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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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  • MRNHS

    Instead of asking who should be the next mayor, I will ask you which candidate is best if one was to want the best city development? Crime reduction? Racial equality? And who would be the best overall leader, in your opinion? This is posed to Alex but anyone can feel free to jump in. I have been following the debates and policies/promises of each candidate and feel just as lost now as before all this started.

    • MRNHS

      I guess I should add my opinion if I ask for others to do the same. I think French would be the best overall leader for the city, and the best for crime reduction. But I feel that he wouldn’t “play ball” with developers (could end up being a good thing long-term but not short-term). My opinion is focusing energy on bringing in large corporations/developments benefits the rest of the city (higher tax base) but I’m not sure he would focus on that at all. I think Krewson would be good from a development standpoint but I see her as Slay 2.0 (some good things about this, some bad). Tishaura Jones seems like her policies are good from a progressive standpoint (might reduce red tape for businesses) but she is a bad public speaker (though this can be taught), so I would think her overall leadership for the city would be lacking. Reed has experience but doesn’t “wow” me in the ways each of the other three do.

      • MRNHS

        I suppose this is a nice plug for your podcasts, which I have not listened to yet but will this weekend.

  • Frank Absher

    Southside Y? Still gathering graffiti. Pelican? Same.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes sir. Every day is one day closer to something happening.

  • Saw a letter to the editor in yesterday’s Post that said essentially Toronto became a great city after Quebec passed a law years ago that merged 5 inefficient towns into 1 named Toronto. The letter said they feared losing their individual identities, but that didn’t happen. Is Greitens/MOLEG inclined to do anything similar? Who needs to get on board next in order to take one more step in that direction?

    • Alex Ihnen

      [puts on optimism hat] Perhaps the leader of the “opposition” party (on this issue) is the only one who can make this happen. Perhaps only Nixon could have gone to China, and only Clinton could have accomplished entitlement reform.

      • Since Greitens lived in the city, he may have strong feelings on this. Don’t know. But our MOLEG doesn’t hesitate to ignore the will of the people when they get it in their heads (pockets) to do something for a beloved campaign donor or two. Guess we need someone with campaign money to want it.

  • Per a discussion from the forum, should new metrolink lines be built where they primarily serve folks without one or two cars who use public transportation to get to work? Or should new lines be built where people now take cars to work primarily to get them out of their cars?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Lines should be built to serve our most densely populated areas and those areas where people do not have access to a car.

    • Adam

      Good question. I think we should build where people do not have cars, where rider density is highest, and where we want to attract people who desire to live car free. I think it’s unlikely that many who are used to highway commuting will be lured out of their cars anyway.

      • Alex Ihnen

        And also where there is the real potential for density. For instance, the Blue Line makes no sense if the municipalities along the line are OK with building car dealerships at MetroLink stations.

        • Tim E

          Tough to argue against that. In some respects a N-S city streetcar overlayed with a future County BRT makes so much more sense in my mind for the region….

          The reality is a strong regional system needs to happened for St. Louis before you see a strong regional transit system like you see coming together in Salt Lake, Twin Cities or Denver.

      • I agree.

      • TimJim

        Agree on the density, not on the car-lessness. If we expand MetroLink only for the people without a car — which in St. Louis mostly means people who can’t afford one — we will just reinforce the faulty perception that public transit here is only for the poor and miss an opportunity to generate wider support for transit. People (like me) will gladly ride rather than drive if the train is a convenient alternative.

        • Adam

          Sure. I should have been clear that I meant some mixture of those factors is most important. Not that all must be strictly met. But in order for the train to be convenient for the most people, it has to serve an area with density in both population and destinations, which excludes most of the county. At the moment the most densely populated part of the metro is the city, which probably also corresponds to the are of lowest car ownership per capita.

    • pat

      Just my opinion. I think you need to start with what kind of system do you want to have. Does it go where people want to (where you live, work, or spend money)? Does it operate how you want to (frequent, fast/own ROW)? So you need to put it where people will use it the most and who need it the most. You need to construct it where it can operate most effectively (i.e. have its own ROW). So that limits you to certain roads where it can be built. Roads like Jefferson, Florissant, Broadway, etc. Then you use employment and job density to determine the mode of transit – light rail vs buses.

  • What is going on with the new Cupples building across the Metrolink tracks from the stadium. At one time, they said they would be the first new business building in St. Louis in 20 years or so. Now BP Village says their tower will be the first.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Looks like BPV has its nose in front to be the first. My understanding is that Cupples X is dependent on an anchor tenant. As soon as that anchor signs a lease, it will get started. It seems that hasn’t happened.

