White Castle Hopes to Slide New Store Design Into The Grove

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If all goes according to plan, White Castle may soon slide in a new building it’s been craving at the location in The Grove. The existing building at the southeast corner of Vandeventer and Chouteau Avenues is 25 years old, where a White Castle has been located since 1950. The new building could be constructed and opened in just 120 days.

White Castle was sent back to the drawing board previously as the neighborhood sought a more pedestrian-friendly design with the new building pushed to the Vandeventer sidewalk. The initial site plan preserved curb cuts on Choteau and Vandeventer and encircled the restaurant with a driveway. Two options now being presented show variations of curb cuts and parking configurations.

In addition, a mural featuring a dragon is proposed for a fence on the site. The Grove is home to dozens of murals adorning various buildings and feature cyclists, a panther, Shakespeare, a martini glass and more. Images and information via Park Central Development Corporation.

Project Description:

The new White Castle restaurant will be 2,793 sq ft. including an enclosed area for storage and matching trash enclosure. Exterior materials will consist of masonry brick, stone accents, and two windows for drive-thru service. The indoor dining area will have seating for 50 customers and outdoor seating at two patio tables. Both inside dining area and drive-thru operations will be open twenty-four hours.The three trees along Chouteau will remain, and new landscaping will include three Red Bud trees and two hundred and

The three trees along Chouteau will remain, and new landscaping will include three Red Bud trees and two hundred and five perennials that are located along the perimeter of the site and dispersed onsite. All existing on-site features will be demolished including pavement, curbing, light poles, landscaping, some utilities, menu board, and clearance detector.The parking lot will be new pavement and striping and use the existing entrances on Chouteau and Vandeventer. A new sidewalk will be

The parking lot will be new pavement and striping and use the existing entrances on Chouteau and Vandeventer. A new sidewalk will be constructed from the front of the building to the existing sidewalk at Vandeventer for pedestrian access and to meet ADA requirements. A pylon sign will be installed at the southwest corner of the property with the new White Castle logo. The proposed construction includes all new lot lighting around the perimeter of the parking area.

First alternative site plan proposed:

Second alternative site plan proposed:

Initial site plan proposed:

   

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  • miguel2586

    And the moral of this story is know when to pick your battles. Would I prefer something denser at this corner? Of course. But it makes no sense to complain over something that’s been there nearly three-quarters of a century, especially at the auto-centric nightmare this intersection has been and probably will remain for the forseeable future. Let’s leave the generic box alone (although we can still push for WC to make the most of the site) and focus on the area to the west, which is becoming more and more walkable, and seeing if we can get some good infill between Vandeventer and Grand.

    • Adam

      That something has “been that way for a long time” is not an argument for letting it remain that way. Sorry but no. We can focus on the area to the west and on this particular intersection simultaneously. And, again, I don’t think anyone here has asked that White Castle move out, only that they change their site plan to accommodate pedestrians.

    • Riggle

      The QT was built a few years ago…

  • Imran

    Reminds me of the CVS on Lindell debate. Having it built up to the street with the drive through behind it made for a much more effective street wall.

  • Brian

    Someone wants to rebuild something on land they have owned for 67 years in the city, isn’t asking for tax breaks, other government handouts and is trying work with the neighborhood. They aren’t tearing down a high density building to put this up. It is a fast food building replacing an older fast food building. Yet, people are going crazy about it. This is insane.

    • Alex Ihnen

      By “people” you mean a couple people on nextSTL, but yes. Cities are always walking that line of collective ownership/impact and individual/corporate rights. Times change and the line moves back and forth. It seems cities are finding success in creating more economically productive areas by requiring property owners to build in a more sustainable way. That said, there are no perfect analogies in city-building.

      • STLrainbow

        Is this area subject to a form-based code yet? I can’t recall precisely what area already has it in the 7th Ward. Anyway, that needs to be done ASAP if not as a lot of change is going to be happening.

      • Brian

        Which is all fine, but has nothing to do with the the choice here.

