Potential "second downtown" in Kirkwood

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects within St. Louis County, including Chesterfield, Riverport, Earth City, Westport and more.
The city of Kirkwood is seeing dollar signs at the intersection of Manchester Rd and N Kirkwood Rd. They have hired a company to figure out how many tax dollars they are potentially missing out on, and that company has come back with potential ideas of what could be done. I was glad to find out my house wasn't in this "study area", but it only misses us by 2 houses. The entire file I got these out of is 74 pages long and will send it to anyone interested. Most of the houses in the study area, from what I can tell, are rentals. Three of them are on my street and are owned by Auffenberg, and I've heard for some time now that they'd love to get rid of them. So I'd say for sure if this plan goes through, they will be meeting a bulldozer. The city is now planning a 6 month moratorium on development in this area. This could either really help, or really hurt my property value, depending on the execution. They're supposed to be looking to send out RFPs to several developers.


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The recession really hit this intersection hard with auto dealerships on all 4 corners. It really looks run down.

I grew up in the area, my sister lived 10 yrs on Curran and I rehabbed a home on Julian so I'd love to see development here. I think you'll only benefit Juice. Btw it doesn't look at all like a 2nd downtown to me.
moorlander wrote:
The recession really hit this intersection hard with auto dealerships on all 4 corners. It really looks run down.

I grew up in the area, my sister lived 10 yrs on Curran and I rehabbed a home on Julian so I'd love to see development here. I think you'll only benefit Juice. Btw it doesn't look at all like a 2nd downtown to me.


I agree with you on that. I believe that they, however, have dubbed it "downtown southeast" or something to that effect. I would certainly rather it be downtown-ish than having a fast food speaker backing up to my back yard.

My son goes to Tillman so I am very much familiar with Curran. I agree that the intersection probably has a lot of potential and could be put to a better use. I'd love to have more things to walk to than a Hardee's that's hazardous to get to and Pi (never jumped on the Pi bandwagon).
It is very sad to see all the dead dealerships on the three corners. I'd say it's well within Kirkwood's best interest to try to redevelop in that area as all those closed businesses are a major eyesore.
Looks like a good idea to explore - coming from the city that buys downtown storefronts and demo's them for parking. "Downtown" Kirkwood is becoming less and less of a downtown, IMO:

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Orange is parking. Green are the storefronts demo'd for parking. Blue is where a parking garage could have been built instead.
^ Maybe Kirkwood could build a BRT line to run people from all that parking on down to "New Downtown"
I just recently got a survey from the city of Kirkwood (being a resident) and it asks several questions regarding parking in Kirkwood. I have a little bit of what I want to say in the matter but wanted to also get opinions from those on the site before filling it out and submitting it.

Below is the survey. I have shown my answers in green.

City of Kirkwood Survey
Required Question(s)

1.
Do you find it difficult to park in downtown Kirkwood?


Yes

No X

2.
If you answered "yes" to question #1, please check the statement that best describes where you most frequently find parking.


I usually park in front of my destination.

I usually park on the same block as my destination.

I usually park within a couple of blocks of my destination.

I usually park on the same side of the tracks as my destination.

I usually park on the outskirts of downtown and walk several blocks.

3.
Would you be in favor of the City of Kirkwood paying to build a parking deck on the new Jefferson parking lot?


Yes X

No
Comment:


Here is what I have so far for my comment.

"If built, it would be nice to have street level retail and/or dining. Kirkwood is a very nice pedestrian oriented town and is part of the charm of living in and experiencing it. Eliminating buildings and building parking lots takes away from that charm. If I wanted to experience a sea of parking, I would have moved to any other generic suburban area in the county."
I don't know how anyone could find it difficult to park in downtown Kirkwood, even on the busiest of nights. It really isn't difficult.
juiceinkirkwood wrote:
I don't know how anyone could find it difficult to park in downtown Kirkwood, even on the busiest of nights. It really isn't difficult.


Amen to that. I love downtown Kirkwood, but there is clearly more than enough parking to satisfy demand even on the busiest of nights.

I wouldn't mind seeing better and higher uses for the land at Kirkwood and Manchester roads. But I was under the assumption that Lou Fusz Toyota and Auffenberg Chevrolet were doing well(?).
juiceinkirkwood wrote:
I don't know how anyone could find it difficult to park in downtown Kirkwood, even on the busiest of nights. It really isn't difficult.


Met friends in Kirkwood last night, had a custard at custard station and then walked across the street to Bar Louie for a beer, was there from 7:30 to 10 nice evening good crowds at both places, and tons of open parking spaces. Like always there are a handful of people driving the no parking debate, they just happen to have a very loud voice.

