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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  • Big question, probably not the time in chat to discuss, but…what does a revised parking space requirement for new development in St. Louis look like? At its current rate, we do absolutely nothing to encourage a more connected, less auto-reliant City (and actually probably discourage it). In a revised code, what works best, an overall reduction of the requirement, identifying transit districts wherein parking requirements are reduced/removed? Some combo of the two?

    • Alex Ihnen

      I’d like to see subsidies tied to lower parking. In a number of developments, the subsidy has been roughly equal to the cost of supplying parking. The subsidy leverage could be used to build a more resilient, more productive city. However, as I’ve noted again and again, the city has no clearly stated and prioritized development goals.

      Do we want less parking? Who knows? Our actions do not show that we do. Perhaps, and prepare to groan, we start with a parking study, and write in parking audit requirements for subsidized projects. Will anyone every check and see if the subsidized parking at The Orion/Whole Foods is too much, not enough, or just right?

      • “Audit requirements for subsidized projects”, yes! St. Louis is far too timid (intimidated, meek, whatever) in demanding returns for its subsidies. The issue of oversight is one that I’d put right up there with crime as an important factor in building a better City.

        For whatever reason, St. Louis doesn’t recognize or act on the position of strength it actually has when coordinating subsidies. Audits and reporting should be standard, at bare minimum.

        And they could definitely flex even more — say, in return for subsidies, the developer supports a nearby community-driven (chamber, n’hood group, cdc) project with ‘x’ dollars, which are then deductible as a charitable donation by the dev. In this way, you’re driving community improvement while also building an immediate partnership between devs and the neighborhoods they’re going into.

        Just spitballin’… 🙂

        • rgbose

          Isn’t that what Park Central is doing?

          • Yep, there are some great examples of organized n’hood improvement/development groups doing just this!

            I’m saying I’d like to see the City make it a standard part of subsidy negotiations. The neighborhoods are then empowered/encouraged to activate and organize plans knowing the govt is in their corner. Often it can seem the neighborhood is secondary to the developer.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Well, it matters a lot how this is done. If it’s a wink and a “request” for $X as a subsidy is under consideration, I’d say that’s not a productive way to do it. If it’s: the city will invest X if a developer does Y (effectively slightly reducing the subsidy and putting that into a neighborhood plan), then it could be great. Still, the city would need a plan and goals. This should exist on a city wide basis.

          • Yep, the latter. No shade, no backroom’ing. “You want ‘x’ from STL for your project in ‘y’ neighborhood, and they’ve identified project ‘z’ as their area of need. You’re still coming out ahead and ingratiating yourself to the community on top of it. Here’s the proposal for your review.”

    • rgbose

      How about get rid of minimums everywhere and put in maximums within a certain distance of Metrolink stations/ high freq bus routes (I guess that just means Grand at the moment)?

  • Chris

    What’s going on with that restaurant they announced at in the old gas station Shaw and Klemm? They said Bailey’s was selected and they haven’t moved one shovel of dirt since.

  • moorlander

    Did you ever take Montgomery tower proposals seriously? Are they just not experienced developers? What’s your take on this long proposed, and many times revised development?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Sure. It would seem to depend on Montgomery pulling the trigger with their own $. Perhaps it was always a stretch, but I do think they’ll do something with that corner. It’s not going to stay as-is, I’d bet.

  • Frank Absher

    The photo of the pedestrian island you Tweeted is indicative of a real complaint I have.
    I have to wonder if anyone at City Hall (mayor, Aldermanic pres., etc) cares for anything except themselves and their cronies. The photo shows an inordinate amount of litter.
    Our neighborhood is down to one trash pickup per week because (we’re told by the refuse department) the city is down to five operating trash trucks.
    We see the aldermen go against the legitimate wishes of a large number of downtowners and vote to close off a street because a developer wants it.
    More and more, the City Hall priorities seem to be out of sync with those of the residents.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Well, IMO it goes back to how segmented our politics are – who do you complain to? You tell your alderman, who needs ~500 votes to stay in office. Are they going to raise a stink at city hall? If someone does (24th Ward’s Ogilvie tried hard to get $ for trucks, etc.) they’re criticized by their colleagues. I don’t think it’s aldermen, etc. caring only for the themselves, exactly, but we have a system that isn’t responsive to larger ideals, goals, and planning. And that’s not to mention the county and its mess of munis.

