Drury, Lawrence Group Eye Residential Development, Parking Garages for Laclede’s Landing

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{conceptual rendering of Drury proposal for Laclede's Landing infill – image by geoffksu}

The Drury Development Corporation in partnership with the Lawrence Group are in the preliminary design stages of transforming the two block surface parking lot in the southwest corner of Laclede's Landing adjacent to Eads Bridge and Third Street. The site has been discussed as the location of a parking garage if it is determined one is needed to replace the North Arch Garage. CityArchRiver plans to demolish the Arch garage as part of the revamp of the grounds.

The Drury proposal is considering a residential tower in the southwest corner bordered by Eads Bridge, Second Street, Lucas Avenue and Third Street, with an attached two-level parking structure and a separate parking structure at the block just north bordered by Morgan Street Brewery, Second Street, Lucas Avenue and Third Street. The new parking structure could consolidate parking for Bi-State (Metro), Abstrakt Marketing Group and Landshire employees, who currently use the Arch garage and scattered surface lots. Metro is currently considering moving out of Laclede's Landing.

The parking study related to the Arch grounds project (below) concluded that additional parking capacity is not needed for the Arch grounds. A re-oriented underground Museum of Westward Expansion will have a new western entrance, closer to the existing (and underutilized) Kiener and Ballpark East parking garages that the North Arch Garage is to today's museum entrance.

A few challenges remain for the development plan, including concerns about traffic flow and the MoDOT and City Streets Department rework of area streets. Drury and Lawrence Group met with the City last week to forward this proposal for considering. It's expected that the city will support the proposal.

MoDOT CityArchRiver update 8-30-2012
{schematic of planned changes to the street network as part of CityArchRiver project}

While access would come from a reworked Third Street, the building would stare directly at the elevated lanes of Interstate 70. The 1.4-mile stretch of I-70 from the Poplar Street Bridge to the new Mississippi River Bridge (MRB) has been targeted for removal by City to River, a citizen group advocating for better connections between St. Louis City and the Mississippi River (I serve as a member of this group). The Drury proposal would clearly benefit from, and may anticipate the conversion of elevated I-70 (from Washington Avenue to the new MRB) to an urban boulevard.

It's unclear what guidelines or restrictions might in place to help shape the development. Laclede's Landing is not a local historic district, the designation that allows for strict community guidelines of rehab and development activity, such as the size and placement of windows, use of materials and more. While the Fifth Ward has opted out of the city's preservation review process, it's listing on the National Register of Historic Places does trigger demolition review. There is no form-based code overlay for the district. Absent prescriptive regulations, Laclede's Landing is clearly historic and there will be pressure for any new development to be context sensitive.

City to River vision
{rendering by City to River of possible infill with elevated I-70 removed – Drury site center-right}

{map by City to River of development potential of a boulevard in place of I-70 downtown}

{CityArchRiver envisions an active park space in place of the North Arch Garage and Washington Avenue}

{the new entrance to the Museum of Westward Expansion will be neared existing downtown parking}

Arch Parking Alternatives Study by nextSTL

*nextSTL Froum member geoffksu contributed to this story

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  • BW

    Not my vision of a tower! Let’s get something taller in there!

    • geoffksu

      To fit within the context of the Landing it would not be any taller than 8 stories – the former cast iron and brick warehouses in the Landing were all constructed prior to steel construction and thus limited their total height.

      • Presbyterian

        I’d think we could allow this block to build taller in exchange for a lower height in the 50 riverfront blocks directly to the south. By my calculation, with an average max. height of 8 stories for the riverfront, the Drury tower should be required to stay below…

        … (8 stories x 50 blocks) – (50 blocks x 0 stories for existing height ) -3 for buffer of some sort to appease someone somewhere …

        Yes. Got it. The Drury tower should be required to stay below 397 stories.

        So please, no tower over 4768 feet on this site.

        • geoffksu

          You forgot the ‘unofficial’ City law where no building can be taller than the Arch…

          So you are capped at ~63 stories.

          • Presbyterian

            Well, okay, but you can build five of those.

          • jhoff1257

            63 stories is still 20 stories taller than any other building we have.

  • Adam

    two parking structures within a couple blocks of one another… welcome to St. Louis!