      • Tim E

        My gut feeling/speculation is WWT’s subsidiary (can’t think of the name for the live of me) which is the possible anchor tenant is waiting for its corporate parent (World Wide Technology) to finish out their new corporate Westport HQ before getting the money/commitment to go ahead with a Koman/Cupples X deal. The silver lining is they committed to staying and expand current Cupples space if not mistake.

  • Joe s

    I saw the other day in the RFT an article that stated the Everly (apt complex being built in East Loop) had 10 year tax abatement plus 6 more years at half the property improvements. The abatement was calculated to be a total loss of potentially $12.8MM ($7MM to the school district). This led me to wondering, how many new students will potentially be added to the public school system in one of these large 200 unit apartment complex?

    Im just considering that the average yearly cost per child in public school is somewhere in the ball park of $12,000. I’m not sure what portion of this expense comes from federal money vs local sales tax and real property tax but how can cities afford to give abatements like this and why don’t school districts speak up more about it?

    • Alex Ihnen

      That’s a big question and there are few ways to look at it. This isn’t the whole picture, but another criticism of The Everly is it’s geared toward students and young professionals. It’s entirely possible that the project adds zero children to the public schools. The flip side of the argument is that without The Everly, $0 will be added to the public schools (and other needs). With the project, millions should be added after the abatement ends. The language used is so important – while a loss in theory, the argument rests on whether the project would have been done, and would have generated the same tax revenue, without the abatement. I’d argue that the answer isn’t clear.

  • Tim E

    Any rumblings on when Wexford Cortex 3.0 ground breaking is going to happen now that building permit has been issued if not mistaken? Any good updates on Cortex Aloft hotel?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Nothing new. With the permit issued January 30, work should start any day. Dates on Aloft, and obviously the residential component are unknown, and I might bet on a further delay.

      • Tim E

        The Aloft getting delayed would be surprising to me considering that I think their is immediate market in the CWE area for some more hotels rooms and CORTEX has ready made incentives in place

        But then again, I thought Drury would have gone ahead with its FPSE/Kingshighway proposal by this time. In same breadth, I think it would be a good thing to see Green Street’s proposed hotel as Armory phase II go forward before Drury happen if they can get the platform/connectivity to Grand Ave right. Drury FPSE site at end of day might be better suited for mixed used residential. Anyone have different thoughts?

  • Hannah

    Any word of financial backers for bikeshare or the trailnet protected bikeway plans?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Unfortunately, no. I keep hearing that people are working on it and that it will happen. Same thing I’ve heard for…5+ years?

  • Goat314

    If and when the Metrolink tax passes, what do you think happens if it is concluded that building N/S is too expensive for the city to handle alone? Would the city still be able to use that money to build a streetcar or BRT?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes. The funding isn’t restricted to only building N/S MetroLink – though that’s been the rhetoric and the common understanding.

    • rgbose

      It’s an economic development sales tax so I think the BoA can spend it on many things.

  • Goat314

    What are your thoughts about the retail plan for Downtown West?

    • Alex Ihnen

      What retail plan? But really, a specific plan, or just the prospect of retail? My bet is retail aggregates around IKEA. City Foundry, and more retail on the way will make that area a hub. I’m not sure I see a natural retail district in Downtown West.

      • Ben Harvey
        • Alex Ihnen

          Ah – yes. Well, there are plans for retail, but not a retail plan – if that makes sense. The area is clearly underserved and could use a grocery, etc. With more residential development, the area will gain a little retail.

    • Downtown has more empty or office storefronts than any downtown I’ve visited lately. I don’t know about Downtown West, but downtown proper seems to be stagnant for retail, and it’s a shame.

  • RJ

    What is going on in the Locust Business District? I was reading about a lawsuit from some property owners who are dissatisfied with the lack of progress in their district (and I agree nothing is happening) and the lack of transparency from the Board running the special taxing district. It sounded as if he wanted Park Central Development to take over since they have been successful in the Grove any chance of that happening?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Just now reading up on it… In general, I don’t think it’s much of a story. Perhaps there are additional details, but the complaints seem minor? It sounds like they’ve been responsive to needed changes as well. In my opinion, it is a challenge to have so many small taxing districts. Running each one is a challenge, requiring time and some level of expertise. That can be hard to find. And the conflicts of interest? This is St. Louis! In many respects, you can’t be engaged or try to do good with lots of things/people overlapping. All that said, perhaps there’s more to the story, and clearly things absolutely need to run in a clear and honest manner.

      • SnakePlissken

        I’ve been to several meetings. It’s a total shit show ran by clowns. More reason that CID’s can be great or disastrous if ran by crooks. Funny thing is the aldermen are nowhere to be seen.

        • RJ

          Do you know the exact boundaries of the Locust Business District and is Midtown Alley a sub district in the LBD?