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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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  • SouthCityJR

    Any thoughts on which of the relatively smaller development announcements could wind up having a big impact? I’m hopeful the Bevo Mill project could help that neighborhood much the same way the Schlafly brewery helped Maplewood turn the corner.

  • Dan Salmo

    What’s the status of the new Metrolink stop in Cortex…haven’t seen any work being done in a while and I thought they said opening in March? thx.

    • Alex Ihnen

      It’s coming, believe construction may start in March.

      • Michael B

        Is there a rendering available? I’m eager to see if it will be a humdrum stop or if they are doing something to fit Cortex’s character?

  • DoctorDoctor

    Found any more detailed renderings for WUSTL’s new buildings on the East end? The broad site plan has been out a while but haven’t seen any renderings for what exactly Jubel/Weil and the others will look like.

    Also interested in the West End- seems like this neighborhood has really flown under the radar but has seen improvement over the last decade. Do you see any big developments for the future in this neighborhood, especially with the Trolley aproaching completion? Lots of great bones here, especially with it’s proximity to some really great neighborhoods (and Forest Park)

    Also wanna give a quick thanks to you Alex- I recently moved to Baltimore and still find NextSTL to be my favorite website to read. Baltimore is in many ways very similar to STL but doesn’t have near the same development blogging community- if only you had a twin you could send here!

  • Riggle

    Pestalozi point is well underway. Do you think they can find 5 buyers for attached wall town homes @ 2500 sq ft, for 350k in benton park? Or were some presold to get construction off the ground?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Not sure regarding pre-sales, but yes, I’ll bet they find 5 buyers before year’s end.

  • JF

    Does anyone know the starting rental rates for Gateway Lofts at 4400 Manchester? And is a pool still included in the construction plans?

  • UnFriendlyCity

    If St. Louis city has lost 80,000 people over the last 16 years, what do you think will bring more people to this city? Who might these folks be? Did anyone attend yesterday’s talk given by STL 500K over at Cortex (Venture Cafe)? What was discussed?

    • Alex Ihnen

      At a very basic level, I believe there’s demand to live in the city and near everything it has to offer. We need an increased supply of housing, of all types – quality rehabs, quality low-income, quality new construction, etc.

      As with all urban issues, there’s no “one thing”, but it should be obvious that the age and relative lack of variety in housing options in the city is an impediment to population growth.

      • SouthCityJR

        If a City neighborhood doesn’t have a large amount of vacant land, how can it easily offer varied housing options that might appeal to middle class families? Take Tower Grove South as an example. The area has been very popular for rehabs and conversions of duplexes to single family dwellings, but there aren’t many vacant lots to offer new construction. Could the solution be adding additional square footage through additional stories on existing smaller bungalow style homes?

        • Alex Ihnen

          For the city, the solution is to focus elsewhere – where this is opportunity to build new. But yes, this could include alley homes, additions, etc. Ultimately, there has to be a market for 1900 brick homes like those in Shaw and elsewhere for the city to succeed. Many areas are adapting – the market is pushing 4-family to 2-family and 2-family to 1-family conversions, for example. Where there is infill, new housing forms can help – like the UIC custom home and current proposal in The Grove, which are owner-occupied with an add-on apartment.

  • Andy

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/maplewood-to-pay-shopping-center-for-use-of-parking-lot/article_1f56bbc9-1c23-54d1-9217-6b4c7bfb2437.html

    Thoughts on Brixmor Property Group extorting $40k a year for parking from the city of Maplewood?

    • PD

      Is that extorting? Everyone uses that lot anyway and they pay to maintain and insure it. They also clean off snow and ice.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Tend to agree. Seems like an OK agreement and a more efficient use of space instead of strict enforcement of private parking. Of course, my idea is to line Manchester with 3-season container store retail on the edge of that lot. Maybe someday.

        • Andy

          Yes! I remember discussing that on another thread a year or two ago on NextSTL. Perhaps this initial agreement with Brixmor will lead to a more fruitful arrangement in the future.

          Also – extort is NOT the correct word. The parking lot is an asset to the neighborhood.

  • Goat314

    Do you think it is good policy to pass a Metrolink sales tax w/o knowing how much a reasonable N/S Metrolink expansion will cost?

    Also, am I the only one who thinks that Cherokee to NGA is not a significant enough phase 1 line? I think any city line has to go from Jefferson/Broadway to Natural Bridge/Kingshighway to justify the cost and effort of a city only expansion.

    It would be much better policy to finish the study in 2018 with legitimate cost estimates, decide whether the county will come on board, find other streams of revenue besides sales tax, and bring it to a vote 2018.