  • Simon Nogin

    Didn’t see anything in the “ARCH PARKING ALTERNATIVES STUDY” above that even considered an underground parking garage utilizing the depressed lanes of I-70. Are there clear reasons why this wouldn’t be feasible or shouldn’t be considered? To me it seems like there are more pros than cons, and just makes sense to do.

    • Neither City+Arch+River nor the Missouri Department of Transportation are interested in removing I-70. When pressed for an answer, each will say it’s the other’s purview and, as such, neither will consider it (though they do “appreciate your involvement and suggestions. It’s important that we hear from and work with the citizens of St. Louis to make this project a success…”).

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes, there isn’t a need for more parking and if there were, utilizing the area for an underground garage would much more expensive than other solutions. In addition, it would be on the edge of the CBD where parking is in less demand.

      • Isn’t the whole point of the boulevard conversion though to increase demand all along Memorial? With the renewed Archgrounds to the east and the underground parking in place under an improved, approachable Memorial Blvd, it can help encourage development/activity that would warrant the additional expense. If there’s suddenly stores, restaurants and other commercial efforts on Memorial Blvd.’s west edge, it ceases to be “on the edge” as much.

        I’m fine with just a boulevard, but if we’ve got the possibility to utilize the space underneath (I’m not considering digging down through Luther Ely Smith Park in this instance) the road, I think it’s better to have it than not. And it does double duty by removing the need for a behemoth garage on either of the Landings!

      • Simon Nogin

        Reply to Alex Ihnen:
        Just comparing with the development and improvements of the last 10 years, and assuming they will only speed up, I think the city will be very populated 30+ years from now. We have too much parking now, but what about in the future?
        If its being proposed to build a new 3-4 story parking garage in the landing, (google tells me this could cost $6-8million), I can’t imagine using an already dugout roadway to cost much more than that – though I can’t find info on the cost of a project like this, so I’m not sure how you are determining that it costs too much.
        Central Business District is where parking is in less of a demand? That may be true now, but what about in 10+ years? Your post and that study say 40% of the Arch ground garage was being utilized when the study was done, and Metro, “Abstrakt Marketing Group and Landshire employees” currently use the Arch garage and scattered surface lots. Using Kevin Barbeau’s link: http://www.gatewaystreets.org/2010/memorial-drive-parking-garage/ this underground garage idea would provide more spaces than the current arch grounds garage (almost 1000 more spots) but couldn’t it help eliminate the need for the surface lots that exist all over sections A,B,D in the parking study in your post? Those surface lots are convenient which is why they are utilized, but as property prices go up in the city won’t these lots eventually be developed and a need for parking begin to climb?
        Many of these surface lots hold much less than half the vehicles the current arch grounds garage holds, and it’s the 4th largest parking garage in the A,B,C,D area! The arch grounds garage is not the most accessible parking structure for drivers and it’s away from the city, probably why it sits relatively empty. Sure the CBD may not need too much parking now, and sure those businesses can rely on surface parking in the meantime, but what about down the road (pun intended).
        This link describes the Millennium Park garages: http://www.millenniumgarages.com/grant-park/
        it says in the bottom left of that page, “Millennium Garages is the most convenient parking facility in Chicago. Located in the heart of the city…[they] are merely minutes away from the Chicago business district, restaurants, and landmarks.” If their CBD utilizes centrally located parking that benefits visitors and residents, why wouldn’t it work for our growing city?
        I know very little about city development and I really appreciate the work you and all of nextSTL do, but I don’t see evidence behind what you are saying. I know it’s a long reply but I would really like to hear what you have to say.

  • Don

    Removing I-70 from that part of downtown would be transformative. I want to do everything I can to support removal, and lobby everyone whose opinion counts.

    Even a few years ago it would have been unthinkable that those ugly overhead interstate lanes could be removed.

    • T-Leb

      Broad coalition is the way.

      • Don

        And nothing is going to happen until developers with the financial wherewithal to actually build want I-70 gone from downtown.

        Much of South City uses I-70 (via 55 and 44) thru downtown for convenient access to N. County jobs and airport — something the Mayor and alderman know very well.

  • Exactly the way I assume it would look — although, I’d wager that two-story garage on 2nd Street would end up being closer to 3-5. It’s not a dreadful plan, by any means, but when garages take up more than 60% of the footprint, it certainly can’t be considered good.

    With a two-level (three, counting the roof) Second Street garage, fat chance getting them to use any of that frontage for commercial. And the garage just north of the development would effectively wall off the district from the City — not something you want in place if/when I-70 comes tumblin’ down.

