Midtown Station - Pace Retail 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.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby ecoabsence » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:18 pm

A comparison to the High Line is good not because NYC is a relevant peer but because the High Line is successful. One of the ways in which it is successful is through the urban beauty it presents -- and don't tell me that St. Louis should not try to make its bikeways and trails beautiful.

How can Midtown Station be made beautiful, and not pollute the view from the trestle?


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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby rbeedee » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:43 pm

ecoabsence wrote:A comparison to the High Line is good not because NYC is a relevant peer but because the High Line is successful.

The High Line is a successful urban park, and that's why I don't think the comparisons are helpful--the Trestle along the north riverfront has the possibility to be more "park-like" but lacks the urbanity of the High Line, while the one at the Federal Mogul site goes through a more active but much less scenic area. I think the Federal Mogul trestle can still be successful (by which I mean useful and used) without being a park, which I think is extremely unlikely for this segment.

I don't think this trestle has "park" in its future, mostly for reasons of location and money--it's relatively small, it's adjacent to a busy interstate, currently goes through an industrial wasteland, and will probably be going through big box retail in the future, with mixed-use residential nearby. I don't think it's likely to be a draw for people even if it we could come up with the money to turn it into a High Line-style park (though I guess there is all that Arch tax money soon to be available). I might go to sight-see views of Midtown and Downtown, I guess, but having the interstate next to it for most of its length would probably discourage most people from lingering.
ecoabsence wrote:One of the ways in which it is successful is through the urban beauty it presents -- and don't tell me that St. Louis should not try to make its bikeways and trails beautiful. How can Midtown Station be made beautiful, and not pollute the view from the trestle?

Of course we should try to make everything in St. Louis as beautiful as we can (including both our pathways and the areas they run through), but I don't think that the presence of an isolated half-block elevated trestle will drive much of the site design here. If it were part of some larger park or plan I could see allowing it to set the tone for the surrounding development, but (as far as I know) it's not. It's something that was noticed as development was being planned, and someone said, "hey, wouldn't it be cool if we could do something with this rather than just knocking it down?"

I would like to see Midtown Station be more mixed-use and with structured parking, but those are wishes I have that are independent of the presence of the trestle. Since the city is desperate for tax revenue and Midtown Station would be cleaning up a vacant brownfield, I don't think there's a whole lot of pressure the city is prepared to use here, but I think it's reasonable to ask that the trestle be preserved, turned into a bike path, and for Midtown Station to incorporate a safe way for that bike path to leave the development and continue on, to SLU, Grand, and/or the Grand MetroLink. Maybe I am being too pessimistic in the possibilities for the site, though. What do you think is achievable at this site to make the view from the trestle more beautiful?

While I think turning the trestle here into a park surrounded by an urban development is unlikely in the near-term, I think it could still be very useful as a bike path connecting Midtown/Grand to CORTEX and Forest Park, even if it were just paved like the McKinley Trestle or just had very minor plantings/amenities. While it would certainly not be very much like the High Line, I would still consider it a success if it were preserved and used.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby urbz » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:58 am

As a FPSE resident, I think this route is a must-have between the neighborhood and midtown. It would be a functional "freeway" for bikes that actually serves the purpose of getting people where they need to go. With the right mix of retail at Midtown Station, I could go carless in FPSE. Not that I couldn't right now, but making it that much more appealing is a huge deal, and it has the potential to be a big draw for any neighborhood connected to it.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby dredger » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:59 pm

I think it really is a big step forward for PACE to even entertain the idea.

Also, I can also see PACE looking hard at a mixed use structure or even a residential structure instead of stand along box stores along Vandy if you keep the branch trestle in place. At the same time, they can still market the east end of development to Target/etc.

Talk about appealing marketing brochure - You could literally walk to work and shopping or bike to FPSE restaruants/hang outs, take the metrolink to downtown/stadiums/airport/etc all in up and coming neighborhood.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby roger wyoming II » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:16 pm

Can someone with skillz sketch out a possible useful trestle trail.... I'm having a hard time visualizing terminal points, etc.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby gone corporate » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:23 pm

The existing Midtown Trestle is certainly an asset that should be converted into dual use as (1) a pedestrian pathway from the new Metrolink station at Sarah & Boyle, and (2) a cycling trail that can connect with the Clayton Avenue pathway into Forest Park and affiliate with long-term plans for the Choteau Greenway. The uniqueness of this Trestle adds an incredible amount of character to the area, and it could be a real marketing element to Midtown STL.

