Lighthouse St. Louis Development Seeks to Reclaim Flood-prone City Site

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Lighthouse Saint Louis

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Developer Adam Hartig envisions an 84-acre mixed-used development at the far northern tip of St. Louis City. The $250M plan includes a hotel, retail, restaurants, condos, and marina. The site is north of Interstate 270 next to the Mississippi River.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the site was under water in 1993, and again several years later. The North Shore Golf Course closed as a result. A $55M first phase would see a gas station, convenience store, boat ramp, visitors’ center, event center, and other amenities, including a connection to the Riverfront Trail and Chain of Rocks Bridge.

Lighthouse STL_map

The plan is for groundbreaking to take place summer 2016. The developer told the Post-Dispatch that the project would seek no public incentives or tax breaks. This would appear to mean that no TIF, TOD, or tax abatement will be sought.

With flooding in St. Louis this week bringing area rivers to heights not seen since 1993, there’s no word whether the site is currently under water. Over the past few years, the site was raised 10 feet with infill dirt. This brought the site above the 100-year flood plain.

Lighthouse STL_3

Lighthouse Saint Louis 2

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  • John Pav

    Hopefully it will flood this spring to push along the clean up the contaminated ground

    – Toastdispatch

  • Jack Bowe

    What effect would a lighthouse have on all of the local bird populations? People come from all of to the confluence to visit the bird sanctuaries. I’d like to see the plan with the lighthouse—is it fully functioning or just built for show?

    Seems like this would be one hell of an issue if it drives away bald eagles, egrets, and all of the wetlands bird populations.

    We should be creating and designing attractions that highlight and enhance our natural strengths, especially along the riverfront– not compromising what makes it special.

  • citylover

    Just drove by this site yesterday and there are scattered bulldozers and dirt piles. There’s also a little mobile that said the name of a developer. Couldn’t read it though. But things are moving on the lighthouse project

  • Thom

    This was a very intetesting idea you posted. Any new updates on this revitalization?

    • Alex Ihnen

      It is…interesting. We’ve heard nothing since then. FWIW, I looked down at the site from my flight this AM and it looked like nothing had changed.

  • STLEnginerd

    i wish NGIA had been willing to consider this site…. If they wanted a rural isolated site this one would have been perfect. The city could have offered it as an alternative to centrally located option.

    This IS a decent place for a marina, as barge traffic bypasses the area via the lock and dam. The hazard of the chain of rocks is real but could be dealt with using bouy’s or markers of some kind and the river tends to move slower at the confluence than it does through St. Louis proper. Recreational boating is far more common up there.
    That said the proposal is VERY underwhelming. If you are looking at marina’s the more natural complement is residential, and retail entertainment district, i.e. Rockwall Harbor in the Dallas area. Unfortunately the socioeconomic demographics of the surrounding area probably would not support that sort of thing at this time so instead they build a Menards, and call it mixed use…

    • Steve Kluth

      NGA would never have considered this site. They had a large operation at 8900 South Broadway that flooded in 1993. All you see now is a large empty parking lot between Broadway and the casino just south of River Des Peres.

  • So much for the Galloway report.

  • jhoff1257

    So you want a water-side development with a marina? I know the perfect place…Laclede’s Landing. There’s no way a residential/marina project wouldn’t sell down there. You could even build it into GRG’s plan to connect the new Arch grounds to the “future stadium” site.

    Also why announce this in the middle of a flood un seen since 1993?

    • Tim E

      I can understand your point but just can’t see a marina built in front of Laclede’s Landing for small/recreational boats happening or really think is a good spot. The river narrows and runs fast. Just getting the infrastructure around the marina built to protect small boats from constant debris would make the economics of it tough to justify
      I really think this part of the river just below the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri River without having to go through a lock to get access to the Missouri River is not a bad spot for boaters and fishermen in the region.

      • jhoff1257

        So then kill the marina and just build on Laclede’s Landing.

        • Tim E

          Good point, would love to see Drury family follow through with residential and or hotel or both on their Lacledes Landing property that they already own outright I believe.. I also think Laclede’s Landing would make a great corporate location for a company like Bunge NA with so much of trade in commodities moving up and down the Big Muddy itself. Those two proposals would finally spur some residential infill. Now if someone with the cash would listen to us.
          .
          It would be disappointing to see a Drury Inn hotel pop up at this location just as they built a freeway hotel on Brentwood Ave instead of the hotel they proposed for Kingshighway/I64 interchange rendering a while back that had some great form I thought.

