Friday Live Chat

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live chat

It’s back, the Friday Live Chat. You know what to do – just use the comments section below. We’re open from 2-3pm today:

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  • The Blanke ownership built a gated parking lot for their tenants at Tucker and Choteau, and then demo’d their building to the east – any idea if they’re planning something behind that lot?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Believe they may add parking, but not sure. The good news is that the building has demand for parking, the bad news is that there may be more parking.

  • Mike B

    I saw a tweet about a new building at Oakland and Skinker for an insurance group. Any specs on this? Seems like buildings are already there…demo and rebuild?

  • Mike B

    Any rumblings about new Schlafly or Billy Busch’s Kraftig breweries?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Schlafly seems to be on hold as it focuses on capacity expansion at the current location in Maplewood. Nothing new on Kraftig – still growing and aspiring to build in STL.

  • tony

    So what is the deal with the group of warehouses on Park Ave. in Botanical
    Heights – the former home of Liggett and Myers/Star Tobacco? I see a portion
    listed for lease on the CBRE website under Ben Friedman. Were there ever any residential or rehab plans? The building with the stack is very neat, and looks to be in great condition. Can’t seem to tell what part of the complex that the companies to
    the east occupy (Willert Home Products and Graco Wine). Do you see anything happening with the growth around Tower Grove Ave. and McRee Ave expanding? The area would be great for SLU Med/CG employees.

    • Alex Ihnen

      The good and bad is that the complex is huge and in good condition – meaning it’s occupied and usable as-is. I’m sure a developer would look at it, but it might not become available at a bargain price.

      • tony

        From the lease site it looks like only 4130 is available, wasn’t sure about the stack building. Hopefully one day we will have complete blocks there with better access under 44 and no cul-de-sacs. Thanks!

  • Would St. Louis benefit from a more united/coherent city marketing campaign (i.e. spend more money on it)? Maybe something more up to date/true/urban/alluring… Seems we have a lot to offer (affordable, foodie, architecture, sports, business headquarters, etc) or are we too far from where we should be to start attempting to attract people/business to the region? or maybe should we at least change the current STL national conversation?

    • Alex Ihnen

      St. Louis has problems, no doubt. So. Does. Every. City.

      The best time to start a more united/coherent city marketing campaign that’s more up to date/true/urban/alluring is yesterday. The second best time is today.

  • rgbose

    When is the nextSTL happy hour?

    • Alex Ihnen

      That sir is a great question. It remains in the planning stages, but soon, soon.

      • any early goals for this group? other than a good drink. 🙂

        • Alex Ihnen

          Plotting, scheming mostly.

          We’ll see. I’d like to have some kind of program, even if a 10min chat, but the main idea would be to provide a forum for people to connect in person.

        • rgbose

          I propose a long term goal to get the urbanist point of view more politically organized, push legislation and propositions, identify and back better, good, great candidates for municipal offices in the region.

          For instance anyone who voted against the stadium funding could see well funded opposition.

        • I see no more worthy or higher purpose than a good drink.

  • Michael B

    This might be pure speculation, but do you have any guess on what the chances are that the NGA stays in St. Louis City? That Illinois deal seems just too perfect and I worry about the agency’s future in the city.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes, complete speculation. In hindsight the choice will be obvious. It’s important for the city to keep NGA here.

      • If/when NGA falls into the northSTL location – does the McKee/Northside/etc momentum begin to flood in? or are they on their own timeline? or do you think it will never happen?

        • Seems McKee’s doing just fine with his City-approved land-bank scheme…

        • Alex Ihnen

          Yes. It’s still a huge area that will take decades to develop, but we should expect housing and other development to follow the NGA.

  • Working for a Chamber of Commerce in Chicago now (and previously for one in St. Louis), it seems the relationship between the City and its neighborhood organizations — be they Chambers, citizen groups, development corps, etc. — is much stronger and, consequently, more empowering in CHI. Whereas the City seems to hold its community groups at arm’s length in STL, in Chicago they’ve all become additional arms!

    Does this jibe with what you see and hear from those working to improve their neighborhoods in STL? It seems the City’s approach to neighborhood support is, if not insincere, at least very, very slipshod.

    • Alex Ihnen

      IMO – the aldermen in STL City have a very close relationship with neighborhood organizations. I don’t think this is always a positive. And if nothing else, very few alderman have any vision for the city outside their 10,000 resident ward. There are good and not-so-good groups operating in the city, and instead of the city keeping them at arm’s length, it would be great to see more proactive support. This may start happening with CDCs as the community block grant funding awards are now competitive, meaning it’s not just divided by 28 and left to aldermen. The result is fewer CDCs (community development corporations). One example is the Tower Grove group led by Sean Spencer (there’s a Future Great City podcast with him) which now covers about 30,000 residents and isn’t confined to a ward.

      • Great point with the revised CDGB process. All projects are not created equal — and diluting the money pool from the get-go just so each alderman gets his or her equal piece limits the grant’s ability to produce meaningful improvements.

        The process for approving the creation of, and overseeing the successful management of, the many BIDs, CIDs, RZs, TIDs and TODs (ha!) could be better dictated, from the City side too. I’d love to see a map of exactly where these are located in STL. Know of one?

        • Alex Ihnen

          I don’t, and it’s changing quickly. Would be great to get a snapshot of it though.

          • Good lazy weekend project. Might see what I can dig up through the City’s website. Here’s hoping that very important info will be cataloged in one easy-to-use space…

  • Ben Harvey

    Sorry to bombard you with questions, but when do you expect we will hear about any BPV part 2?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve heard nothing for a few months. My best guess is we’ll see project near BPV before in BPV.

  • Jim Arsenault

    what do you think happens next at the Maryland School site in Clayton now that another revision has been shot down? What do you think people in that area would be happy with?

  • Ben Harvey

    Any news on Lacledes Landing? News has been quiet lately about those parking garages and whatnot planned

    • Alex Ihnen

      Nothing. IMO everyone was/is waiting to see what happens with the convention center/dome and north riverfront. It’s perpetually called a valuable development site, with very little development.

  • Will the Loop Trolley perform better or worse than Atlanta’s streetcar? (context)

    • Alex Ihnen

      Worse.

    • Alex P

      I’m no optimist on the Loop Trolley but one advantage it has over the Atlanta Streetcar is the longer route. Atlanta’s is really only 1.25 miles long. The Loop Trolley will be over 2 miles. However, they will expand Atlanta’s route, the trolley, doubtful.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Real guestimates here, but ATL had 800K riders last year (it was free all year). So far this year (and it’s early), it’s on pace for 270K riders (fare is now $1). Perhaps the Loop Trolley does better than 270K in year one, but fares will be more than $1, operating hours will likely be shorter, and we still don’t know anything about Metro transfers or management.