As well, it would be a tremendous marketing asset to Midtown Station, the theoretical IKEA, and Cortex. The ability for residents of the CWE, FPSE, Shaw, Tower Grove, etc. to easily bike to the store would be a great asset. It also would be one heck of a draw to the Midtown Station development for a cycling retail store that would pay heavy for a location there. Further, it promotes a dynamic environment that Cortex companies must have in order to better attract top scientific talent, many of whom are used to the dense environs of Boston and/or the trails of San Diego. This Trestle would be a great draw for real estate developers in nearby neighborhoods. And, it would be a great promotional piece for SLU.

One of the best things Pace Properties could do is cooperatively redevelop the Midtown Trestle to Great Rivers Greenway / Trailnet. Or, Pace could just sell it outright for $1 on the condition that they convert and maintain the Trestle as a pathway. I can only expect that such conversations are already taking place.

Note: Forget comparisons between the two, I simply don't want a "High Line" on the Midtown Trestle. I want an active bike path here, continuing the River Ring into Forest Park, and mirror the development plans of the North City Trestle in scope and scale. I would prefer this so much more than I would want something seeking to transform the Midtown Trestle into an actual elevated park; it would only end up full of potted tall grasses and prepackaged whimsy.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby roger wyoming II » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:13 pm

rbeedee wrote:I don't think this trestle has "park" in its future, mostly for reasons of location and money--it's relatively small, it's adjacent to a busy interstate, currently goes through an industrial wasteland, and will probably be going through big box retail in the future, with mixed-use residential nearby. I don't think it's likely to be a draw for people even if it we could come up with the money to turn it into a High Line-style park (though I guess there is all that Arch tax money soon to be available). I might go to sight-see views of Midtown and Downtown, I guess, but having the interstate next to it for most of its length would probably discourage most people from lingering.


I dunno. I think one of the best facets of this is that it is short, meaning that it does have potential for a couple million in aesthetics to go a long way. The key to me is if this could connect logically to the other planned greenways. If those plans advance, I could see this as a Midtown highlight with an excellent draw. And having Six Row essentially right there would be an added amenity!
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Presbyterian » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:34 pm

And having Six Row essentially right there would be an added amenity!


... drinking and cycling ... on a trestle ...
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby roger wyoming II » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:39 pm

^ Come to think of it, I think what this town needs is a beer byway. e.g. A loop connecting Civil Life to Six Row to UC over to Tap Room back to Civil Life. Maybe a beer and wurst/pretzel stand on the Trestle itself.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Alex Ihnen » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:31 pm

Image

green = existing trestle
orange = possible bike/ped access
red = TG Ave (Bike St. Louis route)
blue = MetroLink & future station (the blob)
yellow = arterial streets
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby rbeedee » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:50 pm

Tower Grove is a decent bike route south of Chouteau, but I wonder how the roundabout being put north of Chouteau to deal with the eastbound I-64 exit ramp traffic will complicate bicycling there. I've never biked through a roundabout so maybe I'm overthinking how scary it would be. I guess Boyle wouldn't be much better, with both on and off ramps to the interstate to contend with.

I may still be confused at how this interchange is being constructed, so please correct me if I am misunderstanding something.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Presbyterian » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:58 pm

I used to have a copy of a plan for a proposed Chouteau Bikeway from a few years ago, but I can't seem to find it.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Presbyterian » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:05 pm

Found it. This is from 2005. No idea the status.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby mill204 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:37 pm

Image

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Unread postby hebeter » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:33 am

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby ward17 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:44 pm