        This isn’t looking at an abandoned lot or a tear down for a new business coming to the area and fighting for the site to be used in a more productive non auto-centric way. The choice here is between working with White Castle on a new building in a way that still makes sense for White Castle or forcing them to decide to keep the current building for another decade until the climate will be better for them to build what they want. There is going to be a White Castle on that corner no matter what.

        You push to hard at City Hall on this one and you are going to get stuck with the current building operating for years into the future.

        • Adam

          No, that’s you inventing an either/or scenario that doesn’t exist. And given the rate of development in FPSE, if WC thinks they’re gonna hold out for a climate more favorable to drive-throughs then they’re gonna be waiting for a long long time.

          • Brian

            So you think White Castle is going to abandon that corner or design a plan that doesn’t make business sense for them? If the finincial cost become to high for them for a new building, they will just stick with the old one. At certain point the cost of construction and what they see as a potential loss a drive thru revenue will surpass what they project the maintenance cost on the old building going into the future will be. When that happens they will decide to stick with current building. They aren’t going to abandon that corner.

          • Adam

            Again, you’re speculating. I think they’ll concede to a layout that pushes the store up to the sidewalk before abandoning all that traffic. There’s zero reason that they would lose drive-through business by doing so. And if they don’t update the store they’ll lose business to their competition. They know that. Otherwise they wouldn’t be updating it at all. If they do leave, oh well. 5 more restaurants will take their place along Manchester as the neighborhood continues to develop.

        • Riggle

          Too bad that didnt happen across the street, had people pushed hard we would have the old building, now we have a QT that has killed the intersection as any kind of functional urban place for 20 years, keep up the good work, I love progress!

    • Riggle

      Well they tore down the building across the street for a QT, I’m sure you had your reasons to be for that too…

  • kjohnson04

    This is a city. I think somebody at city hall needs to remind them of this every time a project is proposed. No excuse for auto-centric development along a bus and a bike route.

  • Tired of Riggle’s behavior

    Riggle needs to be moderated or banned from posting inflammatory comments and foul language. Riggle, be humble, kind, and behave online like an adult. Peace!

    • Nick

      Hear hear

      • JZ71

        I’ll third that! You can disagree without being disagreeable!

    • Friend of Riggle

      Get fucked

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  • Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

    If you’re older than 22 you shouldn’t be eating White Castle. If you are and do I certainly hope you’re not using Obamacare because I’m tired of paying for your unhealthy ass.

    • Nick

      You do realize that if you have any type of insurance, you’re paying for other people’s decisions with your premiums regardless of whether or not it’s provided by the government?

  • rgbose

    We need more productive land uses than this auto-oriented one to have a chance of covering the costs of infrastructure and services. I was hopeful this would happen at Delmar and Skinker soon after the fast food place closed there. It’s nearly 4 years latter and nothing.

    • Adam

      Isn’t that because the owner is sitting on it though?

      • rgbose

        Yes. That could happen here too, or it could sit for some other reason.

  • WikiWild

    5 minutes on microsoft paint and we have a curb hugging building, parking, same curb cuts, and a drive through. Everyone can have what they want!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2416df81940ca28d80c33a82280f56033933cb2266569bcf063979b800372651.jpg

    • Adam

      Yep. I really don’t get why it’s so difficult. It may be that the utilities connections are in the middle of the site where the current kitchen sits, or something like that.

      • WikiWild

        If they are doing ground up construction, they are likely going to clear the entire lot anyway. I’d imagine they are smarter than attempting to utilize a 70 year old sewer line. The cost or running the gas and water ~20ft in either direction (closer to the street where the utilities run) would be a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost of this project.

        • STL4Life

          Unless there are utility easements which restrict the building footprint…just putting it out there.

    • Nick

      I think there’s two reasons why they don’t consider this. 1st, they need space between the entrances and the building for the drive-thru to form a line, which is more difficult with a building that hugs the sidewalk. 2nd, they don’t get much foot traffic through there as is, and even with the upcoming Chouteau’s Grove apartments, that intersection is still pretty uninviting for pedestrians. As such, why bother making it pedestrian friendly?

