Retail Rally: What's Next For Downtown St. Louis?

New and changing stores, restaurants, and businesses in the City of St. Louis
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I think a couple of high profile anchor stores could really boost traffic. Imagine if we had a Crate & Barrel in an urban form Downtown as opposed to Brentwood. Or others. I just think of Michigan Ave in Chicago that has tons of high profile spots -- Nike, Burberry, Cartier, Express, etc. Even a Target. We need to find a way to break the mall model and get some quality chains to fill our storefronts that people will genuinely want to stop at. I love some of the small retail Downtown, but let's be realistic, without more reason for foot traffic and shopping to exist, they're not going to thrive.

I wish DSI or some other entity could do more to lure some retail tenants Downtown. Give people from north and south city to go Downtown to shop rather than the Galleria. I realize St. Louis Centre was a flop, but I also think with the population boom in the central corridor, more retail options, especially Downtown, could really add to the vibrancy.
Bailey's Range gets some pretty solid evening crowds as well.

My take on the situation is that downtown is essentially an island of activity surrounded by a river, parking lots and highways. If you want to go downtown you are going to have to pay to park unless you live along a metro line. When there are so many other more interesting restaurants in the neighborhoods where it is easier to park, it's hard to justify driving downtown and parking there just to hang out. IMO there are only a couple ways to fix this overtime:

1. Create more connections downtown. Downtown was never a huge population center, but was extremely successful at one time because it was the best connected place in the city. It was the center of an extensive streetcar system serving a city of 800,000+. N/S will be HUGE for the vitality of downtown because suddenly ~100,000 people will have easy access to the city via the line. Better bike lanes connecting downtown to south city would also be huge.

2. Wait for more development. Right now thousands of residential units are either under construction or in the planning stages. I cannot help but feel like we are on the edge of reaching a self sustaining population downtown. The hotel scene is also popping, I can certainly imaging the thousand new hotel rooms coming online having a positive impact on restaurants at night.

Once we hit a certain level of vitality, downtown will explode just like other downtowns. See downtown Detroit, it only took a few years.
^ Good convo going!
goat314 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:40 am
I think creating a better aesthetic environment downtown would help. The outdated streetscapes and hideous parking garages don't create a welcoming environment. What's the good in eating downtown if aesthetically it's no more appealing or adventurous then eating in a parking lot in the suburbs. Also, adding more residential density and tourists (hotels) will also make downtown have venues open later, but I actually think we are slowly moving towards a critical mass downtown. We may be 10-20 years away before downtown gets that "vibrant" feel. Right now, I just don't think downtown is the destination it needs to be. How often do families just say, let's go downtown and hang out, if it's not going to a sporting event or City Museum? In many cities you will see families just walking around downtown on a nice day, but I think a lot of that goes back to downtown just feeling voided and dated in many areas. It's not a welcoming environment outside of Washington Avenue.
This aesthetic/welcoming issue is key and local stakeholders should have been focused on this over the years as opposed to these big silver bullet ideas, But I also feel some optimism as well as some huge dead zones are finally getting redeveloped and while not everywhere in the CBD and along WashAve will be exactly vibrant, downtown should soon be a lot more stitched together with occupied buildings and a more pleasant environment. With all the new projects and increased population coming I'm hopeful we can see a couple of good retail announcements this year ahead of the actual completion of things. Also, developing a retail strategy would be helpful but I don't know if anyone downtown is working on that... Cleveland and Detroit were served well with ones that have helped out significantly. You gotta plan for it!
Far from earth-shattering, but I hear a new upscale eyebrow salon opened in Tower OPOP. Nice to see more services opening. A bank on the back side of M/X also should be opening soon,
Forgive my ignorance, but what the hell is an "upscale eyebrow salon"?
There's an eyebrow salon in the Lofts at OPOP, if that's what you're referring to. There's also a new women's clothing store in Lofts At OPOP.
framer wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:28 pm
Forgive my ignorance, but what the hell is an "upscale eyebrow salon"?
I think they mostly do eyebrow threading, which is something you see in nail salons sometimes. Think of it as a fancy eyebrow trim and shape somehow involving dental floss. Seems like it's an Asian fashion trend that caught on here. (Or at least it's being marketed as Asian.)
As others have mentioned, I think the key is just to continue to build housing downtown. You aren't going to get a ton of people driving into the city when the same amenities are closer. I live in U City and besides sports there isn't much to draw me downtown. Most of the restaurants downtown also have a location closer to me or a very similar restaurant closer (Sugarfire, Pi, Sauce on the side, Schlafly, Rooster (Half & Half), Range (5 star), etc), so I really don't have a reason to go downtown just for dinner. The places I am most likely to drive downtown are Kemoll's and 360 because of the views, or Tin Roof because it is something different. My wife and I have been talking about doing dinner and a movie at MX for about a year but it has yet to happen. So I am hoping we reach a tipping point with residential and hotel traffic that can open more retail or unique things to give me and other people more of a reason to spend time in the downtown area.
aprice wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:55 pm
There's an eyebrow salon in the Lofts at OPOP, if that's what you're referring to. There's also a new women's clothing store in Lofts At OPOP.
oh, right, OPOP lofts and not tower.
This is off topic but why does The Roberts Tower name still adorn the top of the OPOP Tower?

