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  1. #1

    Default Saint Louis


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    Pretty. But at the same time. considering that many of those buildings are abandoned, the crime situation in the city is one of the worst in the nation, and its population is now less than half of its peak in the '50s.

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    Oh, did I mention that it's the syphilis capital of America, too? :shock:

    But there's a huge amount of change going on lately; from what I heard, murders alone dropped more than 40% from last year.

    Those MetroLink stations are also very impressive.

  5. #5

  6. #6

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    Took some pictures of City Place (in West St. Louis County, a suburb of St. Louis)....City Place is a group of 4 buildings...The largest is a Microsoft building...Other tenants in the buildings are Progressive Auto Insurance and New York Life...

    These are my first pics I have taken with my new camera, sorry if the quality is bad. I placed a link because the files are so large, didnt want to piss anyone off with posting massive file sized pictures... Please give me some honest feedback.



    http://st06.startlogic.com/~wrestlin/cityplace/

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    I like them! You took really beautiful and clear pictures.

    Is kind of bad they are located in a suburb because they are good looking buildings...The problem of the suburbs is that if I go to a city to see building architecture many of the new and good looking buildings are somewhere in the suburbs where they are hard to find...besides they make them smaller because they have more land to built.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime
    I like them! You took really beautiful and clear pictures.

    Is kind of bad they are located in a suburb because they are good looking buildings...The problem of the suburbs is that if I go to a city to see building architecture many of the new and good looking buildings are somewhere in the suburbs where they are hard to find...besides they make them smaller because they have more land to built.
    I actually got kicked off the property because its "private property"

    I will probably post some more from here soon...

  9. #9

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    I think you did a very nice job with the photographs I could see (the most recent you posted). Good work!

    I couldn't see the photos that were posted prior to your most recent, unfortunately, but Saint Louis does have a large number of remarkable buildings. These buildings span the spectrum from residences, to public spaces, to commercial buildings (office buildings, old warehouses, apartments, etc.). If anyone is interested, I will be glad to provide a list of noteworthy places. As I look out my window, I can see great buildings designed by Louis Sullivan and Cass Gilbert, and there are many others.

    The negative facts about Saint Louis that are stated above may be true, but certainly do not provide an accurate portrayal of the metropolitan area. Saint Louis has a unique political situation that distorts its image for a casual observer. In short, the "City of Saint Louis" separated from "Saint Louis County" over 130 years ago. At that time, the City fixed its boundaries - and placed a noose around its neck. While the area continued to grow rapidly for the next 80 years, all of this growth, and wealth developed outside of the "City" limits, in the "County". Over time, the wealth and space in the "County" attracted many of the residents, and much of the wealth, from the "City". (Although the analogy is not perfect, think of Westchester County, Long Island, and the New Jersey suburbs of New York City; or think of the migration of office space from downtown to midtown Manhattan). This population and wealth drain has resulted in the oldest, and poorest, part of Saint Louis - the "City" - having all of the problems that these conditions create, but without the necesarry people or the money to attempt to solve those problems. So while it may be true that the "City" of Saint Louis has had its share of crime or disease, it is not accurate to quote those facts out of context to discredit the entire metropolitan area. Doing so is the equivalent of taking the poorest sections of the Bronx or Brooklyn and attempting to assert that the problems of those areas extend to all of New York City.

    The greater Saint Louis area is a remarkable place which endears itself to those who care to take the time to experience it. It has the relatively low cost of living provided by a medium-sized urban area, but has all of the benefits (outstanding museums, theater, symphony, two operas, architecture, history) that were established when Saint Louis was a dense, industrial city. The place is worth a visit - even if only for a Cards game and trip to the Arch.

    Keep posting those photos...

  10. #10

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    Some history and a list of good things to do in Saint Louis, from yesterday's Times:

    www.nytimes.com

    May 9, 2004
    WHAT'S DOING
    In St. Louis
    By SHIRLEY CHRISTIAN

    As an outpost of French civilization, the small but urbane town of St. Louis was doing fairly well when Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived at the end of 1803 to prepare for their voyage of exploration. Townspeople wined and dined the two that winter, then sent them on their way up the Missouri River. Their return from the Pacific in 1806 produced more festivities.

