Entry #4 What Should Be at Grand and Lafayette

Entry #4 What Should Be at Grand and Lafayette

I’m proposing a 6-story ‘urban’ style QukTrip. The building will use the entire currently empty parcel between Lafayette and McRee Ave. The ground floor will be a typical QuikTrip store, but will be positioned at the sidewalk with direct access to the main door. The gas pumps will be behind with access from side streets (Lafayette and McRee). The second level will be parking for residents. And levels 3-6 will be apartments.

This proposed building will help continue the pattern of large and tall structures along the Grand Blvd corridor. The setback will continue the architectural ‘wall’  that’s already established along Grand Blvd creating a more defined urban space. The wide sidewalk along Grand will create safe, easy, and pleasant access to the QuikTrip store and will serve neighborhood residents, nearby employers, and visitors to the area.

I’m proposing apartments for the upper levels to take advantage of the growing residential demand in the area. The Grand corridor continues to be a thriving and desirable location and the presence of SLU makes the area especially attractive for residents. Incorporating parking into the building will help avoid negative impacts the added residents could have on the neighborhood and eliminate the need for an ugly and wasteful surface level parking lot.

I chose QuikTrip for the ground level use primarily because QuikTrip is already interested in this location and finding commercial tenants can often be challenging. Also, beyond selling gasoline, QuikTrip stores serve pretty much everyone with their wide selection of popular snacks, drinks, and other necessities and convenience items.

The main criticisms of bringing QuikTrip to the neighborhood are that they’re automobile-centric, too low of use for the real estate, and they are ugly. These issues are for the most part design problems. By changing the design and format of the QuikTrip building it gains higher use (dense residential), becomes less auto-centric and more easily serving pedestrians, and becomes a neighborhood asset as a modern “corner store”. These issues have been addressed in similar ‘urban’ covered gas stations in other parts of the world like France and Japan.

The only really challenging aspect of this design is in convincing the QuikTrip corporation to try such a different approach. I think it’s worth a shot though. Gas station/convenience stores are popular and ubiquitous in modern life. Finding a way to fit them into vibrant urban environments will help avoid these kinds of battles going forward and will better serve everyone including customers, neighbors, and cities. This is also in QuikTrip’s best interest. QuikTrip strives to be a strong competitor in the convenience store market and this would definitely give them an edge over other convenience store brands.

Update Dec 17, 2021 3:50pm – I know it’s legal to build on top of gas stations in other countries, but I don’t know of an example in the US. When researching service station technology for this concept it became apparent to me that the service station and convenience store industries are currently undergoing a lot of changes. This concept is intended to be a new way to approach this type of business both now and into the future and be adaptable as we transition to EV technology. It would really be up to QuikTrip to determine the value of installing gas pumps in addition to EV chargers. There would be a lot of factors to consider including future costs of environmental cleanup when making a full transition. It’s possible that QuikTrip might find it more valuable to just start with EV charging only. That approach would fit my concept very well.


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