A constituent emailed a link to this discussion asking about this project. I’m reluctant to post here for several reasons but mostly because some time ago I was emailed a link to an outrageous and sensational report that Alex Ihnen made about Oakland and Kingshighway on Nextstl. When I posted to refute it and try to stop unfounded rumors my post was deleted within minutes.
I was shocked to think that someone portraying themselves as a “quasi” journalist would delete a response from a policy maker making an “on the record” comment.
I’m not sure what Alex’s motivation was but since I noticed that Urbanstl is now separate from Nextstl, and in the hopes that they welcome free speech and the open exchange of ideas and will not edit or delete “on the record” comments from policy makers I thought I might try to shed some light on this project..
It is not my policy to comment on non public developments, but since Pace posted on their website I feel ok to share the following:
1. This is very far from being a real deal!
2. The site plan posted on the website is for Pace’s marketing purposes only. No site plan has been approved or agreed to, and as of my last meeting with Pace several months ago, they had no tenant commitment.
3. In the last 5-7 years I have had several retail developers that have expressed interest in the site, and in each case I passed because of how the project would treat Forest Park. While I have been sometimes pressured to do the quick deal, I haven’t been in a hurry because the 17th ward has been fortunate to have many projects in the pipeline and I feel with each new successful development, and corresponding increase in density, I can be more demanding,
4. Pace is well aware of this history and secured site control and offered as a “minimum” to provide massing on Forest Park and pedestrian access from Forest Park.
5. We have only a few St. Louis based retail developers, and since Pace’s Boulevard project is in my opinion the best example of new dense urban retail, I felt it made sense for them to test the market.
6. After they get an indication of interest and a better idea of tenant mix and a firmer grip of the economics we agreed to revisit the site plan.
7. Many factors will influence the site plan and whether parking is decked—will retailers agree to a 4/1000sf parking ratio instead of 4.5/1000 sf because of the changing neighborhood and hoped for metro stop, can a residential developer be attracted to the site, tenant mix, but mostly economics.

8. The cost differential of a structured versus a surface parking space is the range of $100-150 per month forever! For just 500 parking spaces that is an additional $600,000 to $900,000 per year forever!
9. If the tenant mix and the dynamics of the project are such the developer wants to put in structured parking, then great. If not and we are requiring them to put in structured parking, they will be looking to recover that cost through some form of public assistance.
10. The city’s planning department began several months ago researching examples of new retail in neighborhoods of other cities with comparable density.
11. Should the project progress, I will likely assemble a group of vested parties whose opinions I respect to participate in the decision process.

Some other thoughts:

1. Retailing can be a huge source of incremental revenue. All the new incremental revenue inside the Cortex TIF district will (at least in the early years) be committed to the huge capital and infrastructure costs associated with paying for the planned Metro stop, greenway etc.
2. This project is outside the Cortex TIF district. That means some of that increment may be up for grabs if not all consumed by the project.


Now in response to Alex’s comment:
by Alex Ihnen » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:28 pm
^ Right. And Roddy claimed that he was waiting for "something special". Who's going to break it to him?


While good urban design can create value you don’t know that until you first understand the economics. When I said something special I meant the area of Cortex, SLU, CWE, and FPSE. I anticipate over $4 Billion in development/construction between WUMC and Cortex. I also anticipate very significant investments in each of the other neighborhoods of the 17th ward. Some of these projects take years to advance. I secured the first grant for Cortex (then called Technopolis) almost 25 years ago and I got the first grant for the Metro stop almost 12 years ago. It took years to plan and complete the Manchester and Sarah infrastructure projects. The Euclid project is still in the making.
Regarding this project, one of our choices might be to have decked parking, and a center with outstanding urban design or it might be creating an urban design floor (a minimum standard) and then milking the “big box” cow by letting them keep their surface parking and taking the revenue increment to fund another need within the district that will move it forward in the goal of creating a car optional neighborhood. This is just one of the many alternatives that will be under consideration. These are complex issues--can CID, TTD money be spent on operations instead of capital? Can CID and TTD money be spent outside their districts? What are the costs and benefits of some of the alternative needs/wants for the district.
Going forward you should know—I/we—through Cortex have access to some of the most respected urban planners in the country and I am hoping to have access to an equally regarded parking/transportation consultant to assist in quantifying the costs of various tradeoffs of parking and transportation.
Finally, Alex may love breaking news, but his reporting on projects in my ward has been far from accurate and full of speculation. He hasn’t bothered to check the facts with me or to my knowledge anyone in a policy making position.
I enjoy discussing urban redevelopment and spent much of my life working towards it. If you have questions regarding projects in the 17th ward, I would encourage you to contact me directly (or the staff at Park Central) and I will do the best I can to get back to you (As a policy I do not discuss projects that are not public or are at the confidential stage). I understand if everyone doesn't agree with my decisions but I only ask you provide me the courtesy you provide other posters and don't delete or edit my replies.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby dmmonty1 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:14 pm

While we have you here Alderman Roddy, can you please tell us when SLU is going to be cleaning up the mess they made of the Peveley site? It's a disgrace!