      • Riggle

        With that attitude it never will be…

        And they actually get alot of foot traffic

        • Nick

          I live around the corner. There is virtually zero foot traffic along Vandeventer in this area.

          • Riggle

            You are just wrong. Maybe instead of sitting inside, around the corner, assuming, take a clipboard out there and count for an hour and get back to me (something I’ve done there). The amount of people that cross on foot there and almost get killed is staggering. Interesting that you focused only on Vandeventer

          • Nick

            I’m sure you have.

          • Riggle

            Yup, for Trailnet, they do ped counts once at various intersections in the City and County, check it out

          • Nick

            Word of advice, if you’re going to go around being a dick in online comment sections, maybe you shouldn’t mention the non-profit that you work with.

          • Riggle

            Anyone can vounteer for it, genius

  • Riggle

    White castle and QT, no sidewalk on one side of the street, at the entrance to st louis’ hottest urban neighborhood… just let that sink in

  • Chris

    Well they have to retain a drive thru so there are few options for site planning. Seeing as they have been there for 67 years, paying taxes and providing jobs, seeing the neighborhood through good bad and now good again, maybe the city and neighborhood could be a little more accomodating.

    • Adam

      yeah the White Castle really helped turn the neighborhood around. 90% of their business is drive through from traffic along vandeventer, and that high-volume, high-speed traffic is more of detriment to the neighborhood than White Castle is a benefit. I’m sure they’d waste no time packing up and moving–neighborhood be damned–if they weren’t turning a profit. If they actually gave a shit about the neighborhood they’d put forth a better design. No sympathy here.

      • Chris

        Well they arent in the architecture business. I find it amusing that the same people who will fight to save giant Amoco signs, former fast food icons shaped like flying saucers, and gas stations built with shiny porcelain brick are the same people who disdain current pop architecture. I can’t wait for the day when McDonald’s is about to demo their last few Mansard Roof buildings and people are chained to them with historic tax credit documents in hand. I dream for a day in St. Louis where arm chair architects dont complain about the lack of red brick and wrought iron fences on a set of architectural plans. We live in a city where a bus on a roof of a building, a nonoperable windmill attached to a building more at home in Denmark, and a gas station sign the size of a basketball court are fawned over as if I.M. Pei himself carved them by hand from the horn of a unicorn who died of natural causes, all while using the tears of a baby seal to lubricate his carving instrument. Go put up some drywall for habitat for humanity and let White Castle continue what they have been doing for 67 years.

        • Adam

          Cute diatribe. Very clever. Unicorns!

          “Well they arent in the architecture business.”

          That’s why they employ architects (who are in the architecture business) to design their buildings for them. They just do a shitty job of it.

          It’s unfortunate that you can’t distinguish between unique, place-making structures (the Saucer, the Amoco sign, Bevo Mill, the Arch) and cookie-cutter fast food places. Seems like you might enjoy a weekend getaway in Fenton. Maybe when there are only a handful of fast food places left we’ll look back on them with some nostalgia and preserve a specimen or two. At present, though, they’re just making the city or horrible place for pedestrians. Note, also, that the primary complaint here is the siting and not the aesthetics.

          “I dream for a day in St. Louis where arm chair architects dont complain
          about the lack of red brick and wrought iron fences on a set of
          architectural plans.”

          I’m sure your future libertarian world will be a wonderful place with fast food and gas stations as far as the eye can see and where cars roam free, unhindered by lines and regulations. Hope I’m dead by then.

          • Riggle

            That future is here in much of southwest city and most of st louis county, its great /s

          • Chris

            I can distiguish between place making structures, I’ve been in this business for over 20 years. This is not a case of approving a NEW White Castle to replace an old building. They are already there, they know their business model better than you and attempting to alter their formula for warm and fuzzy reasons is just poor business. It backs to a self storage and sits at the ramp to a bridge. Hardly a PLACE making environment. Thinking that forcing White Castle to blend in with a neighborhood it has been a part of for 67 years will be a game changing PLACE making effort only displays naivety and lack of awareness of the big picture. How about I put Bevo Mill under contract and tear it down to build an apartment building?

