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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Around the Old Post Office

According to Martin Van Der Werf's column in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, plans for the park just north of the Old Post Office on Locust Street are stalled to point of finally frustrating developers and Downtown Now! topper Tom Reeves. Perhaps the inability to put in this useless park will convince people that this site is ideal for high-density development, not a stale piece of green space. The Old Post Office is surrounded by dense architectural fabric on its east and south sides, and by a huge parking garage on its west. Why not mitigate the parking garage's ugliness and complement the remaining architectural fabric by developing this site with tall modern buildings?

The Roberts brothers want to build a glassy tower addition to the Mayfair. They could push it up to Locust, providing a lower connecting portion between the Mayfair and the new building that would make for a more pleasant transition. Another developer could acquire and build upon the western end of the site. Why squander the opportunity? Downtown has far too much open space, and needs greater density.

UPDATE: From a thread on the Urban St. Louis forum: "They should develop the plot of land the park will be on and build an underground plaza, beneath the parking garage."

Also in Van Der Werf's column is the announcement that the owners of the Chemical Building, just east of the Old Post Office, are renaming it "the Alexa" as part of their residential conversion project. Is this a sick joke?


Joe said...

I agree the plaza is superfluous. And the name "Alexa" just sounds like a supermodel. The beautiful old Chemical Building deserves better.

But I'm most excited by the note at the end of the column:

The Fleurs de Lis at Jefferson and Arsenal may finally be alive again! It's scheduled to go before the TIF commission in June.

This development, if done right, could potentially be the lynchpin to connecting the success of Benton Park with the relatively struggling redevelopment of Benton Park West.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with green space? There's so little left downtown. People who choose to live downtown should have green spaces to enjoy too, should they not?

Michael R. Allen said...

I disagree that there's little green space left downtown. There are huge amounts of green space in the Arch grounds andthe Gateway Mall, both of which involved the demolition of hundreds of historic buildings. These two projects should have produced enough downtown green space to meet the demands of a city of 800,000.

Yet, there is even more green space: Lucas Park, a truly valuable and thoughtful space; the City Hall grounds; the park in front of the Eagleton Courthouse; the park across the street from Savvis Center; and the "plaza" just one block east of the proposed plaza (the one that occupies the site of the Ambassador Building, demolished in 1996-7 for the plaza!). That seems like a lot of green space for a downtown with as much vacant land as ours.