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Alex Ihnen » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:15 pm

Wow, Joe. This is factually incorrect. Your comment wasn't deleted. Comments aren't deleted other than for abusive language or threats, and yours contained neither (I'm assuming). I couldn't be easier to find. If you felt that something had happened, just reach out to me. I'm always responsive. Also, there have always been a number of moderators on this forum and I have never owned it. I don't appreciate the accusation, as it's simply false. I have always, and will always welcome and appreciate your participation in public conversations about the future of the 17th Ward and our city. I ask that you apologize.

Making this personal is petty and small-minded of you. Everyone should expect better. I have reached out to you on numerous occasions and have received no reply. Again, to be very explicit, I welcome and encourage your participation in any and all discussions here, on the blog and social media. It's your choice whether to engage or not. Despite the unwarranted personal attack here, I'm happy to see you communicating with the larger social media community. I also hope that you will reestablish your Twitter account, as that is often the best way to hear from residents, property owners and others interested in the 17th Ward.

Also, the post in question is not sensational in any way whatsoever. But why take my word for it? Anyone can read it here: http://nextstl.com/central-corridor/fpse-under-siege. The images are from a publicly available developer website. The story is clear. The Midtown Station story is also simply factual: http://nextstl.com/central-corridor/pace-properties-to-build-midtown-station-retail-development-at-midtown-federal-mogul-site.

I would like to add that I appreciate all the work you do. As a 5yr resident of your ward and a current property owner (I remain a constituent of yours), I have benefited from your work and planning. I served on the FPSE Development Committee for several years and enjoyed doing so at your invitation. I see an incredible amount of potential in the 17th and surrounding areas. I'm deeply interested. I certainly have policy disagreements with you, but no personal issues whatsoever. In addition to simply being false, this is why your comments above are so disappointing.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Alex Ihnen » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:27 am

By the way, Eddie Roth, with whom I certainly don't always agree, decided to engage in a discussion when confronted with something he didn't like. I greatly appreciated his decision to speak up instead of being quiet. The example: http://nextstl.com/urban-living/yes-st-louis-is-becoming-a-safer-place.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby sirshankalot » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:28 am

So the alderman says it's a far from being a done deal and Sir Alex responds...

What's the verdict: Is it done or not? Or this the same BS we get fed here regarding Google and IKEA?

And why are posters here so emotionally charged up by spreading gossip?

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Alex Ihnen » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:38 am

Nothing is a done deal until it's actually being built. The Midtown Station story, and IKEA, and all other development news details what's being planned. I think it's rather simple. At some point, a contract will be signed and an official announcement made (or not). That's when it's a done deal.

In a more broad context, I strongly believe that there's enormous value to the community and residents to be aware of what might be coming. Once official announcements are made and plans approved by the city, there's virtually zero chance for residents to have any influence.

And here's what gets me: We all accept that speculation about sports teams and events, and technology (iPhone rumors, etc.), are valid, if not important, enterprises. They're accepted and eagerly consumed. The place we live, the built environment, the political policies, taxing policies, etc. are so incredibly important to our lives. This is what is deserving of our attention. This stuff is what's important and what we should all be talking about.

Lastly, there's a lot on nextSTL. Some of it is development news, some of it isn't, but I don't just write "rumors" and never without very clear caveats. Should the Opus Lindell/Euclid news be considered a sensational rumor? I don't think so. Of course it's not in the 17th Ward either.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby chaifetz10 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:47 am

My personal opinion... if you don't want to read "rumors" about what may be coming, then why choose to read this site? If all you want is actual announcements from the developers themselves then you can choose to wait for the Post Dispatch or Biz Journal to print the story.

Alex at NextSTL and the leaders of this forum have always provided information which they view to be valid. Does that mean that every plan gets off the drawing board and into construction? Of course not! Businesses make plans and then change them all the time. It comes with the territory of covering business and residential developments.

As for the Google/IKEA comment, so what? It's not as if people are plotting ways to start rumors just for kicks and giggles. Some of the main posters here have built up report and respect for their ability to deliver accurate information. I'll take their word on these so called "rumors".

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Alex Ihnen » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:51 am

For the record: the Google rumor was simply posted by a forum user and no one affiliated with managing or moderating the site and no one affiliated with nextSTL.
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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby chaifetz10 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:53 am

^Correct. But a user who has been here for years and has delivered reliable information in the past on numerous occasions as well. I still view him as a reliable source for inside information.

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Re: Midtown Station - Pace Retail Development

Unread postby Alex Ihnen » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:02 am

^ Absolutely. Just pointing out that it was a personal predication and not a moderator rumor or nextSTL prediction.
Last edited by Alex Ihnen on Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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