          • Adam

            You’ve been in the business of distinguishing between place-making structures? Is that similar to the business of distinguishing between place-making structures and place-destroying structures like gas stations and fast food joints? Please tell us more.

            Anyway, this is why we’re not going to agree (and why most people on this site aren’t going to agree with you). To you, requiring a safer, more pleasant, more accessible environment for non-drivers = “warm and fuzzy”. Meanwhile, the cities experiencing the most growth (Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, etc.) have realized that a safer pedestrian and cyclist experience creates a more desirable city and makes more economic sense. As always, though, we’re slow on the uptake here in good ol’ St. Lou. Apparently the decay and population loss associated with favoring cars over people for more than half a decade isn’t enough to change some minds.

          • Chris

            Im in the development business. Ive rehabbed 2 family flats, ive built shopping centers in corn fields and ive restored Loft buildings into retail, office and residential. San Francisco and Seattle also have their fair share of fast food companies. This White Castle is at an appropriate corner and intersection for a vehcile oriented business as is the QT and the Commerce Bank with drive thrus. Would tlany of those be appropriate 1 block to the West? NO. Are amy of those three businesses destroying the fabric of the walkability of The Grove? NO. Has to corner of Vandeventer and Manchester/Chouteau, with its adjacency to railroad tracks and under a bridge EVER been pedestrian friendly? NO. We have to work within the existing infrastructure that we have. There is a reason White Castle and QT didnt pick the corner of Manchester and Taylor and by that same reason there are certain streets or portions of streets that shouldnt accomodate pedestrians on a grand scale. Cars or similar people moving devices arent going to disappear. Focus your efforts on something other than micromanaging a half acre parcel adajacent to railroad tracks and a bridge.

          • rgbose
          • Chris

            Whats missing from that picture are the railroad tracks in behind it to the east and the industrial buildings to the north and south. To gain that back you would have to shrink Vandeventer which given its required access to I64 wont happen due to the need for sufficient vehicle stacking at peak hours. Continue the pedestrian friendly atmosphere to the west, which looks and functions great, and let this intersection serve it purpose for modern society.

          • Adam

            The intersection looked like that despite the railroad tracks and industrial buildings. And your logic is that because it was made auto-oriented it can’t ever be undone. Just not true. There are examples of traffic calming all over the country, including a couple here. And again, that White Castle and QT picked that intersection to harvest commuters is not a reason to keep it that way. They can adapt or move. The quality of life of people who actually live in that neighborhood takes precedence over the convenience of commuters.

          • Chris

            Gas stations pick locations based on traffic count and proximity to major thoroughfares. Go convince MODOT to change their traffic engineering code and let me know how that goes. Be interested to see what your neighborhood quality of life would be when you have yo travel far outside your area to get gas. Its not like QT backs to any houses.

          • Adam

            “Gas stations pick locations based on traffic count and proximity to major thoroughfares.”

            So then we’re obligated to maintain our neighborhoods in such a state that QT might want to build a gas station there. Got it.

            “Go convince MODOT to change their traffic engineering code and let me know how that goes.”

            Not sure why I would need to do this for a city street.

            “Be interested to see what your neighborhood quality of life would be when you have yo travel far outside your area to get gas.”

            Yeah, see, the point is that if I could walk or bike without fear of being killed by inevitably-speeding asshole drivers I wouldn’t need to buy gas very often.”

            “Its not like QT backs to any houses.”

            Yeah, all the houses were already torn down to widen the roads for more cars.

            I have a feeling we’ve argued about these things before.

          • Chris

            Ok, if you dont understand the need to zone for basic services then you dont get the big picture. Maybe you should find a self sustaining commune to live in.

          • Riggle

            You are the problem, please leave

          • Chris

            No, I’m the voice of reason and reality in room full of poorly informed idealists.

