Soulard Farmers Market

A catch-all forum for urban discussion. If it doesn't fit elsewhere, post here.
There are local options available, look for the signs.

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Just 3?
There is more than 3. The perception they don't have local farmers is way overblown.
zink wrote:
Just 3?


Don't be ridiculous. Those are just three of the very obvious signs.

Too many vocal people on this forum are of the belief that there are no local options.

Visit the market and read the signs.

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Regardless, this market is in sore need of an upgrade. I don't buy the 'where will all the working class people buy their affordable produce?' argument. They have plenty of places like Aldi, Save-A-Lot, and Shop n' Save. I'd like to see Soulard approach the feel and diversity of Philadelphia's Reading Terminal.
jdstl1977 wrote:
Regardless, this market is in sore need of an upgrade. I don't buy the 'where will all the working class people buy their affordable produce?' argument. They have plenty of places like Aldi, Save-A-Lot, and Shop n' Save. I'd like to see Soulard approach the feel and diversity of Philadelphia's Reading Terminal.


Why? Is there a tangible demand for a place like Reading Terminal? Is Soulard in a similar position adjacent to a convention center, within a few blocks of City Hall and in a dense business district? More to the point, is Soulard not crowded now? Does "wash and paint and repair" count as an "upgrade"?
bonwich wrote:
Is Soulard in a similar position adjacent to a convention center, within a few blocks of City Hall and in a dense business district?


When did the downtown market in the present day Drury hotel complex by the Conv Center close? In alternative universe, it would be nice to still have a vibrant market there and Busch still on Grand with an intact and vibrant Chinatown instead of an empty BPV.
Roger Wyoming wrote:
When did the downtown market in the present day Drury hotel complex by the Conv Center close? In alternative universe, it would be nice to still have a vibrant market there and Busch still on Grand with an intact and vibrant Chinatown instead of an empty BPV.


PD, 1992 wrote:
The Lipton group undertook an $8 million rehab of Union Market. To take advantage of federal tax breaks, the partners rushed to reopen the market by the end of 1986.

Only about a dozen tenants took space in the renovated building's retail and food court area. Over the next two years, most of them closed. When the Lipton partners defaulted on their $7 million loan from Landmark, the bank threatened to foreclose on the Lipton lease.

To avoid that, Lipton assigned the lease to Landmark on April 28, 1989. He closed the market, promising to reopen again in the spring of 1990. But the second reopening never came.


Union Market is a perfect example of why the City should stay the hell away from any major changes to Soulard.
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Union Market circa 1907
In the mother of all shocks, know what the Drury Union Market is today?


wait for it

wait for it

wait for it



A parking garage.
The Union Market that was in the Drury garage was actually a failure from the beginning. By the time it was built, most people had moved to a corner neighborhood store pattern of shopping rather than traveling to a large centralized market.
tge-atw wrote:
The Union Market that was in the Drury garage was actually a failure from the beginning. By the time it was built, most people had moved to a corner neighborhood store pattern of shopping rather than traveling to a large centralized market.


I think this confuses a couple of issues. The "upscaled" Union Market that opened circa 1983 bombed from the start, but it didn't have a whole lot of fruit stands. I'm pretty sure that, among other things, a branch of Teutenbergs was in there.

At the time they were forced out, however, there were 15 or so merchants who operated in there regularly. It was a pretty good analog, on a smaller scale, to Soulard Market. It may not have had enough critical mass to last, but it also might have, in which case it's possible it would have evolved similar to Soulard in attracting a growing list of local providers. This article is from 1981 and is abridged:

Merchants in the historic city-owned Union Market downtown say they were completely surprised by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing Wednesday the cancellation of the city's lease with the Union Market Merchants Association.

"The city gave us no notice at all that they were thinking about canceling the lease," said Ferd Telle, president of the association and operator of a sausage and meat stand in the market.

The first thing we knew about it was when a television reporter came in here and stuck a microphone in our faces and asked us about it.

On Wednesday, the city's three- member Estimate Board voted unanimously to give Comptroller Paul M. Berra authority to cancel the 25- year-lease after 30 days' notice. The lease has 12 more years to run.

Berra had sought the authority, saying that the association owes the city seven months' back rent, about $53,300. Berra is one of three members of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, along with Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. and Aldermanic President Thomas E. Zych.

Telle admits that the association owes back rent, but says the city owes the association even more money about $57,400 to cover rent, utilities and insurance payments in a leaseback arrangement for the VIP Senior Citizens Center, which the city operates in the market building.

This morning, the news of the Estimate Board's action left some merchants at the market worried and some unconcerned, but there appeared to be general agreement that the action was arbitrary.

