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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  • Alex Ihnen

    And that’s a wrap for today – thanks for joining!

  • Frank Absher

    Alex: Any word on the status of redevelopment of the old Southside Y and Pelican Restaurant on S. Grand?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Working on that…thought I’d hear back by now…hope to share soon. 🙂

  • Imran

    Wasn’t downtown working on a Form-Based code. Was it not finished/approved?. Would that have possibly been in the way of closing 17th street and creating parking?

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think the idea is there, though I’m not sure anyone’s actually working on it. Then there’s the discussion of what constitutes “downtown”. There’s really no organization that owns downtown’s message or development plan.

  • citylover

    Any updates on olive power block downtown? Last I heard everything was under contract, but no new announced dates

    • Alex Ihnen

      “Olive power block”?

      • citylover

        Chemical building, railway exchange, planned boutique hotel

        • Alex Ihnen

          705 Olive and Chemical Building are moving along with plans by Restoration St. Louis. I don’t have a timeline, but IMO planning for those is solid and work will start soon. Railway Exchange is still in due diligence stage – nothing new to report. No matter who does it, it’s going to be a very complicated project. May be a while before there’s new news there.

  • Imran

    The article on FPP had mentioned a plan for bike lanes on Lindell Blvd. Do you know how far east they would extend?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Kingshighway to Skinker.

      I’m not sure it’s a great idea. I mean, it would somewhat duplicate the path in Forest Park, but as FP gets busier and busier with strollers, walkers, etc., it would be good to have. And the traffic on Lindell really doesn’t justify the width of the current road. A bicycle track along the park, with parallel parking, two traffic lanes and a turn lane would function well.

      • Imran

        Thanks. I was hoping they would extent east of Kingshighway .

  • Ben Harvey

    What is in the way of redeveloping the old church’s chicken on Skinker? Whenever going to the Loop with people less familiar with the area, I have to remind them that the strip doesn’t end with that intersection.

    • Alex Ihnen

      It just needs a buyer. When Church’s closed suddenly, I believe they paid a significant penalty, basically paying enough to allow the owner to simply sit on the property and ask a pretty penny.

      • Ben Harvey

        Thanks. Also has there been any word on the future African American Cultural Center/Olivet Church across from the Pageant? Those walls have been up around the property as long as I can remember

        • Alex Ihnen

          That, I believe, has been officially cancelled and any money raised toward it is going to the Missouri History Museum to fund African American cultural work. No word on what happens with the church now.

  • thatshirtcray

    In episode 10 of the podcast there was a teaser for a write up about the updated zoo expansion plan. Is there a PDF somewhere of the full 2016 plan?

  • I understand the why’s of better together, but how exactly would the city and county systematically accomplish rejoining?

    • or I guess… what does that process look like?

      • Alex Ihnen

        There’s certainly someone better at answering this than I, but…the city could dissolve county functions and re-renter the county as one of the many municipalities within St. Louis County. Or a plan could be presented to St. Louis City and County voters that would do something bigger, such as merging municipalities, and even locating the merged county HQ in current downtown St. Louis City.

        The real answer is that legislation enabling any significant change will need to come from the state house and be put to voters across the region. Getting that far is a huge step, and getting an initiative passed an a huge step on top of that. Local leaders will have to write that legislation and get it through Jefferson City.

  • addxb2

    Is there a timeline for the “millennial micro apartments” in Clayton?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Haven’t heard anything. The project isn’t on the Clayton Architectural Review Board/Planning Commission site any longer – though I don’t know that that means anything in particular. The renderings released were rather preliminary, so I’d guess that project has a ways to go.

      • addxb2

        I am curious if the size of Centene’s proposed development made the developer think twice of investing in ‘low rent’ micro units.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Maybe, but the developer was likely very well aware of the scope of Centene’s plans before Solire was revealed.

  • citylover

    What does nextstl believe to be the most transformational project in stl right now?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Most transformational project in STL…

      Already underway: Cortex
      Being talked about: North/South rail transit
      Single project: NGA

      • Imran

        Do you worry that a north south rail ROW would divide neigborhoods and disrupt the street grid (assuming it runs down a street?

        • Alex Ihnen

          IMO that would be a good problem to have. It can be done well. It will be up to residents and the city to ensure that it work. I think any N/S line would end up looking at a lot more like the KCMO or Cincy streetcar than existing MetroLink. And I think running it on existing streets maximizes its use. Running on heavy rail ROW has made TOD for MetroLink a challenge.

      • citylover

        Do you think the County is on board with north/south? I see benefits to Westport line but not near as many as North/ S. It seems Stenger is a little bitter. Does city need county for the line to work? And if county people don’t support it, will the project happen? If it does, will the line just stop at city limits?

        • Alex Ihnen

          I’ve heard that the County/Stenger is 100% Westport or bust, but don’t know that’s completely true. In the past, there’s no way Mayor Slay would have been so vocal about the project if the County weren’t on board. So…I imagine that if the city can bring the majority of matching funds to the table and successfully secure fed funds, then the County will be OK with it.

          Frankly, I think the N/S line does more for economic development in the county by reaching areas needing investment that does the Westport line. They’d be smart to support it no matter what, but the issue has been that the money was coming from the County, and so the line should go there too. That’s sort of understandable, but clearly flawed thinking if you care about a functional transit system.