          • Chris

            So Adam, MODOT took ownership of the Chouteau bridge east of Vandeventer back in 2003. The bridge that was there was built in 1935 and was falling down. MODOT built a new one because the city didnt have the money. So yeah you do need to talk to them.

            Also next time you Google the intersection of Vandeventer and Chouteau dont pick the first picture you see to support your claims of a walkable neighborhood. AKA, dont be myopic. This was a fractured neighborhood from the early 1900s due to the railroad yard and still remains so to some extent.
            As for increasing density and ignoring the required movement for vehicles, including buses and Metro, in the name of making a more pedestrian friendly environment ONLY, you will defeat your own purpose. If you dont properly funnel vehicle traffic out and away from more pedestrian areas you will have chaos. This small section of Vandeventer is designed to do just that so let it, and maintain the pedestrian friendliness on the west side of Vandeventer as it is intended. As Cortex continues to grow employment, the new SSM gets built on Grand and the Grove continues to add density the ease of GETTING THERE will have to be accomodated and that will only be accomplished by the I64 ramp and the stretch of Vandeventer between White Castle and the On Ramp bolstered by the Chouteau bridge heading east into SLU territory. If you accomplish that you can have a successful, dense, pedestrian friendly atmosphere all the way from the Grove to Tower Grove and the Hill which would be awesome. By your standards it would appear you would rather eliminate or dramatically reduce the vehicular access at Kingshighway and 64 by comparison, as doing such would strangle regional access to the CWE. Safe and effective vehicular and people moving management is a key component to providing pedestrian friendly environments but you seem bent on ignoring that fact.

          • Riggle

            Thanks 1980, don’t need your thinking

          • Chris

            Ok dingleberry. I was 8 years old on 1980 growing up in south city doing things like taking the BiState bus with my mom to go shopping at Globe Drugs on Cherokee and the Sears on Grand and walking to grade school. Probably about the same time your parents were living in the burbs.
            You’d probably be interested to know that some of my clients are the very people building new urbanist, pedestrian friendly projects as we speak. So unless you have any kmowledge or history on the subject please refrain from comments like “You got fucking owned”. It makes you sound like the one loud drunk dumb ass at the bar who high fives everybody for stuff that really isnt that high five worthy.

          • Adam

            Ok but I never mentioned Chouteau. I mentioned Vandeventer, which carries a highway’s worth of traffic because it connects to the highway right there. Also, I didn’t post any photos. That was rgbose. And the photo he posted clearly shows a pedestrian-navigable intersection probably around 30 years prior to it being destroyed by more, faster cars (as in your photo). You talk about infrastructure being given over to cars as as if it’s inevitable. It’s not. Sorry. This city has just made a ton of bad infrastructure decisions over the last 100 or so years and we’re still dealing with the consequences.

          • Chris

            I agree there have been poor infrastructure decisions and between MODOT and the City they have worked to rectify them long term by creating corridors like this stretch of Vandeventer and Hampton, Kingshighway and Grand between 44 and 64 to handle bulk traffic and distribute it in smaller portions into the neighborhoods which is the logical step to recitfying those poor decisions of old. Manchester/Chouteau can become more pedestrian friendly as a result of these few heavy duty corridors. If you dont give the region access to places like the Grove, South Grand and the Loop they will be doomed to fail especially from a retail standpoint.

          • Riggle

            No, you are the voice of a (thankfully) almost dead generation, take your shit to the County, leave the City for the next generation, we may not fuck it up like you did

          • Chris

            Ok big guy. Id venture to guess Ive done quite a bit more urban development than you with more to come. If you can ever come to understand the economic realities of what it takes then maybe you will understand. Short of that you will be waiting a loonnnggg time to reach the ideal you read about in the latest urban planning blog.