Telle's daughter, Maureen Leezer, who also works in the market, said she was not particularly worried about the lease. The city tried to do substantially the same thing about 15 years ago, around the time that the market building was remodeled, she recalled. But she added: This is a squeeze-out.


About a year ago, the city and Soulard Market announced that they were looking to do some upgrades/renovations/"rejuvenation" of Soulard Market (nextSTL article).

Tonight (6/27/12) there's a meeting from 5 to 7 at Ninth Street Abbey (1808 South Ninth Street) where the current plan will be released. Post-Dispatch article:
City officials will unveil a plan today to reinvigorate Soulard Market that includes opening its food halls on Sundays, encouraging more farmers to sell produce there and sprucing up the historic market with as much as $14 million in improvements over the next decade. The goal is to bolster the city's oldest produce market at a time when dozens of more authentic farmers markets have sprung up throughout the region.
^ So it seems this plan is rather stalled although some ADA and window replacement projects will proceed soon.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt ... 40c3c.html

Seems like not everyone is sold yet on the merits of the ambitiousness of the project, some feeling that it will become something less-than-authentic. I also wonder where this project should stand in terms of being a civic priority alongside other potential post-Arch projects such as Soldiers Memorial, The Trestle, and continued blocks of Gateway Mall. It seems to continue to do well... a good plan to give it a bit of TLC certainly would be nice, but the question is how much is really needed.

Anyway, in terms of destination/tourism as well as general mobility, the city really needs to think about connectivity from downtown to nearby nabes like Soulard, Lafayette Square and Old North... we're not a great cab city and while they are close they aren't really walkable from downtown. I think they should be part of a N/S streetcar or even a folly trolley a la the Delmar project.
That's kind of been my main issue since moving into the city and really taking an interest in everything. Alex from NextSTL harps on this a good bit, but one of the major problems with Metro is it's requirement of being "regional."

In and of itself, that's not a bad thing. But too many people think that to benefit the St. Louis region, something has to be physically beyond the city, when the truth is something that strengthens the urban core IS a benefit to the entire region.

First off, there's a great number of city residents and neighborhoods that could benefit from better connectivity. But taking the regionalism part a step further... we have these regional MetroLink lines that bring people from the county into the central corridor... and that's it. They can experience the central corridor and then go back home.

Why not bring them downtown and make Soulard or Tower Grove or Old North more easily accessible to them? Focus on the city benefits the region. But that's lost on many.

And now I've greatly digressed from the topic. My bad.
^ That's why I mentioned the Delmar streetcar project as for whatever its merits it serves as a case study for what might work/won't work in implementing similar projects elsewhere in the city w/o having to go through Metro's regionalism limitations.

With the Saint Louis Streetcar plan, I believe the plan is like KC's in that it is dependent upon a self-levied tax of surrounding property owners who will be served by the streetcar; hopefully it will proceed and ideally expand into places like Soulard. (I do think a trolley down Broadway to serve Soulard and AB-Inbev would be a huge hit with tourists, btw. Especially if it were powered by Clydesdales!)
jstriebel wrote:
That's kind of been my main issue since moving into the city and really taking an interest in everything. Alex from NextSTL harps on this a good bit, but one of the major problems with Metro is it's requirement of being "regional."

In and of itself, that's not a bad thing. But too many people think that to benefit the St. Louis region, something has to be physically beyond the city, when the truth is something that strengthens the urban core IS a benefit to the entire region.

First off, there's a great number of city residents and neighborhoods that could benefit from better connectivity. But taking the regionalism part a step further... we have these regional MetroLink lines that bring people from the county into the central corridor... and that's it. They can experience the central corridor and then go back home.

Why not bring them downtown and make Soulard or Tower Grove or Old North more easily accessible to them? Focus on the city benefits the region. But that's lost on many.

And now I've greatly digressed from the topic. My bad.


^It may be off topic but its a great topic nonetheless. Better inter-city connectedness seems like a reachable goal that the city, the neighborhoods, the businesses owners and the residents should all support. There are so many amenities within a short reach that inter-city driving could be greatly reduced even with a simple system of small busses/shuttles running up and down the major routes regularly (ie: the Grand route, the Kingshighway route, the Russell route, the Gravois Route, the Broadway route and so on). I wonder if it could be privately financially feasible?
That's often crossed my mind. I don't have any significant money to give, nor any particular expertise in the planning, but I often wonder if there's an organization separate from Metro (perhaps Metro comes in later) that could be started to get this sort of plan going.

That "regional" thing really seems to limit Metro. So could an outside entity compliment Metro?

I can't remember the number, and I'm not sure I still have the paper, but I once looked at what adding 2 BRT lines could do for the connectivity of the city.

One from one end of Grand to the other, and another from Chippewa around Jameison to Gravois and on up through Tucker around Market.

