MoDOT Agrees to Sell St. Louis City 30 Acres at 22nd Street for a “Soccer Park”

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modot-22nd-street_1

While speculation continues regarding where, and exactly when St. Louis will become a Major League Soccer city, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has approved a two-option to the City of St. Louis on approximately 30 acres of land currently occupied by the 22nd Street/I-64 interchange for “a potential soccer park”. The sale price will be at market rate as determined by a future appraisal. The image above encompasses a potential project boundary and not exclusively MoDOT-owned land.

The option is to the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority Holdings Corporation for the City of St. Louis (LCRAHC) and would require that the city “must build a full interchange at 22nd Street on I-64”. Plans to foster greater access to the coming $1.7B National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, just north of the Pruitt-Igoe site, have included a full interchange at Jefferson Avenue. This would appear to fulfill the MoDOT requirement.

The spaghetti plate of ramps bypassing Marking Street and connected north to Pine and Chestnut Streets, is the legacy of the never completed I-755. That project was once conceived to connect I-55 in South St. Louis to I-70 in North St. Louis. We chronicled the life and death of the highway here: The Life and Death of the American Urban Interstate As Told By St. Louis’ I-755.

For decades it’s been known that I-755 wouldn’t be built, but as the city lost hundreds of thousands of residents there wasn’t development pressure to reimagine the area. That finally changed with Paul McKee’s NorthSide vision. The 22nd Street interchange was to be the key south gateway into the 1,500-acre redevelopment project. Various transit oriented design studies and some of NorthSide’s own work have envisioned development of the site. Those plans would have presented multiple parcels for private development.

modot-22nd-street_4{NorthSide once envisioned mid-rise mixed use infill}

Prior Transit Oriented Development studies considered mixed use residential infill:

modot-22nd-street_5_tod-studymodot-22nd-street_5_tod-study_2013modot-22nd-street_2

With confirmation that a hotel, apparently a Fairfield Inn, will replace the closed Harry’s Restaurant and Bar (2144 Market St.), the parameters of a possible Major League Soccer stadium are becoming more clear. A stadium could fit between the new hotel and Union Station, though it’s difficult to imagine how the buildings fronting Market Street, the Drury Inn, and Upper Limits climbing gym could all remain.

The location of a soccer stadium in the city has been the focus of increasing speculation in recent weeks as a site in South St. Louis along Gustine Avenue, and a vacant expanse along Grand Boulevard at Chouteau Avenue, have been floated. The Grand/Chouteau site is being promoted by Foundry St. Louis, a prospective ownership group, which has been very public and vocal about its desire to bring a team to St. Louis. Last week, the group unveiled renderings by Cannon Design of a stadium, taking its case to soccer fans.

The MLS2STL group, a collection of civic and business leaders has tasked itself with identifying a viable ownership group for a St. Louis franchise. While not publicly discussing its process or progress, information continues to leak that the group has identified an owner with deep pockets and is focused on a stadium at Union Station. The MLS2STL group is apparently not in discussions with Foundry St. Louis.

modot-22nd-street_3{nextSTL previously envisioned how an MLS stadium could fit on the 22nd Street interchange site}

MLS stadium_Cannon Design{Foundry St. Louis recently released renderigns for a Grand/Chouteau stadium}

The MoDOT agreement with the city is a significant step toward what is expected to be an announcement in the coming weeks by MLS2STL that an ownership group and stadium site have been identified. It’s expected that MLS will endorse MLS2STL’s proposal. There would remain several important steps before any plan would be finalized. Issues to be resolved include stadium subsidies and street and infrastructure planning.

Any subsidy request for an MLS stadium is certain to be less than what was offered to build a north riverfront NFL stadium. However, the cost to rebuild infrastructure will be in the $10Ms, the St. Louis Blues are seeking $150M+ for renovations to the Scottrade Center (soon to be the TD Ameritrade Center), and a $300M+ convention center plan is in the offing as well.

fairfield-inn_1{the Harry’s Bar and Restaurant site is expected to be home to a Fairfield Suites similar to this design}

Notes from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission:

September meeting agenda:

PROPERTY ACQUISITION AND CONVEYANCES.
3. Consideration of Disposal of Excess Property, I-64 and 22nd Street in St. Louis City.
Convey approximately 30 acres located in the northeast quadrant of Interstate 64 and 22nd Street in the City of St. Louis, to the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority for the City
of St. Louis (LCRA).