    A century later, with St. Louis the fourth largest city in the United States, events that had led to the nation's ocean-to-ocean expansion were celebrated with the glittering Louisiana Purchase Exposition, better known as the 1904 World's Fair.

    The fair, which featured a giant, 2,160-seat Ferris wheel, introduced to a wide public such American standards as Dr Pepper, ice cream cones, iced tea, Buster Brown shoes, and Borax's 20-mule team. The aged Geronimo signed autographs for 10 cents each, and the young Will Rogers twirled his rope and told jokes. "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis" seemed the most modern and romantic thing to do, never mind that the song was conceived in New York.

    Although greater St. Louis now ranks 14th in population (and the city itself just 49th), it is in many ways the Boston of the Midwest - home of graceful old brick buildings that have housed generations of immigrants and guardian of the region's history through long-established cultural and research institutions. To pay homage to the events of 1804 and 1904, the city and its surrounding suburbs are plumbing the depths of this heritage.

    Events

    "Lewis and Clark: Imagining the Expedition From St. Louis," an exhibition of artifacts, original letters and documents, tells the story of the five months the explorers spent at their camp on the Mississippi and among the French of St. Louis, making final preparations for the journey. The show, which is free, is in the museum space under the Gateway Arch along the Mississippi through Jan. 31. Information: (314) 655-1700 or www.gatewayarch.com.

    In May 1804, Lewis and Clark moved to St. Charles, a western suburb on the Missouri River whose inhabitants Clark judged (in his sometimes phonetic style) to be "pore, polite & harmonious." He and the boat crews made the trip by river, and Lewis traveled overland with an entourage of St. Louis notables, who cheered the explorers as they set out upriver in a driving rain. This year, the St. Charles riverfront will be the scene of festivities from this Friday through May 23, including performances by fife and drum corps, a re-enactment of Lewis and Clark's encampment, including a court martial of three members of their force for being away without leave, and displays and sales of early 19th-century crafts and foods.

    There will be living history tours of St. Charles's Main Street, lined with small brick buildings that house restaurants and shops. This Saturday, replicas of Lewis and Clark's keelboat and pirogues arrive. For St. Charles information: (800) 366-2427, www.lewisandclarkstcharles.com.

    Lewis and Clark's voyage, from the time they left St. Charles until they arrived back in St. Louis, is explored in an exhibition at the Missouri History Museum, Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere Street in Forest Park. It contains a number of original items, including Lewis's telescope and Masonic apron, a rifle and powder horn of Clark's, and some journals kept on the voyage. The exhibition is open daily through Sept. 6, then begins a national tour. Museum entry is free, but this show has a general admission of $12; (314) 454-3150 or www.mohistory.org.

    The Missouri History Museum is also the site of "The World's Fair: Looking Back at Looking Forward," a tribute to the 1904 exposition. It displays artifacts and artwork from the fair, ranging from souvenir ruby glass and French posters to Sioux handicrafts and Chinese rosewood furniture. Open daily, free.

    St. Louis was also the site of the 1904 Olympic Games, and that, too, will be celebrated this summer. The Olympic Torch for this year's Summer Games in Athens will travel a 30-mile route through St. Louis on June 17, arriving in Forest Park about 8:30 p.m. for a free public gathering on the lawns of the St. Louis Art Museum. Olympic stars from the area will participate, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee, winner of the heptathlon gold medals in 1988 and 1992.

    St. Louis's popular outdoor musical theater, the Muny, also in Forest Park, will present as its opening show - naturally - "Meet Me in St. Louis." Tickets for the nightly performances in the 10,823-seat amphitheater from June 21 to 30 cost from $8 to $56 (1,500 rear seats are free each night), and go on sale June 5; (314) 361-1900 or www.muny.com.

