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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  • It was discussed last Friday the leadership role (or lack thereof) for planned developments and municipal codes as a Citywide thing. I guess as a follow-up, why doesn’t a department such as PUDA (Planning & Urban Design Agency) play a bigger role? Seems to me that giving them more capacity, oversight and control would benefit everyone, aldermen included, who could just go to their constituents and say “hey, I hear ya’ — but PUDA’s got these plans in place, and we’ve got to adhere to them.”

    • Alex Ihnen

      My opinion is that politicians, the mayor and aldermen, like having power over economic development decisions. I guess there are times they don’t and might prefer to throw up their hands and defer to the city, but not really.

      • You’re likely right — it just seems so counterproductive!

        As someone who occasionally ponders a future as a public servant, I really wonder why those in office don’t share that responsibility with the City’s designated departments when appropriate. For the measly pay, the juice just doesn’t seem worth the squeeze!

        Eh…Ego or power, I guess. That or the promise of future opportunities (or clandestine perks in the present).

        • Alex Ihnen

          I think in some case, the alderman has had to take things on because the city didn’t have the capacity or interest to do so. If you’re an alderman and someone(s) is complaining about the need to pave an alley, or put in a stop sign, do you ask the city about it and then tell the voter you’ve done all you can, or do you push your way into the process and try to help/get something done?

          • Systemic Dysfunction. I suspect there’s some middle ground to be found between those in the City that are elected and those that are hired that could result in a higher-functioning City and government. By stripping (freeing?) aldermen of some specific responsibilities, City departments are empowered to create procedures and solutions on a Citywide basis, knowing those won’t be sidestepped or ignored on a ward-by-ward basis. Likewise, the aldermen can focus on more meaningful growth-oriented legislation in their wards and in the City, rather than siphoning so much of their and their staffs’ work-time into the small day-to-day (read: nuisance report) stuff.

          • jkf1220

            Ideally, it wouldn’t be a decision that falls on the alderman vs. PUDA or SLDC or the mayor etc. Thinking back to the idea of a city wide Economic Development Strategy, it could be powerful if each neighborhood, with strong input from residents, businesses, developed a list of real Economic Development goals and priorities and those stakeholders, along with alderman and city . worked in to achieve those goals and priorities. I know this seems an impossible dream but some neighborhoods seem to be working at this already. How about a couple of pilots to get it started.

  • Alex Ihnen

    In what *might be some good news. It appears that SLU is doing some repair work on the Missouri Belting building on Grand near Chouteau. May be able to get something more online soon.

    • Sarcastic “Whoopadeedoo!”

      I kid — if they purchase and re-utilize that building, that’s great. Just puts more of a sting on the loss of the Chouteau portion on Pevely, is all.

      For my two cents, rehab and redeve of that long facade on Chouteau was the most exciting prospect of a preserved Pevely. Without, well…we’ll see, I guess.

    • chaifetz10

      Any news on their push to create a SLU based Development Corp? VERY interested to see what they have planned for the area around the Med Campus and within all the land they’ve banked along Grand.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Planning is underway. I believe the city has to open a request for developers or a development corp. Seems obvious SLU would lead it, but I’m not clear on the process.

    • Alex Ihnen
  • citylover

    Friday Live Chat confession. I get too excited for live chat and forget what I want to say!!

    • Alex Ihnen

      Which project in the city do you think will have the most impact? Which one could make someone not from St. Louis envious?

      • citylover

        I’d say cortex. Many of the people I talk to see this developing over downtown and think this is the single savior of city job growth. And since people attribute success to high rise construction, cortex may pull through.

        Envious. I’d say great rivers greenway. I’m always amazed at what they create and how far they’ve come.

        • I’m with ya – every extension on the greenway gets me weirdly excited. I can’t wait till the south Riverfront trail becomes real.

