Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not Another Garage!?!

In a recent Business Journal article on the current state of downtown, Mike Jones, former deputy mayor for development, says:

“St. Louis Centre was a mistake,” Jones said. “What you ought to do with a mistake is tear it down and do something else with the space.”

While Mr. Jones is correct in that St. Louis Centre was a mistake, I don’t necessarily agree that the best solution is to tear down the building.  Typically, when something gets torn down in this city, nothing gets built to replace it.  The skybridges over Washington and Locust should most definitely be removed, but there is no reason to believe that most of the structure could not be preserved and repurposed.  It would work well either as apartments or as office space, with ground floor retail. 

Pyramid, and its partner Spinnaker, had planned on transforming St. Louis Centre into a mix of residential and retail space to be known as The Concord.  Pyramid’s design for The Concord was sleek and modern and would have fit in well with its surroundings.

After Pyramid’s demise, Spinnaker took ownership of the building and is apparently floating the idea of converting the former mall into a parking garage with ground floor retail – a bit confusing, considering how much parking can be found in the immediate vicinity, including the St. Louis Centre garage and the new garage planned for 7th and Locust.  Do we really need another garage?


threeonefour said...

I don't get it at all. Since renovation of The Laurel (the old Stix/Dillard's space) will probably commence before anything gets done with the old St. Louis Centre anyway, why not see what happens with the market and plan for residential units and/or office space in the building instead? It's not like there's a dearth of parking space in downtown these days anyway.

St. Louis Centre arguably destroyed the connection between the two department stores that it was ostensibly built to save by not encouraging enough street level activity. Redevelopment of this area provides an opportunity to right that wrong, to create more attractive retail space lining Sixth and Seventh streets. Another parking garage will just suck the life out of that area and squander its potential. I'd just as soon tear the entire thing down and start over than to have another garage in the heart of our downtown.

getrealstl said...

I think that there is "built in" demand for parking right there ... The law firm at the US Bank building renewed its lease on the promise of having dedicated, covered parking for the firm. Initially, that would require demolishing the wonderful fountain/plaza area behind the US Bank bldg. ... Since the Center is a blight anyway, converting it to something akin to the 9th st parking garage (which will house the Schnuck's) makes a lot of sense actually.