    Sightseeing

    Forest Park, the 1,371-acre heart of St. Louis, was the site of the World's Fair, but few of its significant structures survive other than the St. Louis Art Museum, designed by Cass Gilbert as the exposition's Palace of Fine Arts. Today, besides being the home of the art museum, the Muny and the Missouri History Museum, the park - 60 percent bigger than Central Park - includes the St. Louis Zoo, various lakes and a boathouse, two golf courses, walking and biking paths, a skating rink and a wide variety of habitats.

    After a life of grand adventure, William Clark died in 1838 and is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, 4947 West Florissant Avenue, north of downtown, surrounded by generations of descendants. (Meriwether Lewis died in 1809 while traveling the Natchez Trace in Tennessee and is buried there.) The cemetery opens at 8 a.m. and the office, (314) 381-0750, which closes at 4 p.m., offers free maps daily directing visitors to the Clark monument.

    The Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, where Joplin lived from 1900 to 1903 and wrote some of his best-known compositions, including "The Entertainer," offers a look at the roots of ragtime and his struggle to succeed in the face of racism. The simple brick row house at 2658 Delmar Boulevard, (314) 340-5790, www.mostateparks.com/scottjoplin.htm, has a player piano and a collection of rolls of the music of Joplin and his contemporaries, which visitors may sit and play. Open daily. Admission: $2.50 and $1.50 for children.

    The ultimate sightseeing around much of Lewis and Clark country this summer will be on the luxury barge River Explorer. Besides a three-day excursion from St. Louis to St. Charles this Friday ($495 a person), it offers longer cruises on the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio Rivers into autumn. They include four Show Me the Big Muddy cruises on the Missouri in August, going from St. Charles to Kansas City and Sioux City, Iowa. Prices begin at $2,640 for the nine-day upriver segments and $1,890 for the seven-day downriver voyages. Information: (888) 462-2743 or www.riverbarge.com.

    Where to Stay

    The 106-room Cheshire Lodge, 6300 Clayton Road, (800) 325-7378, fax (314) 647-9819, www.cheshirelodge.com, is a Tudor-style homey European-style hotel at the southwest corner of Forest Park. It is filled with worn tapestries, antique wood furnishings and displays of English stoneware, along with the owner's collection of mostly 20th-century German and English military caps and insignia. Spacious double rooms - in warm colors with updated baths - are listed at $131, but the Web site offers specials linked to the Lewis and Clark observances from $128.

    Besides views of the Mississippi River, the Drury Plaza Hotel at Fourth and Market Streets downtown, (314) 231-3003, fax (314) 231-2952, www.druryhotels.com, has other touches not usually found in a mid-price chain hotel. The 367-room hotel, in the former International Fur Exchange and two adjacent buildings, has microwaves, refrigerators and high-speed Internet access in the large double rooms. Doubles start at $122, including a hot breakfast.

    Budget: The 137-room Quality Inn and Suites Historic St. Charles, 1425 South Fifth Street, (636) 946-6936, fax (636) 946-9640, www.choicehotels.com/hotel/mo180, is convenient to the festivities in St. Charles. Just redecorated, its 137 large rooms have light-toned wood furniture and coffeemakers, and some have microwaves and refrigerators. An indoor pool, exercise area and pleasant breakfast room await off the lobby. Doubles start at $69 to $109.

    Luxury: The 539-room Hyatt Regency, in Union Station, 1820 Market Street, (314) 231-1234, fax (314) 923-3970, www.stlouis.hyatt.com, is a reinvention of a 19th-century St. Louis landmark. Guests enter beneath the soaring vaulted ceiling and Tiffany windows of what was the train station's grand hall. Rooms have a sumptuous feel with carpets and upholstery in deep blues, golds and rich greens. The fleur de lis is everywhere. Doubles generally start at are $204, but a World's Fair weekend package with breakfast is $159.

    The venerable Chase Park Plaza, 212-232 North Kingshighway Boulevard, (877) 587-2427, fax (314) 633-1144, www.chaseparkplaza.com, reopened in 1999 after a $100 million renovation. The 251 rooms feature dark woods and black and gold upholstery. There is an 18,000-square-foot fitness club, outdoor swimming pool, five restaurants and a movie theater in the lobby. Doubles normally start at $199, suites $219.

