nextSTL Top 10 Stories of 2014

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It’s been a big year for nextSTL. More than 280 articles from two dozen contributors have appeared on this site. St. Louis continues to change in ways big and small and we will continue to cover and comment on the choices and decisions that create our community. Thanks for reading along. We’re looking forward to a great 2015, but first, here are the top 10 most read articles on nextSTL this year:

The Standard - St. Louis, MO
10. 164-Unit Residential Infill to Replace Mobil Gas Station in Burgeoning Midtown
“The Standard” a 164-unit 465-bed residential apartment project is set to replace the Mobil gas station at Forest Park Avenue and Vandeventer in the city’s Midtown neighborhood. The infill project adds to a continuing boom in central corridor residential construction and continues the complete remaking of this corner of the City of St. Louis. (update: Midtown Residential Project The Standard Gets Revised Look)

NorthSide Regeneration - St. Louis, MO
9. City Set to Offer Pruitt-Igoe and Additional 22 City Blocks to Keep 3,000 NGA Jobs
When nextSTL learned that Pruitt-Igoe was one of six sites in the St. Louis area being considered for building a new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency it kind of made sense. The 34-acre site has been vacant for decades and is much larger than the current NGA home at the historic arsenal on the south riverfront. (update: NGA Goes Public with 136-Acre Plan for North St. Louis City)

8. Gentrification May Not Mean What You Think It Means in a City Like St. Louis
Most research on revitalizing neighborhoods views them as instances of “gentrification,” the movement of young, often single, professionals into low-income, heavily minority, neighborhoods near urban employment centers. The dominant view in the literature is that low-income and minority residents are pushed out by gentrification as the local culture and consumption patterns are taken over by upwardly mobile professionals.

7. The Powerful Symbolism of Shutting Down an Interstate
There was a time that the Interstate highway was a symbol of freedom. There was a time when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch could use urban highways to sell ads. “ST. LOUIS Plans the future – with action TODAY!” reads a piece of civic boosterism. “St. Louisans will drive downtown in half the time with these New Multilaned Freeways.” This was a lie sold to cities and the monied white establishment. That overcrowding, the vacancy, the people who don’t look like you? In a progressive future you can fly right past it all.

6. Nowhere City at Vandeventer and Forest Park
Within the next year, the intersection of Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues – a crossroads between downtown and the Central West End, the Tower Grove neighborhoods and north city – might well look like any intersection anywhere. Anywhere but a hand-built older city, that is. The alluring yellow-and-blue big box of IKEA will join with an anemic cement-board student apartment spread and a potential strip mall.

5. $70 Million Amusement Park Project Next Phase for Union Station Redevelopment
nextSTL has learned the highly anticipated second phase of redevelopment at Union Station will feature a $70 million amusement park along with varying retail outlets. According to documents obtained by nextSTL, Union Station owner Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) is requesting $18.5 million in TIF money to assist the project.

Net migration and Millennials in the City of St. Louis
4. Millennials are Saving St. Louis, and Why We Need More of Them
The Millennials are coming! The Millennials are coming! For St. Louis, some seem unsure whether Paul Revere or Chicken Little is the messenger. This past decade, 20 to 34 year-olds moved into the City of St. Louis at a higher rate than at any time in the past half century, by far. The Millennial generation, those born in the early 1980s to 2000, are credited with revitalizing urban neighborhoods across the nation. They’re also mocked for wearing tight jeans, riding steel bicycles, and enjoying craft beer. But only the willfully ignorant or those preening on the journalistic crutch of self-righteous certainty bestowed upon them by decades of the same, can deny the massive and unprecedented demographic shift that is remaking our inner cities.


3. Washington University Set for Major Transformation of Danforth Campus
Washington University in St. Louis is set to embark on its most significant campus transformation in a century. The plan envisions six new academic buildings in engineering and art and architecture, the closure of Hoyt and Brookings Drives, a reimagined landscape, and 900-space underground parking garage.

2. Chesterfield to Get Region’s Second IKEA (Yes, this was an April Fool’s Day post. So no, Chesterfield is not getting an IKEA)
Even before ground has been broken for the Ikea in the City of St. Louis, nextSTL has learned that a second location is being finalized in the Chesterfield Valley. While many expressed surprised at the location of the first Ikea, the second may be more of what residents in the region expected. Reached for comment, Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation hailed the move as further evidence of Chesterfield’s extraordinary growth, “Twenty years ago, this area was literally under water,” he said, referring to the 1993 flood that inundated the Valley. “Now look at it. That’s progress.” (the City of St. Louis IKEA)

Sweetie Pies at The Grove
1. Sweetie Pies Set to Expand Outside St. Louis with Knowles Investment
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal, Sweetie Pie’s, the soul-food restaurant made famous by the reality TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pies on the Oprah Winfrey Network, will soon have another big name on board. The three-location restaurant is close to finalizing a deal with Matthew Knowles, father of international recording superstar and actress Beyoncé.

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