    • PD

      I completly agree about taxing before they even have a number. I also think that expanded bus service is the way to go. They added to double car bus on grands route and its been great. Just add a couple more and it would save the city so much money rather than building rail.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think the best time to raise funds for transit is yesterday. The second best day is today! 🙂

      I also tend to think that Cherokee to NGA is a great urban transit line. Adding 1-2 miles on either end would be good too, but after that the line is getting into suburban development patterns and park-and-ride crap.

  • MakingStLBetter

    In your opinion(s), what do you think the major impediments to the growth of St. Louis city are? To the metro area? What changes underway right now will improve or harm those? Where do you see St. Louis in 10 years?

    • Goat314

      I think regional fragmentation is St. Louis’ #1 problem and impediment to growth. Add in backwards state level politics and you have a region in the middle of the country, with arguably the best logistics in the country, a low cost of living, a wealth of cultural amenities and history, with almost flat population growth. Think about it, there is no other reason that Indianapolis, Nashville, and Louisville are growing and St. Louis is not….fragmentation has to be the main culprit.

      • Tim E

        I think fragmentation is two fold right now. St. Louis county just has too many munis, police departments, park departments so on. So one big step is some badly needed consolidation or annexation of county muni’s that really shouldn’t exist. This would go a long ways in starting address sales tax and TIF issues…

        The second is even without the city back into the county is a much needed port authority by joint city & county board to take over Lambert & Mississippi docks.. Lambert is the one huge asset that the city can put on the table for continued support and of much needed upgrades to CVC downtown as well as any hope of ever getting county support MLS stadium, Scottrade upgrades etc. County and City already have Metro, MSD, Museum District, Great River Greenway Distract shared economic development office, etc. A joint Port Authority for Lambert and lesser extent port docks might be the one thing that offers leverage to get city back into county.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Then, start to look at going well beyond just St Louis City and St. Louis County. Remember that combined, they comprise roughly 46% of the region’s population. That’s a low bar for regionalism if we truly want to act and grow as a region.

    • Alex Ihnen

      The region’s absolute inability to act as one. IMO – almost nothing else matters until that is addressed. The region needs champions willing to push for regional cooperation at the risk of their own political careers.

      10 years? The safest bet in St. Louis is surely the status quo.

      • MakingStLBetter

        What evidence or arguments could be made to convince politicians, such as Eric Greitens, that this is the best option for everyone?

        I am aware that decision as it stands now rests with the county, but I am working under the assumption that the weight of the Governor’s Office would be a powerful force behind moving the issue forward.

    • UnCollege

      Low college graduation rates in St. Louis, IMHO. A bachelor’s degree is what a high school diploma was 10 years ago. People in St. Louis seem to be fine with not having a college degree. It is the acceptable norm in this city.

      “Cities with relatively high college attainment rates tend to have higher income levels. Yet this is not the case in St. Louis. While 32.0% of city adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, higher than the 30.1% national college attainment rate, the city’s median household income is far lower than average. The typical St. Louis household earns only $35,959 a year, about $17,700 less than the typical American household. Also, St. Louis’s 28.5% poverty rate is nearly double the 15.5% national poverty rate.”

      http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/06/28/the-worst-cities-to-live-in/9/

      • Alex Ihnen

        So the city has a higher percentage of college educated residents than the national average, but lower income. One issue is the challenge of using national averages for such measurements.

        • WhoDaWhatDa

          That it true. I won’t quibble. Average is still a measure of central tendency just like other metrics. It still gives important information.

          Too many young people are without college education in St. Louis, particularly in tech. This is what I see. Companies can only grow to the education + skill level of their workers. These workers will have problems attracting other highly educated and skilled workers from other parts of the country for a variety of reasons.

          • Alex Ihnen

            I agree with that. I only quibble because so many of these metrics and measurements failed to answer, “compared to what?” Compared to Denver? Seattle? Cincinnati? Of course this quickly devolves into metro area fatalism and macro economic questions which set the stage for growth.

          • Tim E

            I think the job development part of the sales tax proposal/ballot measure is way forward but like the transit part is just too vague, not spelled out on what it is really costing and worse yet, what will be spent. I think it would be much better if it is stated as x dollars or percentage of the particular piece fo the pie will go to support education via St Louis Community College Forest Park and the same Vocational programs via St. Louis Pubilic schools as well as compensate business to establish apprentice programs…

            In other words, spell out adult education, vocational programs and on the job training incentives that create a skill workforces.