Doing so connects something like 2/3 of the city neighborhoods, IIRC, especially if that Gravois line were to wrap west closer to Grand where one wouldn't have to walk very far to connect.

I'm not saying that's the best thing, just that there's options. Because what we have right now doesn't do it. Does anybody believe starting an organization like this would have much of a chance of impact?
^ You make a great point about connectivity and regional vs local.

I personally don't ride the bus because I don't care to memorize the schedules and routes. Whatever that says about me as an urbanist, I don't really care. Its about time and convenience and effectiveness and right now the options available offer none of the above. Eventually it may also be about cost (of gas, car maintenance, parking, etc) but that's not a factor presently for most.

I don't need fixed rails (although they would be nice). What I would like is to know that if I got on a bus (or shuttle or whatever) heading down Grand for example that I can get anywhere on Grand on that vehicle. And if I needed to go east or west from there, I could simply get off at a major E/W street and wait for the bus that runs on that street. And Vice Versa. With the street grid STL has, eventually, as you mention, this system would only require a several block walk at most to get to the majority of places in the city. It just seems to make sense to me.

Again sorry for contributing to the hi-jacking of this thread. To tie it back together, Soulard Market is a great amenity and it sure would be nice to have it and the many other great amenities of the city better connected via simple, effective public transit.
I totally agree, american.

I'm making it a goal to start riding the bus to and from work a good bit this year as I've moved to a neighborhood that actually makes it feasible, but I'm still not sure how practical it is.

I'm not giving up my car. That's just not happening. It's not practical yet. So car insurance and payments are still a reality. No savings there. Car maintenance would be less, but still required.

But gas? Gas is cheaper than bus fare! I've had my company take advantage of an FSA option where I can buy bus passes with pre-tax dollars, and that gets it to a reasonable level. I haven't done the math on whether it's a savings over gas or not. It's probably about equal. But had I not done that, then it wouldn't make any sense.

And time? It's going to take me about about 30 mins when it's a 10 or 15 minute drive. This to me is reasonable. I can handle an additional 15-20 minutes for public transit. But when you consider the lack of other advantages (not cheaper than gas, not good enough to ditch the car altogether, trying comprehend the schedule/routes), taking the bus around St. Louis certainly isn't particularly appealing.

And that's from the POV of someone not worried about the perceptions of buses. Factor that in for some people, and well... I don't mean to trash the system. It's useful. I just think we could make it way better.
What you really need is a city transit authority. Almost another branch of the Street department that solely concentrates on transit in the city, specifically rail. Keep Metro as a regional transit entity. I envision a streetcar network (like I'm sure many have) crisscrossing parts of North and South City that connect strong neighborhoods. Just not on the scale as the original network 60 years ago.
Didn't want to keep taking this thread off-topic, so started a new one: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=10134
roger wyoming II wrote:
^ So it seems this plan is rather stalled although some ADA and window replacement projects will proceed soon.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt ... 40c3c.html

Seems like not everyone is sold yet on the merits of the ambitiousness of the project, some feeling that it will become something less-than-authentic.


This is all second hand: but I've heard claims that even maintenance/minor upgrade proposals like painting, better lighting, tuck pointing, roof repairs etc are "yelled down". Anyone else heard that or know anything?
To tie it back together, Soulard Market is a great amenity and it sure would be nice to have it and the many other great amenities of the city better connected via simple, effective public transit.


I don't know, it seems like the Soulard Farmers Market is pretty well connected via public transit already. The 8,10,30,40 and 73 lines all service the area and they provide a connection to a pretty wide swath of the city and all of them connect to downtown MetroLink stations as well. I think the bigger issue is whether or not someone would want to take a trip that is 30-40 minutes each way just to haul a bunch of produce back home.

This is all second hand: but I've heard claims that even maintenance/minor upgrade proposals like painting, better lighting, tuck pointing, roof repairs etc are "yelled down". Anyone else heard that or know anything?


Some of the vendors I've talked to have expressed this sentiment. It seems that for the most part, they are worried that the aesthetic upgrades would mean the market could demand higher rent for the stalls and would squeeze some of them out. From what I understand they have resisted a makeover(s) in the past.
ebo wrote:
This is all second hand: but I've heard claims that even maintenance/minor upgrade proposals like painting, better lighting, tuck pointing, roof repairs etc are "yelled down". Anyone else heard that or know anything?


Some of the vendors I've talked to have expressed this sentiment. It seems that for the most part, they are worried that the aesthetic upgrades would mean the market could demand higher rent for the stalls and would squeeze some of them out. From what I understand they have resisted a makeover(s) in the past.


This seems all so manageable though. Guarantee lower rent for established vendors, etc.