It's going to be interesting in what tenants railway exchange attracts I'm hoping something apparel along with cvs maybe urban target would be delightful but I'm thinking downtown would need at least 30,000 residents.
^ I agree we're probably getting ahead of ourselves if we're thinking of the likes of a Target, etc,, that'll take a lot more daytime population But if all these other projects move forward and construction began on RR/X I could see some kind of major retail tenant(s) giving it a good look as things get built out over what would surely be a multi-year project. And I'd like to think we're close to a CVS or Walgreen's right now and wouldn't be surprised to hear of an announcement this year for someplace in the CBD.

Anyway, I guess a good question is what would be considered a realistic win for 2018 (non BPV)? <aybe for me a drug store, a small market/grocer in DT West and a couple neat boutiques, Anything less might be a disappointment for me and anything more a big thumbs up. What say you all?
My personal dream is for a super high profile DT Walgreens like in New Orleans

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Love how we need three Walgreens on a mile stretch of Kingshighway, demolish a portion of a historic building for a new one, and yet can't get one in Downtown..
With all thats proposed(and realistically getting built, i.e. BVPII, 300) and currently in construction (Monogram and others) I think we have a shot to add 2000 downtown residents by 2020. Which should put downtown+downtown west around 10,000+ residents.

I think BPV tower and 300 will probably be 90% new to downtown residents.
GoHarvOrGoHome wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:38 pm
My personal dream is for a super high profile DT Walgreens like in New Orleans

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Would look snazzy at 501 Washington! Or maybe new home to Post-Dispatch with a news-ticker wrap.
We talk about increasing the number of residents but I think we overlook the importance of hotels in creating street activity. I would take a full 300 room hotel over a 300 unit apartment any day if I was a nearby restaurant owner. That's why I think it's vital to invest in our convention and tourism facilities like we are doing with the arch renovations.
southcitygent wrote: We talk about increasing the number of residents but I think we overlook the importance of hotels in creating street activity. I would take a full 300 room hotel over a 300 unit apartment any day if I was a nearby restaurant owner. That's why I think it's vital to invest in our convention and tourism facilities like we are doing with the arch renovations.
Perhaps for a restaurant owner, but overall I think 300 apartments is much better for Downtown for a host of reasons.

That said, while Clayton seems to be leading office demand (basically Centene) and CWE seems to be leading in residential demand, over this economic cycle Downtown seems to have strengthened its role as the tourism and hotel center of the region.
Hamburger Mary's opens Saturday, making downtown Saint Louis's newest gayburgerhood.
The Real Reason Your Downtown Died
https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... ntown-died