BTW the new "Billy G's" looks like it is going to be great, awesome rehab
Well, I know for a fact that Auffenberg, after about 8 years, just decided to get renters in the homes they have owned for years on W. Sarah Avenue that they evidently bought years ago under the impression that they would be able to demo them to expand their lots. The little lot on the west side of Kirkwood Rd between Sarah Ave and Wilson Ave that they own with a little building (I think it's a car wash) that they used as, I suppose, an overflow lot has been for sale for some time now. That's where the UGas was trying to open that the residents freaked out about (and in my opinion, rightfully so). The most recent news was that it has been purchased and a "high end decorating" company was wanting to demo and build 2 new buildings on that sight. I don't know if that would still be possible with the supposed 6 mo moratorium that the Planning and Zoning commission is supposed to put on the study area.
I think this is an interesting story of faux suburban downtown-ish new retail development pattern theory.
Alex, a bit unfair to color orange all the street parking is it not, when in so many places, we're fighting to keep or put in street parking?
mill204 wrote:
Alex, a bit unfair to color orange all the street parking is it not, when in so many places, we're fighting to keep or put in street parking?

He was just illustrating the point that 2 buildings were just torn down for parking when it's clear that additional parking is not necessary.
OT-I was pretty upset that building in blue came down. Over the years I've patronized, bars, restaurants, and shops in the downtown district and NEVER, not even once, in the probably 1000's of times I've been there have I ever found it difficult to find a parkins spot. It really is an outrage that they're tearing down the very thing that makes Kirkwood so special.

I frequently meet freinds at Amigo's for lunch and I refuse to park in the new lot (not that it's ever needed). W Jefferson just doesn't have the same character anymore. Shame.
juiceinkirkwood wrote:
mill204 wrote:
Alex, a bit unfair to color orange all the street parking is it not, when in so many places, we're fighting to keep or put in street parking?

He was just illustrating the point that 2 buildings were just torn down for parking when it's clear that additional parking is not necessary.

I understand that, but street parking and off-street parking have very different effects on the urban fabric and, in my opinion, should be distinguished. Making the two the same color unfairly penalizes streets such as Kirkwood Rd and Argonne Dr that have complete or nearly complete street walls.

But yes, I agree, I've never has that much of a problem finding parking in Kirkwood. Knowing how easy it generally is to find parking, I get upset when I can't find parking within 1/2 block from wherever I'm going.
juiceinkirkwood wrote:
I don't know how anyone could find it difficult to park in downtown Kirkwood, even on the busiest of nights. It really isn't difficult.


At worst, I've had to park in the neighborhood and walk a few blocks. Considering how pleasant Kirkwood is, that's not a bad thing. I think people's expectation levels are totally out of whack - they're shocked when they can't park in a lot adjacent to the business they're visiting.
juiceinkirkwood wrote:
mill204 wrote:
Alex, a bit unfair to color orange all the street parking is it not, when in so many places, we're fighting to keep or put in street parking?

He was just illustrating the point that 2 buildings were just torn down for parking when it's clear that additional parking is not necessary.


Right - just meant to highlight that there's a lot of street parking - which is good - and so more parking lots are less necessary.
debaliviere wrote:
At worst, I've had to park in the neighborhood and walk a few blocks. Considering how pleasant Kirkwood is, that's not a bad thing. I think people's expectation levels are totally out of whack - they're shocked when they can't park in a lot adjacent to the business they're visiting.

People aren't used to walking more than fifty feet for a parking spot.

Sometimes I can't find a spot on Jefferson, and I have to circle around and park on Argonne. Oh the humanity!
I think it gets you back to the big picture of communities trying to compete for sales tax dollars by supposedly building the next best retail area rather enhancing demographics or expanding housing stock/jobs.

Couldn't help think about the fact that my family in our new home in Lafayette can walk to downtown Walnut Creek, CA. Walnut Creek a much bigger community than Kirkwood but has thriving demographics. Typically projects being approved included the recent California Development.

1500 North California Bl. Mixed Use
Project No. Y12-010
Status: Under Review

Applicant: Laconia Development Inc.
Architect: Kwan Henmi Architecture Inc.

The 1.23-acre project proposes to demolish a vacant restaurant, the existing bank, and a private parking lot to make way for a 165,000 square-foot mixed use development consisting of 141 residential units, 19,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, and 210 parking stalls.

http://www.walnut-creek.org/citygov/dep ... ojects.asp
I don't understand what's "downtown" about this proposal. It just looks like more standard Manchester auto-oriented retail & restaurant development.
^ It's a 2nd downtown by title only. You are correct. There is NOTHING remotely resembling a downtown in this proposal.
Darn, I was hoping they'd demo/rebuild those nasty looking 4 apartment buildings in Kirkwood on the brink of entering Glendale on the south side of Manchester.
survivor147 wrote:
Darn, I was hoping they'd demo/rebuild those nasty looking 4 apartment buildings in Kirkwood on the brink of entering Glendale on the south side of Manchester.


Yeah, it's a wonder someone hasn't come along to demo those and build something new there.
survivor147 wrote:
Darn, I was hoping they'd demo/rebuild those nasty looking 4 apartment buildings in Kirkwood on the brink of entering Glendale on the south side of Manchester.


I live right by those buildings. Four out of the five buildings have been improved recently, with new windows and landscaping. They actually look pretty good now!