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Downtown STL, Bright in 1985, will it be brighter this time?

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by jcity » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:53 pm

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1985/12/23/66811/index.htm From Ecoabscence [url]http://ecoabsence.blogspot.com/2010/05/at-about-505-p.html/url]

This is slightly depressing, but I think all of the residential units downtown will make a huge difference this time. A return to urban living and the sprawl into Illinois will ultimately help downtown. I feel like this previous generation of leaders cared more about the city and downtown than todays leaders. This is a fascinating article for anyone interested about the history and future of this city/downtown.
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by Alex Ihnen » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:01 pm

^ A good reminder that what we have today isn't guaranteed tomorrow. A vibrant downtown 20 years from now relies as much or more on what we're doing then than what we're doing now.
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by bonwich » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:51 am

But wait! Nothing that happened back then mattered. Everything is so much different now. There's a whole new generation that does things completely differently... 8)
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by Alex Ihnen » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:52 am

bonwich wrote:But wait! Nothing that happened back then mattered. Everything is so much different now. There's a whole new generation that does things completely differently... 8)


Who said that?
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by soulardx » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:06 am

Hmmmm, who was the always-cynical Bonwich of 1980s St. Louis?
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by debaliviere » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:10 am

At St. Louis Centre, the Baltimore architectural firm of RTKL Associates has created an eye-popping four-story arcade linking two existing department stores. The designers strove to create an atmosphere that is urban rather than suburban; instead of blank outside walls, the center has lots of windows offering shoppers glimpses of downtown streets.


It would be more accurate to say that it made you want to gouge your eyes out.

Practically the entire western facade was blank walls!
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by bonwich » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:31 am

SoulardX wrote:Hmmmm, who was the always-cynical Bonwich of 1980s St. Louis?


Mais non! I was anything but cynical in the 1980s. I figured things were finally changing. I also held that view, to varying degrees, through Technology Gateway, Downtown Now! and St. Louis 2004.

Some elements along the way that injected skepticism/cynicism include the Gateway Mall, the Century Building and Busch III. I'm currently extremely skeptical/cynical about City To River -- not because the City To River folks don't have an outstanding vision and aren't doing a wonderful job, but rather because I still haven't heard of any grown-ups that have signed on as champions. And the clock is ticking extremely quickly.

As for who said thinga are different now, pretty much every time I post a clip from the '80s or '90s, there are several expressions of that opinion.
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by debaliviere » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:33 am

bonwich wrote:As for who said thinga are different now, pretty much every time I post a clip from the '80s or '90s, there are several expressions of that opinion.


Judging from a few items mentioned in that article, things are worse. Employment is under 100,000, large law and accounting firms have left, etc.
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by Alex Ihnen » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:38 am

bonwich wrote:I still haven't heard of any grown-ups that have signed on as champions.


You'll certainly hear more soon. I'll add that comments such as this are childish and demeaning to the effort underway. I'm sure you'll say it's just an observation, but you know it's a cynical, pessimistic and unproductive comment.
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by bonwich » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:51 am

Oh, horsecrap, Alex. I said nothing derogatory about the effort underway. What I did say, and perhaps you could use your supermoderator status to rebut as opposed to calling names, is that there are NO civic leaders yet on board with this plan. (If there are, NAME them and quit this catty "we're going to have an announcement soon" crap.)

Again, THIS DOES NOT DEMEAN THE EFFORT. But answer me this: City To River is clearly a visionary concept. But pragmatically, it's going to take some, if not many, members of local civic "leadership" to make it happen. Why has not a SINGLE Danforth, Fleming, Slay, McCaskill, blah blah blah, had the guts to champion the cause?
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by Alex Ihnen » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:18 am

Whatever, keep being pessimistic and negative and we'll keep working.

I will say that if you're still waiting for people such as Danforth, McCaskill, etc. to lead us then you're more stuck in the past than anyone. I haven't seen anyone calling names yet, other than your comment that no "grown ups" have signed up as champions of the effort. Again, I accept and understand your point, but City to River isn't out to impress you. We're working diligently to line up just the type of support you're talking about.
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by Alex Ihnen » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:22 am

^^ by the way, don't mock "supermoderater status" - it can be challenging wearing a cape at the office

Image
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by bonwich » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:22 am

If you don't think you'll need to have Claire firmly on board before anything happens, you guys are doomed from the start. (Unless of course you've got Kit in your pockets, which would be a true new-generation miracle.)

I'd also remind you of this thread which started in 2008, or roughly this point in this thread, which was 2008, or even this thread, which goes all the way back to 2007.

So quit lecturing me about being pessimistic (as well as not "working" for something -- you should have a quick chat with Rick about what work I've done). The boulevard idea wasn't exclusively mine, but it's not out of the question that you, Alex, heard it here first.
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by Alex Ihnen » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:26 am

If you don't think you'll need to have Claire firmly on board before anything happens, you guys are doomed from the start.


Maybe the question is how do you get there. Do you get in touch with McCaskill and say, "hey, we have a great idea and we need you on board," or do you build local business and organizational support to demonstrate that the community supports your visions first?

OK - I'll quit the "lecturing". And I sincerely do want to thank you for your work, Joe. I hope that you continue to be a positive part of the process.
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by quincunx » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:00 pm

I'm not sure how to react to this article. The more things change the more they stay the same?
To Mayor Schoemehl, improving the public schools is the key to a self- sustaining recovery.

How many times has this been said since 1985? It still takes tax breaks to get a development going or retain a business and the law firms, etc have become very adept at playing munis against each other for goodies.
I appreciate the description of the rehabing of DeB Place since it remains stable today. I hope that's the case for neighborhoods that are one the rise today. I worry we won't get enough people moving into the city to maintain stability in more places.
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