September meeting minutes:

CONSIDERATION OF EXCESS PROPERTY DISPOSAL, I-64 AND 22ND STREET IN ST. LOUIS CITY
In keeping with the Commission’s policy regarding disposition of Commission-owned property or property rights, the sale of all properties owned by the Commission with appraised or sale values of $200,000 or more must be approved by specific Commission action. MOn behalf of the Director, Greg Horn, St. Louis District Engineer, recommended the Commission authorize the Director, Chief Engineer, Chief Financial Officer, or Assistant Chief Engineer to execute the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Option Agreement with the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority Holdings Corporation for the City of St. Louis (LCRAHC).The Option Agreement will authorize the LCRAHC to purchase the real property within a twenty-four

The Option Agreement will authorize the LCRAHC to purchase the real property within a twenty-four month period for fair market value. The LCRAHC has requested a commitment from the Commission the land will be available for purchase to accomplish a development project in the City of St. Louis. The property is located in the northeast quadrant of Interstate 64 and 22nd Street in the City of St. Louis. The property is approximately 30 acres and the exact acreage will be determined by a survey. The purchase price will be the fair market value of the property as determined by a certified appraiser selected by the Commission. The conveyance will be by quitclaim deed releasing any and all interest the Commission has in the property.Via approval of the consent agenda, the Commission unanimously authorized the Director, Chief

Via approval of the consent agenda, the Commission unanimously authorized the Director, Chief Engineer, Chief Financial Officer, or Assistant Chief Engineer to execute the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Option Agreement with the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority Holdings Corporation for the City of St. Louis (LCRAHC).

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  • STLEnginerd

    If they are rebuilding the interchange they should build it as the 20th street interchange. I think they COULD do that without any significant demo. A diamond inter have could converge at the steel trusses that are currently used as a parking sign. 20th Street already goes all the way to St. Louis place anyway. A couple decent sized parking garages are going to be needed to support Union station anyway. I think one between 20th and 21st and another on the east side on 18th at spruce.

    I think they should work a deal with fairfield to build somewhere on adjacent land because I think an MLS stadium really needs that parcel and Fairfield will benefit if a stadium gets built anyway. I know land deals like that are complex and tend to scare people but it will be a better project if Harry bar parcel becomes part of the MalS project if it gets built here.

  • Vee Jay

    As a South Cuty resident near Gustine Ave, I would love a stadium at this site. My property value might finally rise!!

  • brickhugger

    “Plans to foster greater access to the coming $1.7B National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, just north of the Pruitt-Igoe site, have included a full interchange at Jefferson Avenue. This would appear to fulfill the MoDOT requirement.”

    –> This. an interchange at 22nd street is not needed, and would only maintain the separation between downtown and midtown. And I’ve spoken with some MODOT staffers, who have said there is interest in this idea internally.

    • johnny1421

      I agree. Remove the 22nd interchange entirely and make Jefferson a full interchange (being able to exit/enter coming from Illinois). That solves the NGA issue and removes the barely used 22nd interchange

      • brickhugger

        And then extend the gateway mall to Jefferson (not thrilled that they built the mall to begin with, but it’s done, so let’s finish it), and put I-70 downtown underground from Walnut to Cass, with a landscaped boulevard above.

      • Ian Wrobel

        I agree. Only I would take it a couple of steps further…make Jefferson Avenue a full interchange and then re-align or reconstruct the stretch of 64/40 from S. Vandeventer to Jefferson Ave then Jefferson Ave. to S. Broadway. I think that stretch of highway is an eyesore. A highway over a highway from Vandeventer to Market Street and S. 16th St to S Broadway just looks awful in my opinion. However, I do like what they are doing with the PSB bridge a lot.

  • Tim E

    Does LHM Union Station adding rooms, this hotel proposal along with Botique hotel proposals moving forward pretty much kill any high rise hotel or hotel/residential tower either in BPV future phase or Drury going forward on the landing in the near futrue?
    ..
    I can see the business sense behind the hotel with NGIA going forward, possible MLS and accessible site. Just would share the opinion if the hotel didn’t go forward its no big loss especially if something better down the road.

    • jkf1220

      And so, back to the need for a comprehensive development plan for downtown. The number of hotels should relate to current and future market potential and other development (convention center, attractions etc.) You may not block any of these efforts but you incentivize those developments that are consistent with or advance the plan. Don’t subsidize developments that don’t fit or advance the master plan. A non-descript, non-essential hotel in that location is a disappointment and a missed opportunity for a more significant project, with or without the stadium.

