Gateway Mall Master Plan

Downtown construction activity, including hotel projects, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc.
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Wondering if anyone noticed the RFP for a master plan for Gateway Mall. The whole notion of a master plan for a "mall" that's really just a bunch of disjointed boulevards sounds like an impossible task. Two large buildings, not to mention Tucker, completely isolate these spaces from one another--how is that a Mall???



I've never thought of it as a unified space, and can't think of any logical way to physically make it so. Nevertheless, I'm glad someone's thinking about how to make those spaces usable again...er, for the first time.

I've never thought of it as a unified space




That's because you are either too young or too new to St. Louis to be aware of the Gateway Mall discussions of the 1970s and 1980s. Look at the aerial, though, and you'll see that the Mall is an important (and famously failed) part of the core's spine.

Perhaps, but who uses the Mall at 2,000 feet above ground? It's only a "spine" to planning geeks like us who burn our corneas out staring at maps. To someone on the ground, it's a strange patchwork of disjointed front yards.

Sorry. I was just putting your thought into context. You said that you have never thought of the Gateway Mall as a unified space. I said that many St. Louisans had.



That it doesn't now work (or read) as a unified space is a challenge for the folks who respond to the Request. Whether it should be a unified space is certainly one of the key decisions for responders.

WOW...that's an ambitious breif...



and NO budget? WOW....anyone here ever do consultant work? I'd price this out at $250,000 easy - maybe more - that's a TON of consultation for any out of town consultant...



I see HOK getting this though - being in town and having their own planning & design team in house.



As far as a master plan - I think the city recognizes that the mall is broken and disjointed, and as such will probably be needed to be treated as such. I really liked the 1907 plan for the mall - maybe plant some more mature trees and cut off the cross streets? but how do you get the pedestrian activity...



My advice would be to totally rework chestnut and market. Widen the mall so that market and chestnut become the prevailing east/west streets at 3 lanes each, one for parking and 2 in either direction for movement. Add smaller retail uses inside the mall to further generate activity (urban cafes maybe?). This would bring the other building uses closer to the mall and help encourage useage, at least to the west. To the east, I say put additional buildings between the civil courts and gateway one, but leave some of the mall open. This way, it allows for there to be an oasis inbetween each large well of building, and would look really cool.



Kiener doesn't have any shading, it's so true. All they really need to do is extend the ampthitheatre cover another 10 feet to shade the lower bowl - anyone who goes there knows that no one sits past the 3rd row - it gets too hot. And for the love of god, recommend the city relax their rules on having an event in the bowl - it's way to hard to jump through all those insurance hoops and parking crap to put something there. Jeez, just issue some street performer permits and be done with it.

migueltejada wrote:
As far as a master plan - I think the city recognizes that the mall is broken and disjointed, and as such will probably be needed to be treated as such. I really liked the 1907 plan for the mall - maybe plant some more mature trees and cut off the cross streets? but how do you get the pedestrian activity...


Do you have any links or sources so that I can see that 1907 plan myself?

^ I have seen copies when I worked at the Missouri Historical Society, but you can see some pics of what the plan proposed on the RFQ.





As for the RFQ and the ideas, I am glad the city is moving forward with this plan. I am sad in some ways to see what I belive to be key areas left off of the RFQ, such as the 22nd street interchange area and the areas north and south along Memorial Drive. To me, the project scope should be larger and include the elevated sections of 70 north of downtown and the 22nd street interchange (complete with rebuilt street grid). But i can also see the value in focusing in on what remains the "main mall" area.



Seeing all the various plans over time was really intersting. I really liked the past ideas of merging Chestnut and Market for stretches with parkland and buildings surrounding one true grand promenade. It is sad that the City could not have persued these options in the past.



Most interesting to me was the change in proposals for the area. Many, many, many focused on preserving the lifeless green space the currently exists. I can only hope that those incharge of the design make some good choice and add density to the strip. Carnival rides and open plazas won't improve the gateway mall.

I think they're assuming that 70 will get buried. Also, I would guess that any plan to put a lid on the highway would involve the NPS, since the area above the highway would necessarily abut the National Park land. I'm sure the City recognizes the value of connecting the mall to the waterfront, and the RFQ seems to imply as much, but that part of the plan isn't entirely in their jurisdiction, if at all.

Interesting. I love seeing all of those old plans from way back. Personally, I'd like to knock down Gateway One and go back to the original "City Beautiful" plan, but with some light interactive developments within the park spaces.

JMedwick wrote:
^ I have seen copies when I worked at the Missouri Historical Society, but you can see some pics of what the plan proposed on the RFQ.


And the link was only 5 posts prior. #-o

It would be kind of nice to see them use the mall as a Metrolink extension downtown. The North and South lines could come into downtown, then do a big loop around the gateway mall - meaning that heading east on the mall would be the south end of the mall grounds, west on the mall would be the north end of the mall grounds. Then, you would have the subway that runs mostly north/south through downtown, and then the mall link which runs east/west from about 4th to 20th or so. You could also put in a connector at 8th street and the mall to connect to the current line.

I kind of like the 80's plan depicted in the RFQ. The blocks east of the Serra Sculpture are densely filled with buildings.

Framer wrote:
Interesting. I love seeing all of those old plans from way back. Personally, I'd like to knock down Gateway One and go back to the original "City Beautiful" plan, but with some light interactive developments within the park spaces.




^Agreed. If we can put density on steroids around the mall, the mall itself could become a beautiful asset to the city. Especially east of Tucker But, I am open to any ideas.