      • Frank Absher

        The impact level largely depends on city leadership. We have seen some very positive projects come to life over the years, but tunnel vision among our leaders in terms of followup or supplemental development has essentially limited the positive effects.
        It would be wonderful to have mayor/aldermen whose overriding interests were not self gain or pleasing financial contributors. Only then will the city really begin to really move forward.

        Of course, a Moody’s downgrade doesn’t exactly help…

      • Alex P

        I’m way too excited for City Foundry but mostly because of the architectural design potential it holds. Post-Industrial designs are extremely popular on design blogs, Architecture Magazines, etc.

  • jkf1220

    The “Loop” trolley I would like to see connects the neighborhoods around downtown, north and south, with Downtown and with each other. Plus the express line straight down Olive / Lindell from Downtown through Mid town to the CWE.

  • RJ

    What is the status of the Monogram Building (former CPI headquarters)? I recently drove by there and no activity and the last I read it was to have started in September. Any difficulty in financing this project? This is the kind of example that shows the failing of City government. First the city agrees to give away a stretch of 17th street on the premise the developer Michael Knight would construct a new building on the surface parking lot. The mention of a new building was probably used as leverage to get the City to agree to close 17th now the developer backs out of the promised new building and we have a missed start date.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I don’t know more than what you’ve observed, but couldn’t agree more with your comments.

  • rgbose

    What;s the over-under on the number of mayoral candidates? What percent vote will the winner get?

    • Alex Ihnen

      I’ll go with 7 and in the end, someone will reach nearly 40%.

  • tony

    Where is everyone today?!

    Say the Loop trolley is more popular than we can dream of… what’s next? Line expansions? East, west or even further south through park to Hampton? Or is it pretty much stuck within its current boundaries?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Expansion could be difficult. It’s not going to go down Lindell, or Skinker. It could go through the park to serve tourists and visitors, but funding would be tough (feds don’t give out money for tourist attracts – at least not exactly), so further east down Delmar? Personally, I don’t see it expanding at all, but perhaps I’ll be proven wrong.

  • Also, have there been any developments, timelines, or stirrings for NGA and McKeeville? Been pretty quiet since the announcements.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Not a lot. There’s plenty of planning and interest now that it’s official. Still early days, but the NGA part of it is moving along as planned. Residents and businesses are leaving/planning to leave and demo of streets and other infrastructure will begin once that phase is complete.

  • Would you care to explain your tweet about the MLS near Civil Life Brewery? 😛

    • Alex Ihnen

      There are some people interested in exploring that area for the stadium. It’s not clear to me whether it’s a real possibility and/or if emerging ownership group would consider it. It’s felt as though the city and the local MLS group has been focused on downtown.

      • yeah – the soccer fans are already down there, its an interesting idea, for sure.

        • Alex Ihnen

          I think that was what sparked the interest. I haven’t seen the exact numbers, but I believe maybe 1/2 buying tickets to the last big international match were from south city. And a neighborhood stadium could be awesome. That said, owners/investors now make more money from adjacent development than a team/stadium, so it’s hard to see it happening. I’m not sure neighbors in the area would go for it either. We seem as a region to have decided downtown is for stadiums and parades.

          • rgbose

            Chouteau and Grand!

    • tony

      I know that the Hill is the “historical” soccer spot, but Tower Grove seems to have the best fan base/demo for it. (Note, this is completely unsubstantiated, and just me making assumptions) Rip out the Home Depot plaza and plop it in there with a redeveloped face on Kingshighway.

  • jkf1220

    First of all, looking forward to seeing the architectural renderings tonight.. Thanks again for making it happen. So, Congratualations, you’ve just been elected mayor. What are the first 3 things you do for economic development in central corridor.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Well first, I’d like to thank all the people who helped make this possible… my corporate sponsors, Rex… actually that’s it.

      Now, first three things: 1) invest in the neighborhoods surrounding the central corridor, 2) begin planning include a streetcar line that would integrate with the N/S line, 3) install bike lockers and invest heavily in pedestrian amenities.