Midtown Alley Development

Construction activity, major renovations, office projects, etc. in the Central Corridor -- defined by the area south of Delmar Avenue and North of Interstate 44/55.
wanted to note that the second phase of the 9 Million dollar Midtown REO loft project @ 3141 Locust ( Locust at Compton ) is just about to hit the Market.
We have beautiful 1 and 2 bedroom rental lofts, two cool live/work units and about 12,000 sf of commercial.
Just curious, which building exactly is this? Is it the taller 6 to 7 story building right next to the Drake or is it literally right on the corner of Locust and Compton?

Any webiste?
It's located on the north side of Locust @ compton, the GC is finishing up the exterior windows this week and the interior is being painted as well. Once we have this final push completed i'll post a date to tour for anyone interested .. this project turned out really cool on the interior.
Please do. You can sign me up for a tour!
$70 million redevelopment revives Midtown Alley
St. Louis Business Journal - by Evan Binns
Friday, September 24, 2010

Over the past eight years, Jassen Johnson has led the $70 million redevelopment of almost 40 buildings in the historic Midtown Alley neighborhood, which encompasses a nearly one-mile section of Locust and Olive streets between Theresa Avenue to the west and Leffingwell to the east.

Read more: $70 million redevelopment revives Midtown Alley - St. Louis Business Journal
link: http://stlouis.bizjournals.com/stlouis/ ... ocus2.html
Sorry for the time off..

We have been busy, signed Spoke as a tenant @ REO lofts, added Origin Agency @ 3016 Locust, We have Double Apple Hookah cafe under construction at 3131 Olive (next to Good Pie) just recieved word financing for a 72 car parking lot is looking good which will bring in a modeling agency and Pita Pit along with another restaurant @ 3037 Olive (olf Lush location) not to mention the leasing traffic is way up.

BTW this lot and Pita Pit will really give the area a " we've arrived" look so i think these improvments will have a profound effect on getting other deals done!
Well, parking lots might appeal to suburbanites; not so sure about the rest of us.
^ To me It depends completely on the location. With very little residential in the area, the reality is that majority of customers will enter the area via their auto and they will need somewhere to park.
Apparently a parking lot appealed to three different businesses. Not everyone rides a bike or likes riding the bus.

And if I'm not mistaken, the quickest way to get our City moving forward is to attract suburbanites.

I agree parking lots can kill a streetscape...But it IS possible to have vibrant streets and have good parking options. Personally, I can't tell you the number of times I have bypassed the CWE because I didnt to fight for parking...And I live downtown...Yes, the train is a very good option for me for many reasons, but I'm not always coming from my home dt...
I don't think its fair to attack every parking lot simply because it's a parking lot. While there is a gross overabundance of parking in midtown, this project will replace an empty gravel lot and encourage two new businesses to locate in the area. I understand opposing parking when it means demolition (the San Luis being a particularly egregious example), but if this means landscaping and lighting for an otherwise abandoned empty lot it will certainly be an improvement.

Also, I think the parking lots on Locust (between Leonard & Compton, and Compton & Cardinal) are better candidates for infill, as they would really help build a continuous street wall.

OT: Does anyone else think the entirely empty block bordered by Garrison, Washington, TE Huntley, & Locust could make for a nice urban square in the tradition of Lafayette Sq. in St. Louis, Jackson Sq. in New Orleans, or Madison Sq., Washington Sq., Union Sq., and Thompkins Sq. here in New York? Perhaps it could be Truman Square, Scott Square, or Pierre Laclede Square?