      • This answer leads into my next question! Scott Ogilvie — seems to be one of the only aldermen who consistently takes the Citywide view of Council meetings/decisions. Has he expressed any interest in running for Mayor, either this term or next? Or is it an issue of being able to (potentially) do more good as an alderman?

        He’d have my vote (if I lived in STL now)!

        • Alex Ihnen

          I agree! I try to keep up with what Scott’s up to and would love to see him run for mayor. My bet is that he doesn’t, this time around.

  • Chris

    I just read an article in the Post-Dispatch that they’re about to start construction on a Tim Horton’s at 14th and Lafayette. Any idea what that’s going to look like? Hopefully not their typical suburban model.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Betcha just about anything it will be the standard model like the one in Maplewood and elsewhere.

      • Most assuredly. There’s really nothing urban about what’s been built there already, either in its design or in its relation to adjacent(y) neighborhoods. I would not be surprised at all if in the next couple of years the remainder of Bohemian Hill at Tucker/Lafayette gets tagged for demo and a gas station/strip mall/etc.

        • Alex Ihnen

          What do expect: the site, Maplewood, standard TH

  • moorlander

    Are you still uploading podcasts to iTunes Store? My feed shows the last update as podcast 11 from June 27

  • I was really excited…oh, eight years ago or so…about the Chivvis plan for Chouteau’s Landing. Since then, well, their plan evaporated, Powell Square was demoed, Crunden-Martin’s still exposed to the elements post-fire, and a couple more buildings fell to fire as well.

    Is there anybody talking about buying up/redeveloping this area? The train tracks are a likely obstacle — as is, I’m sure, the desire to retain its remaining old warehouses for any redev.

    I’m almost at the point where I’d be fine clear-cutting it entirely if the promise of extensive new midrise residential (and some street level activity) were proposed. For this area just to the south of the $500M Arch project to continue to deteriorate/burn is incredibly frustrating!

    • Alex Ihnen

      Definitely share your frustration. Have heard zero about plans or interest here. If the long announced $400M investment in the Arch grounds hasn’t led to projects on The Landing getting off the ground, or anything on other nearby lots, I’d say it’s not going to help here. That’s quite a statement if you think about it. I wouldn’t favor demo just yet, but it’s going to take some creativity, some money, creative money, to do something with it.

  • Tony

    Any news on Choutou’s Crossing? Also how are we going to better connect the Grove to the CWE?

    • rgbose

      Streetscape improvements on Sarah would help

      Not tear down the traditional building at Clayton and Taylor.

    • rgbose

      Bus routes that travel thru instead of terminating at CWE station

    • Alex Ihnen

      My understanding is that it’s moving ahead. I kind of hope there will be some changes in design as the multi-colored panels are becoming a very common look across St. Louis.

      IMO, with this development (and more retail along Vandeventer) and the new MetroLink station, and more Cortex infill, the areas will begin to feel more and more connected.

      • Hannah

        Any chance the grocery store component will return?

        • Alex Ihnen

          I don’t believe so, but I’d expect a grocery store nearby in the near future.

          • rgbose

            Is Manchester Market unknown?

          • Alex Ihnen

            City Greens works for some things too, but a 10,000sf + grocery would be welcomed by many.

  • Atractor49

    Any news on WUSTL’s Weil Hall?

    • rgbose

      I think construction begins after commencement next year

    • Alex Ihnen

      Nothing new, new. Glimpsed drawings a few weeks ago. I liked what I could see. I would anticipate more news soon.