    Where to Eat

    Filet of beef tenderloin, liver mousse wrapped in prosciutto and ballotine of duckling are on the ambitious menu at Café de France, 7515 Forsyth Boulevard in Clayton, west of Forest Park; (314) 678-0200. A four-course dinner for two with wine is about $125, or you can go for the six-course meal at upward of $150. There is also a bistro menu. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday and lunch Monday through Friday.

    In a setting of warm Spanish colors, Modesto Tapas Bar and Restaurant, 5257 Shaw Avenue, (314) 772-8272, turns out tapas and some larger plates, like paella. A dinner for two that may include langosta frita, shrimp al Modesto, fried calamari, house-made sausages and spinach empanadas is $100, with wine. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday and dinner Saturday.

    The Cheshire Inn, (314) 647-7300, adjacent to the Cheshire Lodge, has an inviting English atmosphere in what feels like a hunting lodge. The menu includes pan-seared sea scallops, pecan-encrusted mahi-mahi topped with black bean relish, and prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. A dinner for two with wine runs about $75. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily; the pub is open till 3 a.m.

    The 9th Street Abbey provides an interesting lunch setting: a converted church at 1808 South Ninth Street, (314) 621-9598, in the historic Soulard district. The menu features salads, sandwiches and a few hot entrees. Open for lunch weekdays; about $30 for two with a glass of wine each.

    A man who liked his mother-in-law enough to build her a house attached to his own in 1866 made possible the New Mother-in-Law House Restaurant, 500 South Main Street in St. Charles, (636) 946-9444. The menu in the antique-filled brick structure features standards like sirloin strip and fried chicken, plus a few flourishes like sautéed chicken in amaretto sauce. Everyone is urged to save room for coconut cream pie. Dinner for two with wine is $40 to $50. Lunch Monday to Saturday and dinner Tuesday to Saturday.


    SHIRLEY CHRISTIAN is the author of "Before Lewis and Clark: The Story of the Chouteaus, the French Dynasty that Ruled America's Frontier" ( Farrar,Straus & Giroux).

  11. #11
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    I read that article today. Couldn't help but think of this thread as I did.

  12. #12

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    From the Times. The link has a couple of photographs, too.

    ***
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/na...db2871&ei=5070


    April 8, 2005
    ST. LOUIS JOURNAL
    For St. Louis, Great Expectations but a Slow-Rolling Renaissance
    By KIRK JOHNSON

    ST. LOUIS, April 5 - People here joke that the sidewalks get rolled up at night as workers flee to the suburbs, but through the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament that ended on Monday, the sidewalks got washed instead. St. Louis primped and spruced and papered its empty buildings with signs about the rosy days to come and got its television close-up in front of millions of viewers around the world.

    But much of the city's upbeat message was intended for consumption at home, where urban pioneers like John and Mary Kelly have staked their fortunes on making the renaissance real. The couple opened Kelly's Deli four years ago on what was then a nearly abandoned block of downtown, and they still have great expectations because of the conversion of vacant buildings into loft-style apartments in their neighborhood and the escalating real-estate prices that are drawing investors.

    But for St. Louis, which lost half its population in the decades after World War II, and for the Kellys, the good times still remain mostly unrealized. The basketball crowds gave a nice jolt to the cash register, they said. And the event put as much as $60 million into the local economy over four days of revelry, economic development officials said. But by Tuesday it was business as usual.

    "I don't know how long we can hold on," Mr. Kelly said.

    The calculus of rehabilitating any wounded city is partly about experimenting until something that works is found. St. Louis is pinning its hopes on architecture, specifically its stock of glorious old buildings that now stand like monuments to a vanished economy of manufacturing might. But selling the portrait of that recovery, city officials and development leaders say, is complicated by history and myth and the deep divisions in Missouri politics, and to a certain extent by the even trickier terrain of sexual orientation.

    The city is an island of Democratic voters in a sea of increasingly conservative rural and suburban ones. It suffers from a reputation as a dangerous place, which tends to keep many outsiders from venturing in. And the recovery effort has partly been led by members of a group that is not popular in many parts of Missouri: gay men and lesbians who have renovated neighborhoods and opened new businesses in recent years.