While I'm generally opposed to more parks and green space, I think this already vacant block would be the perfect sacle for it, and could help encourage development along Locust and throughout the "midtown alley" area if it's done right.
I am not exactly sure which lot you are talking about, but in general, I think that would be an extremely good idea in this location. Downtown has an abundance of greenspace, yes, but in this case I would be totally for it. If this is to be a high density residential area (eventually), that would be a tremendous amenity to have in the area. I would love it to be done in a historic manner, however, like Jackson Square/Lafayette Square. It would be cool to have a really large old school statue in the middle.
We have brought in dozens of businesses and almost a dozen restaurants to an area that is 2 blocks by 3 blocks and We are now running into the parking as an issue while in discussions with both new residental, commercial tenants and restaurants. In fantasy land maybe a walkable streetscape is more important than parking but in our world it drives getting additional leases, so we do what makes sense.
also the lot your discussing is owned by the salvation army and they are moving
forward with plans to redevelop it into housing along Washington with shops along Locust
and they will include parking. They have been great neighbors for the last number of years.
As a business owner myself, I certainly understand the importance of available parking; I just wish it could be better hidden or structured some way.

Congratulations on all the new businesses, Mark. You guys are doing a great job of reviving a key section of St. Louis.
As long as buildings are demo'd for the lot, I don't see the problem. I do think it would be best if there could be a brick wall or some landscaping to hide it a bit from Olive. As Mark has pointed out, there are going to be parking demands as more businesses move it. There's no way around that.
What are the capacities of the SLU-owned Olive-Compton parking garage as well as the former Livery Stable, now-surface parking lot on Locust? If they're close to capacity on a daily basis, is there a time when they empty out and could be shared by the general public? It's hard for me to believe that existing parking in the area is totally tapped all the time and that a new surface lot fronting Olive is 100% necessary. It's even harder to believe that this parking must be immediately visible and detract from the streetscape.
well, start believing.

No lot, no occupancy for 3037 Olive or Pita Pit from the city and the Modeling agency will not move without parking backing to the building they are buying. hell, I'm also being told the Hookah cafe will need 4 DEDICATED and PRIVATE parking spaces to get their occupancy and the SLU garage will not count. while many come on here with great ideals, they are not possible so we do what we must, even if we don't like it..

just the way it is.
How is St. Louis ever to get a truly walkable neighborhood if people fight density and the City requires parking. Can't some part of our City try something new? Again, at least we're not losing a building for parking.
Mark Wegmann wrote:
well, start believing.

No lot, no occupancy for 3037 Olive or Pita Pit from the city and the Modeling agency will not move without parking backing to the building they are buying. hell, I'm also being told the Hookah cafe will need 4 DEDICATED and PRIVATE parking spaces to get their occupancy and the SLU garage will not count. while many come on here with great ideals, they are not possible so we do what we must, even if we don't like it..

just the way it is.


I understand your position as promoters of the area (you're doing great -- don't let us sound like unilateral critics). I was just hoping the nearby garages/surface lots have been explored as potential parking overflow. I'm not sure if Grand Center shares, but one would expect SLU to share their parking, if at all possible, since they're partners with Midtown Alley.
Mark, I think your tackling it as exactly as it needs to be tackled. First and Foremost, you have to find and create a market to fill existing buildings. If that means using an existing empty lot as parking, so be it. Demand will create the rising property and rental rates that will be the basis of driving Infill. I'm still dumbfounded on how choking parking off will create market demand in a city and region surrounding by plentiful and cheap space. Especially if you got a lot of built environment that sits empty as it is. Simply put, work to fill what you got and then worry about whether a gravel lot is paved or not afterwards.
Dredger wrote:
Mark, I think your tackling it as exactly as it needs to be tackled. First and Foremost, you have to find and create a market to fill existing buildings. If that means using an existing empty lot as parking, so be it. Demand will create the rising property and rental rates that will be the basis of driving Infill. I'm still dumbfounded on how choking parking off will create market demand in a city and region surrounding by plentiful and cheap space. Especially if you got a lot of built environment that sits empty as it is. Simply put, work to fill what you got and then worry about whether a gravel lot is paved or not afterwards.


This is definitely a chicken-egg issue. On the one hand, you're correct. Land is cheap and plentiful, so placing any restrictions on where parking can go seems premature. On the other hand, if this becomes a trend (that is, more surface lots fronting Olive instead of more buildings), what you have is less than Loop-like, which I think is the goal.

