assuming “i”s get dotted and “t”s crossed.

        • Don

          Understood and it’s easy enough to say that without conveying it’s a done deal, when they don’t even own the site — Which by the way, I think your article did.

    • Simon Nogin

      That’s the exact route I’ve thought about as well, why has no one talked about a trolley servicing the central downtown area?

      • jhoff1257

        A proposal for a Downtown to Central West End Streetcar (including a line up 14th to the Near North) was just announced a couple weeks ago. It was covered on this site. Metro currently operates the “Downtown Trolley” which is a bus route that circles the Central Business District and it’s attractions.

  • Simon Nogin

    nextSTL has quickly moved up to be my most visited site because it isn’t as plain and opinionated as a blog, but also not as complicated as a real publication. Instead, nextSTL is the perfect in-between. The open dialogue here is something I’ve never seen before, and it makes me glad our region has this great website to communicate about the development of our wonderful region. Not only do you offer a voice to residents of the metropolitan area, but the Mods/Authors/Contributors aren’t afraid to comment and discuss themselves.

    Personally, the IKEA post was great and very informative. I understand why some readers feel it is just gossip, realistically though nextSTL has proven itself to be a primary source for anything STL over and over again. It was a great post, like the majority of the posts have been, and I love the work you guys do.
    Thanks nextSTL

    • Alex Ihnen

      Hey, thanks for the big vote of confidence. It is greatly appreciated.