I was pretty postive on this. Now, having read some of the questions and answers in the Presubmissions Questions and Answers document, I am a bit concerned that we are going to end up with the same poor designs we got for the riverfront park because the City does not allow enough creativity.



Here are a few of the Q&A's that worry me:



8. Can structures be considered within the Mall?

Yes. The Master Plan can address this issue. The structures would

have to be for public purposes.




33. Will the Serra sculpture remain in its location?

Yes.




The questons go on to explain that the city seems to be looking for a public-private partenship that may result in an endowment to fund the maintenance of the park areas. My question is this: rather than waisting time begging for money, maybe the city could/should/would take the time to build revenue generating buildings on the mall that could fund its maintenance. A novel idea i know, but hey maybe we don't need to beg for Forest Park, beg for the lid of I-70, and beg for the gateway mall?

The City already tried the revenue generating path by building Gateway One on the Mall. By allowing a developer rights to build that building they were able to complete the last couple of blocks. I feel they should keep the Mall open space and build restaurants, fountains, sculptures and other attractions on it. Make it our version of a Millennium or Bryant Park.

southcitygent wrote:
The City already tried the revenue generating path by building Gateway One on the Mall. By allowing a developer rights to build that building they were able to complete the last couple of blocks. I feel they should keep the Mall open space and build restaurants, fountains, sculptures and other attractions on it. Make it our version of a Millennium or Bryant Park.




I agree with this.

I agree, the park may have failed, but the fact that until now noone lived downtown had to have been a large factor. I believe that the more people move into the area the more foot traffic we will see in the mall. However, I also am in agreement that the park needs to be reworked and updated. I like the idea of creating an STL version of Millennium or Bryant Park. I think an urban garden area similar to Millennium park could be particularly attractive.

But since Kiener Plaza could use a face-lift, development between Gateway One and Civil Courts could help finance such needed improvements. Unlike Gateway Mall purists (besides, the mall is already "impure" with Gateway One), I'd vote for quality of downtown open space over quantity.



Besides, the two blocks west of Gateway One are technically not park land, albeit City/LRA property. However, like Gateway One's block itself, any development could still retain a park-like strip along Market Street. Since Gateway One was built along Chesnut, Market is the only remaining vista on the mall west of 8th Street. Thus, I'll never understand why anyone would want to preserve views of the back of Gateway One along Chestnut.

You want the gateway mall to be Millennium park or Bryant Park. Fine great, I agree with you 100%.





But the issue is: how many people are in the say 1/2 mile around the park?



How much parkland is avalible in that same 1/2 mile space?



What is the parkland/ per person?



I think the failure of the gateway mall is tied directly to the overabundance of greensapce in dowtown St. Louis. Untill the city can get more people and less greensapce the equation will always make it appear as those St. Louis' downtown parks are empty and lifeless.

southslider wrote:
But since Kiener Plaza could use a face-lift, development between Gateway One and Civil Courts could help finance such needed improvements. Unlike Gateway Mall purists (besides, the mall is already "impure" with Gateway One), I'd vote for quality of downtown open space over quantity.




My thoughts exactly. Gateway One (and even the Civil Courts building) totally destroys the continuity and leaves an awkward gap. Why not fill in the gap - if a view of the Arch is a concern, perhaps set the buildings back from the street a bit like Gateway One. Those blocks of the mall offer an awesome opportunity for signature office space and/or high-quality residential.

The abundance of large hotels within 2 blocks, and the infusion of new residents along Washington Ave would seem to provide a sufficient constituency for the Mall. But the problem is that a) that the spaces themselves don't offer anything, and b) the Mall doesn't effectively connect with any other usable open spaces like the waterfront, such that a pedestrian (or would-be pedestrian/driver) would consider getting to the waterfront via the Mall. As a result, it's neglected. With a connection to the waterfront though, and some basic urban design modifications, I see it becoming far more functional.

^

But then you have the Old Post Office Plaza, the Arch grounds, the Ballpark Village park and that pointless park near the Eagleton Courthouse to contend with too. There just isn't enough density to support all of that green/open space.

Personally, I believe that before we go building on the greenspace in the city we should first concern ourselves with all the paved parking lots that are just as (if not more) abundant downtown. Once that is done we can start building on parks if the infill hasn't transformed them into used spaces. In fact i would prefere to see those lots temporarily turned into greenspace until they are built upon. Empty greenspace is much less of an eyesore than empty asphalt.

^ That is a fine plan. But the fact remains, that some of the most prime realestate in the city are those underused Mall blocks. I would rather use the development of the mall blocks to help spark greater residetnial and office demand in downtown St. Louis than sit round coming up with plans that focus on preserving the green space and add little reason for folks to consider working or living in downtown.





One of the fundamental flaws is the notion that folks should walk the gateway mall. The mall is long and quite large. There is no reason for anyone ever (even if it is redeveloped) to walk the mall. People will walk sections, such a Kiener Plaza to the Arch Grounds, but never the whole thing. Therefore, a connection to the waterfront will never have value to the bulk of the gateway mall (7th and points west). More "programining" will not make the mall more attractive. There simply is not a density to support all the current and proposed green space in downtown.





As I said before: perform the calucations. Tell me how much current greensapce there is per person in dowtntown St. Louis. Then tell me the same numbers for the areas you want to model St. Louis after (Bryant Park, Millinum Park). You will quickly find that per person, St. Louis has much higher levels of green space per person.