    • johnny1421

      I think a hotel at BPV can still happen. There will be a good majority of fans coming in to games from out of town would prefer to just stay in the village even if hotels are close by.

    • Will M

      just a thought, the number of hotels proposed might only barely exceed what was lost with millenium.
      with increased numbers of conventions, build out of bpv, additional museums and shops being introduced downtown, the renovation of union station in addition to the enormous aquarium being built within it, and also a new mls stadium – i would think that the threshold of hotel rooms downtown can withstand would be even higher in the coming years. These hotels being announced may not even reach that threshold.
      could be that downtown will have far more life in the future. these hotel proposals could be a sign of that.

  • rgbose

    I like the Northside Regeneration vision.

    • Tim E

      Agree, like the blvd feel and siting a high rise near the west end of the gateway mall.

  • rgbose

    Does the city have to pay for the interchange? That plus the market rate price for the land would make this quite a deal for MoDOT.

    • DB

      I think so.

      • Tim E

        I believe their is some state money at least promised to build the new interchange as per the NGIA commitment. However, I also believe MO state revenues have been coming under and as expect MO has another of cat and mouse game between Gov and statehouse.. So who knows if state will follow through with any of its promises on the NGIA.
        ..
        The other possible revenue source is sale of bonds for improvements in and around NGIA was approved believe. Anyone know if some of those bonds might be extended to this deal and a new interchange?

        • johnny1421

          Yea I believe it was like 16 million or something but thought it was related to the Jefferson/interstate 64 intersection

          • Will M

            that has already been updated recently when the 64 was redone

          • Alex Ihnen

            Jefferson/I-64 is sort of a half interchange. The idea would be to make it a full interchange.

          • johnny1421

            This 16 million was after Jefferson was done already. I believe it was talked about making it a full intersection but with the 22nd interchange currently setup there is no way that’s possible

  • Will M

    it makes the most sense to put the stadium north of market. I attached an overlay of redbull stadium in newark over the lots at olive/20th/market. that stadium might be one of the largest in the league, and it fits in there perfectly with quite a bit of room on either side.
    I find this site ideal because it has no historic demos, and makes potential development available on every single side of it (assuming a streetgrid is implemented around it).

    – also included real salt lakes stadium with downtown in the background for a different look

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e0947743d3209a4bcf147300a311bc2e3fa7905f60882f440c15dc4d6a86ebb.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34340738605626745e1e62ed1d1c49e1f4037fd15000b45e4db36f918bb45e97.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3baf9a363e7a813c708f6ba8f875a7e54510b056fd6d87bb0a83da78d1275f0e.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/31ec51fb121c348bed4bba8b6c50d847033984e2c4e0a5ce5e2fdaed3599dcea.jpg

    • tony

      I like that location too, but would like to see it turned 90 and fit in between Pine and Market, like this one here. Definitely be a tight fit though. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc58d4af357c8408f277919e650ce1662c6af07038ea6bdb231eec70f79ccfe2.jpg

      • Will M

        There’s no doubt I like that too. I went north to south since I think that is a league preference – sun isn’t in the players eyes.

        • tony

          Good point, I didn’t even think of that.

          • jkf1220

            I like the north/south because more seats have the view of downtown skyline and the Arch.

      • MA JE

        I also like that spot and I wish they would mimic the surrounding facades like Union Station’s classic timeless look as opposed to the modern look they have in the renderings.

  • Beep beep boop boop

    Positive news but…

    Pardon the negative comment but what a shit looking hotel. Fitting it sits across the street from another shit looking hotel.

    Cheese and rice this city was built by craftsmen!

    • Riggle

      Tell it Kate

    • more like scarefield inn! :O

    • John

      Yes, it’s nice to have development, but I agree that a classier hotel would preferred over the Fairfield brand and dated exterior. I hope the final design is better than that the photo depicts. The City should insist on a higher quality hotel design in this location.

      • Brett

        Added to the fact that there are already so many hotel rooms very close to this site. I don’t get the need for another (additionally, ugly) hotel. Perhaps I underestimate how much rooms are booked in downtown/downtown west though.

    • Benjamin Aronov

      I would rather leave Harry’s, repurpose as a huge soccer bar. Wait for quality development.