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 Noon-1pm today:

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  • Tom

    Just wanted to say congrats on the kickstarter. My family certainly could have found another use for the money donated, but I feel supporting a site that has informed and grown my love of this remarkable city is well worth it. Keep up the good work.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Thanks. But don’t go giving money to NEXT STL that’s needed elsewhere! We’ll be fine. 🙂

  • Zach Shaw

    Any word on BallPark Village or One Hundred?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Still moving ahead, nothing bad or exciting (our two specialties) to report. 🙂

  • SouthCityJR

    Does it sound like MFH will most likely get approval to demo that building on Tower Grove? If so, what a shame.

    • Alex Ihnen

      … (asking around) (looking)

  • Nick

    Any updates on the Union Station Aquarium? Seemed like a hot topic for a while but haven’t heard anything new nor seen any construction going on.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Nothing new to share. 🙁 Last I had heard, the project was close to signing an operator. There are only a couple out there, so there’s not a lot of competition or guessing who’s in the running. It’s a bit surprising there hasn’t been more info, but their hand was probably forced a bit on the timeline since the project had to be included in request for development incentives. However, I don’t believe those incentives specify, or require, that an aquarium be built.

  • Will M

    What do you think of the modern architecture for the new construction homes in FPSE within the Forest West Properties boundary? do you think such infill is appropriate in most neighborhoods in the city in order to combat vacancy or would it be better to build infill to suit the other homes in the neighborhood (like the infill in benton park)?

    I personally would like a focus on apartment complexes and multiple story condo buildings as opposed to single family homes.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think the city suffers greatly from a lack of diversity in housing. Bring on the modern, the contemporary, the variety…as long as it’s ~urban in form. And I agree regarding apartments and condos. I especially think the city should incenitivize townhomes/rowhouses. It’s smart land use, adds much more to the city in revenue than single-family homes, and is in-demand.

      • Will M

        might be good to plan ahead for when st louis makes its great comeback! lol but yeah kinda

  • Nick

    Random question: do you have any updates on how the Clemens House is holding up, and if it stands any chance of a major rehab any time soon? At what point does a house like this travel beyond the point of no return? The last bit of news I can find is that it’s still owned by Paul Mckee, he promised to rehab it but hasn’t done much, and an RFT piece from a year ago showing various collapsed portions. Obviously it can only be worse today.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Anything can be saved. Why any continued support (or non-crushing of McKee) by the city wasn’t tied to preserving Clemens House, I have no idea. I believe the adjacent sanctuary will be lost, but the home will be preserved, but have no confirmed news to share.

  • Will M

    Are the hotels downtown moving ahead as planned? and is there any contingent investment to the mls stadium being built? Are there any plans to develop something along the lines of a ballpark village on the surrounding lots?

    • Alex Ihnen

      As far as we know, all announced hotels are still moving forward. Union Station will serve as a “Ballpark Village” for the MLS stadium – assuming it’s built.

  • Will M

    is there any timeline on when we can expect to hear back about the county metrolink extension study?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Zero idea. I don’t think the County really wants more MetroLink. I mean, I don’t think they wanted to Blue Line (by the looks of adjacent development). The County just thinks it has to weigh in heavily because a lot of Metro funding comes from the County. So…I wouldn’t be surprised if we see delay after delay in a study. Then, I’ll bet the study will be rather perfunctory.

  • ChiStL80

    How do you see the Prop1 and Prop2 vote going on Tuesday?

    • Alex Ihnen

      My guess = both pass, but to be honest, ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

      • Nick

        My apologies as you’ve probably already answered this, but what’s your opinion on it passing?

        • Alex Ihnen

          Meaning…?

          I’d vote Yes on 1, and No on 2.

          The stadium funding is better than most deals out there. So it’s not tragic, in the way that other deals have been. BUT, there’s still no evidence that pro sports are the path to creating a better St. Louis (if by better one means a better place to live).

          • Nick

            That’s what I meant, how would you like the vote to go

  • Adam

    Kickstarted! Congrats, Alex!

    I think blogs like Built St. Louis, Urban Review STL, Urban STL, and Next STL have played a significant role in getting people re-invested in the city. I know they did for me. Next STL really is an invaluable asset.

  • rgbose

    Congrats on the Kick Starter! Thanks to all who contributed!

  • Frank Absher

    Did you ever find out details on the Praxair refusal?

    • Alex Ihnen

      We’ve only heard that Lafayette Square residents show up against it. Objections were density and traffic. Many want single-family homes instead of rowhouses. If the rather staid project proposed can’t win neighborhood approval, I think it’s difficult to imaging what would.

      • SouthCityJR

        I have a bad feeling the developer will throw in the towel and this eyesore will remain for another decade. Not a good outcome.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Right. And those neighbors opposed will…be happy, I guess?

  • TimJim

    What would you say is the most underdeveloped neighborhood with the most potential in the city? My vote would go to the West End.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I’ll let my bias show and go with Gravois Park/Dutchtown. There’s a reason I work down here. The neighborhoods are intact and dense, but there’s great opportunity to redevelop as well. There’s a big focus by a lot of energetic/smart people on Gravois – look for it become a “Great Street”. The location is great, the buildings are great, the people are great.

    • rgbose

      I think of Fountain Park when that question comes up.
      The wide-lot hew houses in the West End bother me.

      • Alex Ihnen

        West End homes are just huge (in many cases), making them difficult/expensive to rehab.

    • Riggle

      Downtown St Louis, downtown west, midtowne, grand center, the actual urban core. Tons of vacancy, little vibrant street life, its honestly shocking how the rest of the region (including the people on the North and South side) don’t think it matters. Its all that matters (to outsiders, visitors, investors etc), “see how great tgs/cwe/clayton is” isn’t going to cut it. Shit downtown equals shit city from a quick glance.

      • Will M

        i agree, perception of our core is how we will be evaluated and, ultimately, what will bring in large investors and draw in greater tourism and attract new residents

  • Adam Rentchler

    This chat was a good reminder to donate to the Kickstarter. I guess *almost* late is better than never.

  • Alex P

    What if I want the 1875 Almanac AND a T-Shirt???

    • Alex P

      Also, just $208 to go, very well done, everyone.

      • Alex Ihnen

        And yes – so great, and rather scary. So much work ahead of us.

        • Alex P

          Not trying to be pessimistic here but I was a little disappointed by the number of backers. Although there has been a lot of talk recently about the value of quality followers over quantity. At a $93 average donation, those are some engaged readers / followers.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Oh, I can give you the full pessimistic take and the full optimistic take – probably in one run-on sentence. 25K Twitter followers doesn’t equal $25K. A Retweet equals $0. A friendly email saying thanks for writing stories also equals $0, though is still greatly valued. But no reason to be anything other than completely grateful for support. It will make a more sustainable NEXT STL possible.

          • Alex P
    • Alex Ihnen

      Hmmm… Good Q. We may see what we can do about getting T-shirts to all our kindly supporters. But almanacs are long gone. Did you get one?

      • Alex P

        I did! Obviously a pretty good deal, judging by its popularity. I thought so.
        (plus a fellow Drury Alum was highly involved in curating that exhibit so I had to)