    The thing that MUST be taken into consideration is that with Washington Avenue gone (dumb idea), drivers would be forced down 2nd Street via Laclede’s Landing Blvd. to access the 2nd Street garage. Currently, Laclede’s Landing is very pedestrian-friendly on weekend nights — so much so that the City police regularly gate up the street between LL Blvd., Lucas and 1st to allow free and easy access/bar-hopping for visitors. By funneling all the garage traffic down the main stretch, the noise and congestion would ruin (yes, ruin) the experience.

    I think you know my stance — halve/pretty up the existing garage and keep Washington Avenue. The reason for that stance is that I knew this is exactly how they would make up for it — by plopping more parking on the Landing and destroying even more of its character.

    If they’re looking for more parking, Gateway Streets nailed it a couple years back ( http://www.gatewaystreets.org/2010/memorial-drive-parking-garage/ ) and I piggybacked ( http://yastlblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/revisiting-memorial-drive-parking.html ). Replace the depressed lanes with parking access a la Michigan Drive to retain parking, remove the elevated lanes to open up development opportunities for new residential/commercial (btw…I really like the designs envisioned by City to River), and start building to the Landing’s strength…which SHOULD be walkability and freedom to explore the historic streets.

    • mark

      or they could just put parking underground…ever thought of that?

      • I have. But then I realized that, for some reason, that’s not how parking garages are done in St. Louis. It’s all build up, not down…

        Believe me, I’m all for inclusive options — but I know too well that the borderline absurd parking requirements in our central city and the implementation/design of garages pretty much standardized as single-use concrete pours/molds (with maaaybe some ornamentation or commercial element) will make that a near impossibility.

        You only need look across (under?) I-70 at Hampton Inn and MAC for examples.

    • geoffksu

      Lucas Avenue would be re-constructed as a street and allow any traffic to enter the garage from Third Street and exit back onto Third Street, so in essence, Second Street would remain pedestrian-oriented at all times.

      • John R

        So although the rendering above doesn’t show it (at least well), I assume the tower will be on the south of Lucas and the garage on the north?

        • geoffksu


        • Yep. That’s what it looks like. The current entrance to CitiPark is the right-of-way for a connected Lucas Street. So going north, the plan shows Eads Bridge > residential (6-8 stories?) > Lucas Street > parking garage (3-4 stories?) > Morgan Street Brewery > Morgan Street.

          Of course, as mentioned in the article — the image at top isn’t an official release from Drury; just a conceptual model by one of us nextSTL’ers.

      • Presbyterian

        Will Third St. and Memorial Drive both remain (with that awkward, narrow no-man’s land in between)? From one of the CAR renderings, it looks like Third might disappear at this point, leaving the Drury block fronting Memorial Drive. Admittedly, I find the CAR transportation renderings pretty hard to follow.

        • My understanding is that there’s a plan circulating that removed third street entirely and basically run a pavilion from the lot line over to “Memorial Drive.”

          geoffsku, that was your company’s doings, right?

          [EDIT: Found it! Here are the renderings provided by geoff in the forum thread: https://nextstl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=8593&start=135

          • geoffksu

            I think what you’re thinking of is what MVVA has designed for underneath the elevated highway – its called ‘Light Lanterns’ and are designed to provide lighting underneath and close off large spaces and focus pedestrian movement in a concentrated area in order to alleviate the monolithic appearance of the structure when you are standing underneath of it.

        • geoffksu

          See images for further clarification:

          • Presbyterian

            Awesome. Thank you!

    • Simon Nogin

      Kevin, that’s exactly what I suggested in yesterdays nextSTL fb photo post:
      It’s a great idea to turn the depressed lanes of I-70 into underground parking with a boulevard on top!

  • Simon Nogin

    “A re-oriented underground Museum of Westward Expansion will have a new western entrance, closer to the existing (and underutilized) Kiener and Ballpark East parking garages that the North Arch Garage is to today’s museum entrance.”
    Good to know, wouldn’t have thought this to be the case.

    • mjl

      But the walk to the Kiener/Ballpark garages is uphill and crosses several streets instead of the walk on a tree shaded path too the North arch garage.

  • Presbyterian

    I hope Drury moves forward with this. And I hope those elevated lanes eventually disappear. Standing under that highway, it’s hard to believe you’re just one block from the Missouri Athletic Club on Washington.