    • Don

      If I understand this correctly, This is just above the Chain of Rocks low water dam which is the worst possible place to put a marina. So much so that I’m having a hard time imagining the Corps of Engineers approving the marina for boater safety reasons.

      I’ve posted here before of the cities serious need for a transient boat dock, and the embarrassment of being legendary river city with no place to dock. However, this location really doesn’t solve any problems.

      Jhoff is right. It needs to be on the Landing if it is to benefit the city.

  • Daron

    Retail and recreational waterfronts are great ideas. This just does it badly.

    Look at the East Coast Park in Singapore. It has multiple green steps rising in elevation from the shore with retail at quite some distance past several waterfront trails that run parallel to each other. The buildings respect the beach and the utility of the trees to mitigate strong winds.

    This development is aimed at the highway not the riverfront.

  • SnakePilssken

    This should stay flood land. I don’t see this plan happening.

    • Tim E

      I definitely seeing part of it happening, especially parts of the first phase. As Daron noted correctly, this development is first and foremost at the highway. Later phases may be aimed at the river but who knows if they will be built and to wait scale, how much more infill and so on.

  • Tim E

    From google earth it appears the high ground/infill is closest to the interchange and why the first phase would include gas station/convenience store. Wouldn’t be surprised if Quicktrip, etc. isn’t already lined up with high traffic visible corridor in I270 located in a state with cheaper gas & cig taxes as well as pays out lotto winnings. Probably why he is not seeking incentives on phase I. Assume future phases will be a different story.
    Having marina in the future phases and connections to trails would be seem like a great fit. I do wonder if the trail connections could be placed better as the site plan appears to have them make a goofy mid point tie in before trails go back in and next to the river
    .
    Confused about the events space. Does the market support it? Appears stand alone from hotel? Sounds good in the development plan but trying to grasp if it would even be feasible and or supported considering all the competition from the various arenas, hotel conference space, casino space, and so on in the region.

  • Daron

    This is very stupid and should not happen. Wetland restoration and spillways are needed everywhere along the river. Higher ground and parking lots just lead to faster currents in a narrower river and future flood waters with nowhere to go. If you want to prevent floods where you live, you have to let floods happen where you don’t. Riverfront infrastructure should accommodate changes in water level not block it altogether. There shouldn’t be one riverfront trail, but several at various elevations so some can go under water and some don’t. We can develop the riverfront without destroying it.

    • DCWind

      I agree with you here, in part. It would be nice, on a site of this size and location, to see a little bit of both. There could be considerable integration of development and wetland/floodplain conservation here, with a bit more creative planning. While I understand that this site is not in the urban core and does not need to worry about increasing density, the vastness and overwhelming look of the sea of parking reminds me of a casino, not a mixed use development that is trying to become a regional destination, as well as one for people traveling into or exiting the state via the highway. I think the idea is there, but would love to see the planning massaged to accommodate a bit more of the GRG/conservation idea, along with possibly current, but definitely future, density. That being said, Big Muddy is big, fast, dynamic and powerful. Those 4 combine to create a very difficult mix for riverfront planning.

    • Tim E

      Have to agree in part too, I would find a floodable nine hole golf course incorporated with wetlands/creek better suited for the low ground then more infill only to have another event center built on top of it. The hotel, maybe with conference space, can be better sited along with some structured parking with help from incentives to reduce footprint.
      .
      I say in part, because some the of the damage is already done as their is already high ground located on the site that is above flood plain. Personally I support private development/advocate private property rights as well as support and willing to pay taxes for public purchase/maintaining of greenways/floodplains. I think both can happen.

    • Tim E

      As far as the stupid part, St. Louis already has a regional body with a tax base that St. Louis City/County residents recently voted to increased as well has an authority to buy property for public use in the GRG. What is stupid to me is why they went out of their way to buy up property/lots on Laclede’s Landing for more green space. This a great vehicle to expand greenways and protect creeks/wetlands/floodable space over the long run. In some respects it is like the MSD creating a demolition fund in the name of better storm water runoff management. Some better planning and thinking needs to happen with regional bodies already in place.