Yes, the Loop has significant off-street parking space (especially present at that enormous lot off of Leland at the west end of the Loop). But the Loop also has many, many more visitors, and at least the bulk of off-street parking is concentrated in a couple spots as opposed to intermittent surface lots everywhere.

The only way retail, specifically, will work in the City of St. Louis, including Midtown Alley, is in the form of a walkable district like the Loop. The threat of surface parking establishing visual dominance over what could become a dense stretch of retail is what people are reacting to here. Every commercial district must mature and wean itself off of a parking oversupply, and surely Midtown Alley is not there yet. Still ,it's important to watch where parking goes in the growth process and to make sure it doesn't eat up too many future development sites now. If there's a parking solution already extant, then that should be the top priority.
Definitely agree on the chicken and the egg. I also have a different take on retail as It always requires foot traffic into the door to survive. Its nice to see businesses open. However, I think you have to concentrate or prioritize on how to bring jobs or residents back into the city. I think Mark understands that.

The difficulty, as most established urban centers of yester years and most posters on this blog understand, is that St Louis has half the population it once had to support all the built space that once existed. You can build all the infill you want in hopes of filling them with stores, retail, restaraunts, etc. However, it will require a signficant change in demographics for a market that can support as such. Personally, I hope the effort to build residencies in the city continues, lofts or rentals, it doesn't matter. Anything that brings in one more job outside of retail or a resident who might work in the county is a big plus.

Unfortunately, you will have a long time to go before all infill desire actually occurs, if it does occur. So a good question that might be discussed on another thread. How do you utiilize this space in the meantime? Parking lot is an obvious one. What about lots that really don't have someone pushing for a use and an owner who has no incentive or rent to improve upon it?
I think most of the complaints people have about whats going on (development-wise) in the city is related to urban design. What makes cities like Chicago, New York, and D.C. great is the extensive urban planning that went into those cities. St. Louis has the built environment to do a lot of amazing things, but our city lacks progressive leadership and organization.
We shouldn't be harassing developers about how they choose develop a certain area. We should be pressing our elected officials to pass a solidly urban comprehensive plan for the 21st century.
If we had an urban form-based zoning code. A lot of the ranting on these boards would cease to exist. We have enough progressive minded people in St. Louis to change a lot of things, but do we ever really impose our will on our 61 sq mile city. Or do we let status quo politicians impose their will on us?
We all have to remember that cars are absolutely necessary for these developments. While we're all agreed that they're done best when it's subtle and not obvious to the eye, I hope we all agree that, for a business to survive, it better have a way to get their clients to visit. Are people really harping so much on a vacant gravel lot into a parking lot, a constructive reuse to land in a developing neighborhood that'll bring increased pedestrian traffic, revenues, and permanence to the area? These customers are the key to making these businesses economically viable, because I sure don't ride my bike everywhere.

Or: Ever have your car broken into around here? Because there's a lot of us who have. Secured lots with lighting and visibility can help assure potential visitors that it's OK to have your car over here without losing your CD binder & stereo.

Pappy's would not be the success it is without customer parking next to their building. For other businesses in the area to survive and thrive, they'll need this, too.

Mark: I remember hearing a while back of Grand Center pushing for two garages being built for visitors to their shows, a few blocks east and west of Grand. Do you know of any progress with this? Long-term, could these lots meet some of Midtown's needs? My compliments to your work and Midtown's continued progress.
"Are people really harping so much on a vacant gravel lot into a parking lot, a constructive reuse to land in a developing neighborhood that'll bring increased pedestrian traffic, revenues, and permanence to the area? "

No, at least not the thinkers here. Some are simply lamenting the fact that parking concerns seem to dominate retail development in St. Louis, whether suburban, in the CBD, or along historic retail corridors. Given that this was one auto-row, I think it would be incredible to erect faux-storefronts that give some semblance of a car showroom and have the parking lot behind.