          • Chris

            This was your pedestrian friendly neighborhood in 1958. That being said White Castle is probably just out of camera view and a mere 7 years old. Ahh the good old days. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/924f5d036e4c0dc108838a3c77e707834715b2e6d7887bd889f28a15e3922af3.jpg

          • Adam

            Fast food is a basic service? I wasn’t aware. And gas stations don’t need to be a full city block in length. That’s a recent development.

          • Chris

            The reason gas stations are getting bigger is because they are preparing for underground storage for multiple forms of fuel. They are teeing up for the next 50 years as we move towards natural gas, hydrogen and electric. So they are infinitely more environmentally friendly than old stations. You will continue to see fewer stations but the new ones will be larger. If one new QT eliminates 2 or 3 older gas stations in neighborhoods that is good planning for the future to handle our changing society.

          • Adam

            Maybe. They also have 5x the number of pumps that older stations had. And full service junk-food stores.

          • Adam

            (And those pumps aren’t dispensing electricity, hydrogen, or natural gas.)

          • Chris

            It not MAYBE it IS. They need 5x the pumps to handle the traffic. They also make most of their money on the instore sales not the gas. If they didnt sell other stuff they wouldnt be able to stay in business for the amount of investment it takes.

          • Adam

            We’re arguing in circles. First you say gas stations HAVE to be that big b/c “the future”. (And, c’mon. As if any QT built within the last 5 years is looking that far into the future. They have a life span of what, 10 years on average?) Then you say they HAVE to be that big to handle the volume. In reality they just WANT to be that big to make more money off the traffic volume and keep competitors away. The whole point of this argument is that the increased traffic volume and the businesses that feed off of that volume are turning once-dense parts of the city into deserts. I’m out. Got other stuff to do.

          • Chris

            Well you are still wrong. QT isnt the only one doing this. All gas stations across the nations have this model. Go do your stuff and do more research.

          • Adam

            Okay, Chris. Can’t argue with “Nuh, uh. You’re wrong.” (And I never said that QT was the only one doing it, as if that were even relevant.) You continue to mistake what’s best for auto-centric businesses with what’s best for city residents. Guess I’ll talk to ya in a couple years when you randomly pop back on here to argue endlessly in favor of some new gas station or fast food place. I recall your staunch defense of the QT at Jefferson and Chouteau. It’s as if you have a stake in their business. By the way, recall that this all started because people here were asking for White Castle to re-orient their store—not eliminate the drive-through all together—in order to limit pedestrian interaction with cars, to which you (over)reacted “ARM CHAIR ARCHITECTS! THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT!” Paraphrasing, of course.

          • Chris

            I am fully aware of the White Castle design argument and I was attempting to point out the fact that putting the building close to the street would eliminate the car stack in the drive thru which would cause cars to pour out onto the road and block the sidewalk and thereby the pedestians. The most effective and pedestrian friendly design is to leave the damn building in the middle of the lot for full circulation. Instead everyone was complaining about dragons and eliminating a business that has been contributing to the tax base for 67 years. So which facts do you wnt to use to fit your argument? Its the lack of understanding about how these retailers think is the biggest problem this city has and that attitude is reflected on this blog more often than not and continues to be a hinderance to real growth. If you want to eliminate fast food do what Creve Couer did and make any commercial development in the city 3 acres or more. They effectively eliminated freestanding drive thru retail purely based on the fact that it is not economically feasible. Maybe ask someone who does this for a living and sees both sides instead of reading it in a book.

          • Chris
          • Riggle

            Hahaha, fucking OWNED!!!!!!!!!

          • Adam

            Your assumption is that a city composed of island neighborhoods disconnected by highways and stroads is desirable. If it were we’d be gaining population instead of losing it. Yeah, cities like Denver and Seattle have plenty of legacy drive-through places, but they’ve also updated their city plans and their zoning to favor more dense, more pedestrian-focused development. Meanwhile, we continue to tear down urban forms for drive through chicken in places where we should be doing the opposite (e.g. Hampton and Chippewa).

            “We have to work within the existing infrastructure that we have.”

            Yeah, we can work to change it so that it accommodates everyone and not just drivers.

            “Focus your efforts on something other than micromanaging a half acre parcel adajacent to railroad tracks and a bridge.”

            If we had city-wide zoning and a planning office like every other modern city on the planet we wouldn’t have to micromanage it. But since St. Louis refuses to evolve, that’s what we’re left to do. I’ll focus my efforts on what I find important, and that’s making St. Louis a walkable, bikeable city for its residents, not a race track for suburban commuters.

          • Chris

            Trust me noone holds disdain for the city zoning situation than me. I am also a champion of connecting neighborhoods. Its one of STLs biggest problems, BUT there are still things we need to accept and weave into the city landscape. Necessities such as Gas stations arent going to disappear. Zone in parcels for gas and drive thrus and get away from the hodge podge, crony zoning we have had in place for 100 years.

          • JZ71

            Increased density in Denver is being driven by rapidly rising land values. As long as land remains as cheap as it does, around here, justifying higher densities will remain a challenge!

          • Adam

            Who’s talking about density?

          • Nick

            The decay and population loss in St. Louis was not caused by StL being a city that favors cars. Causation actually runs the opposite way. Same is true that improved cycling and pedestrian neighborhoods in the cities you mentioned didn’t cause their growth, it’s also the other way around.

            I think THAT is at the heart of disagreements such as yours and Chris’s. Creating walkable neighborhoods won’t save St. Louis. North City is full of walkable neighborhoods. You need economic growth to come first by allowing businesses like, say, White Castle succeed. Then you get population increases, then you get your walkable neighborhoods. That’s how Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, etc. became what they are.

          • Adam

            I agree that jobs are critical, but it’s a combination of jobs and creating a desirable place to live. And the type of jobs is important. We could build another 500 White Castles and gas stations and it won’t attract college graduates. On the flip side, we have jobs for people with advanced degrees that aren’t being filled because, given the choice between, say, St. Louis and Denver, prospective employees choose Denver. In large part that’s because Denver is being progressive in their development (density and transit) while we continue to build stand-alone fast food places in the heart of the city.

            As for loss and decay, the driver was most likely racism and the dirty conditions associated with industrialization, but the loss was most definitely made possible by the overbuilding of highways and the replacement of transit with cars.

          • Nick

            Again, the reason Denver is being more progressive with their development is because there’s demand for that type of development, which we lack.

            St. Louis will never be walkable like Denver, ever. Denver and most cities like it have a series of desirable neighborhoods that are connected to one another (without some major barrier like a highway) making it easy to get between areas without a car. Our desirable neighborhoods, mostly south city and the central corridor, are carved up by highways, industrial areas, and disconnected from downtown by a large rail yard. While walking within neighborhoods is do-able, walking between them is nearly impossible, at best impractical. Our only series of interconnected, walk-able neighborhoods would be north city, and it’s arguably the most economically-depressed area in the US.

            That’s not to say there’s no hope for St. Louis. We just need to acknowledge what we are. Cities like LA, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, etc. are all vibrant towns that are auto-centric. We should strive to be more like these places, not a group of cities that it’s impossible for us to become.

          • Riggle

            St Louis is about 100 times more walkable than denver, and has bones to be 1000 times more walkable, people like you make it impossible because CARSLAVE, and thats the problem

          • moorlander

            I’d argue that Denver is more like Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta than we are. We were much bigger than all of those cities when urban areas were built for people not people

          • Nick

            True we were much bigger back in the day, but that’s not the case now, and many neighborhoods of stl do not resemble themselves from 75 years ago

          • STLrainbow

            I agree. And fwiw, although Denver is growing quickly and we’re static at best (largely due to continuing losses in North City), we still retain a higher population density than Denver. As for Atlanta, they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve bike/ped/transit infrastructure. We should do the same.

          • STLrainbow

            Well this is a depressing comment; fortunately I don’t think it reflects reality. Sure, we have some unfortunate land uses that make some connections a challenge and we need to address some crossing/sidewalk needs, but I find the claim that walking between neighborhoods is nearly impossible to be way off base. Why just a few days ago, I took a nice walk between Tower Grove South and Tower Grove East and nothing stopped me from continuing my journey to Benton Park West to Benton Park to wherever else I wanted to go except for time allotted.

          • Adam

            “With the possible exception of the central corridor, St. Louis will never be walkable like Denver, ever.”

            Having just moved back to St. Louis from outside of Denver, and having spent a considerable amount of time there, I strongly disagree with this. Denver is sliced up by highways and train tracks as well. And it’s spread out over a larger area. The one advantage they may have is that their street grid is largely rectilinear, whereas ours converges on the river.

          • Adam

            And to echo moorlander, St. Louis was a compact, walking city before Denver was even founded.

          • Nick

            Other than I-25 Denver doesn’t have many barriers breaking up neighborhoods…and it’s downtown (which is far more vibrant than StL) is directly connected to many great neighborhoods as well.

          • Adam

            Disagree about the lack of barriers. We have 70/55 running along the river/perimeter and an east-west swath through the center sliced out by 64, 44, and the railroads. They have 70 running along their perimeter and a north-south swath chopped out by 25 and the railroads. Then they have 225 and we have 170 at roughly the same distance from DT. Then they have 470 at roughly the same distance as our 270. I think both cities are pretty evenly chopped up. The difference is, as you pointed out, that large chunks of St. Louis have been abandoned and or demolished. But that doesn’t mean they’re poorly connected. It just means they’re empty. Agree that the biggest detriment to perceived connectivity in St. Louis is that we destroyed all the neighborhoods that bordered downtown, and nobody wants to walk through a dead zone. I’d say that with CWE development stretching eastward and DT West development starting to pick up a bit, we could definitely reconnect the central corridor and alleviate some of that perceived disconnection in much less time than “never”. And hopefully the NGA and associated development will lead to some better connections north of DT. As for south, yes 64 + 44 + the train yards will continue to make those connections difficult, but not significantly more so than the analogous east-west connections in Denver.

          • Adam

            Oh, I should add: not surprised at a business trying to put its own interests above those of the neighborhood and the city. That’s why the city is obligated to regulate businesses—for the sake of its citizens. It’s a pretty common phenomenon.

  • STLExplorer
    • John

      Agreed. Even without the 8 stories, a modern White Castle building would work so much better than the standard franchise building concept. This proposal should go back to the drawing board again, until they get it right.

      • Chris

        What exactly is a “Modern White Castle Building”.

        • John

          View the example link above posted by STLExplorer and envision the photo concept without an 8-story building.

      • citylover

        I like the above design, but for a white castle? Must have to sell a lot of sliders to rent a corner space like that. Fast food is cheap. IMO, that corner space seems odd for cafeteria food.Though the design and urban form of Vandeventer WC is not my favorite, I think it’s appropriate for a white castle.

    • Nick

      This is a different story. The Columbus project is in the middle of a bustling neighborhood that very likely sees lots of foot traffic. The StL White Castle sits at the edge of an industrial neighborhood opposite of a neighborhood that sees a marginal amount of foot traffic.

      • Riggle

        Thus sits at a bustling neighborhood at well

  • Jake Banton

    Obviously their idea of going back to the drawing board was to just move the same block around on the site. If they really wanted to get some good will with the neighborhood they’d let their architect design them a non-cookie cutter building.

  • John

    Not liking the mural. I realize art is subjective. I don’t dine at WC, but those who do will surely patronize the place.

  • Framer

    It ain’t the Castle without white porcelain.

  • miguel2586

    No problem here. Replace generic fast-food joint on corner with new generic fast-food joint with brick & art. So innovative!!!

  • WantGoodFood

    You can pick up a crave case and munch along the way as you head in to the bars. After you leave The Grove, you will then feel the unpleasant effects (consequences) of those belly bombers. A St. Louis establishment to be remembered. Be sure to eat a lot of veggies to compensate.

    • Riggle

      Mike Piaza?

  • Adam

    gross.