    In August, voters across the state overwhelming voted yes on an amendment to the State Constitution banning same-sex marriage. St. Louis, in a lonely dissent, voted no.

    The ongoing pitch to the rest of Missouri is that St. Louis's diversity is exactly what makes the city exciting, said James A. Cloar, the president and chief executive of the Downtown St. Louis Partnership, a civic development group.

    "People outside the city have got to buy in," Mr. Cloar said.

    Many low-income residents outside downtown, meanwhile, will probably have to wait longer than the Kellys to see any benefit from the resurgence, advocates for the poor say.

    Along Washington Avenue, where loft redevelopment is concentrated, the sounds of hammers and saws filled the air on a recent afternoon. Three new businesses have opened on one block in just the last few weeks, including Washington Avenue Post, which combines a coffee bar, an Internet café and an office supply operation.

    A mile or two away in the city's mostly black North End, the scars of St. Louis's long fall seem unhealed, with block after block of sagging brick houses.

    The city's population, which was more than 850,000 in 1950, had fallen to 348,000 people by 2000, with many of those who left now living in the city's ring of suburbs. Unemployment is about 6.5 percent for the metropolitan area, but far higher in the North End, residents say.

    "If you truly create a new industry, there will be jobs," said the Rev. Bill Hutchison, a Jesuit priest and the founder of the Northside Community Center, a nonprofit group. "What's happening now is not designed to hit the low-income people. It's designed to hit the mobile, professional, upper-income class."

    But optimism can be an unpredictable thing, with consequences of its own, other people say. And there are hints that St. Louis might be regaining some of its old swagger.

    Asked whether the city might suffer if Missourians came to see St. Louis as too different in its politics or too accepting of diversity, one senior city official said the risk of opprobrium was really the other way around - that potential newcomers, drawn to a resurgent St. Louis, might not be so keen on the rest of the state.

    "I'm not so worried that they won't tolerate us," said Jeff Rainford, the chief of staff to Mayor Francis G. Slay, referring to Missouri residents outside the city. "I am a little afraid that the folks we want to come won't tolerate them."

    ***

  13. #13

    Default Another article - this one from last week

    Also from the Times.

    ***

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/30/bu...rop.html?8hpib

    March 30, 2005

    COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

    In the Arch's Shadow, Signs of Revival
    By LINDA TUCCI

    Framed on the east by Eero Saarinen's forward-looking Gateway Arch and on the west by the majestic Romanesque-style Union Station, downtown St. Louis might be the most studied 2.91 square miles in the nation. At least a dozen reports have been commissioned in recent years to dissect its shortcomings and point the way to a brighter future.

    Invariably, those efforts delivered the same bad news: despite its status as Missouri's largest office center and the hub for three successful professional sports teams, downtown was in dire straits. Last year, a California consultant pronounced the downtown "one of the most lifeless and uninteresting" in America.

    Cut off from the Mississippi River by Interstate 70, the business district was marooned from its past. Large corporations were vacating to suburban locations or swallowed by out-of-state acquirers. Foot traffic had all but evaporated.

    For St. Louisans, the decline was all the more unnerving because it seemed that other waterfront cities - Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, for example - were becoming increasingly lively. Worse still, tens of millions of square feet of commercial space in the downtown core sat vacant. The brick and stone edifices - some of them national landmarks - were crumbling.

    But, increasingly, civic leaders are convinced that the worst has passed. In the last six years, a comprehensive plan to reinvigorate downtown has been set in motion, and more than $2.5 billion has been committed to 125 projects. While many initiatives are still in their infancy, a few are far enough along that national developers are said to be taking notice, investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the future of downtown St. Louis.

    W. Thomas Reeves, executive director of Downtown Now, a public-private partnership working to rejuvenate the area, said that 2004 was the tipping point for the revitalization of downtown St. Louis. "It's no longer a conversation; it's real construction," he said.

    Notable projects include a new federal courthouse, a convention center hotel and a new baseball stadium scheduled to be finished by next spring, but local experts think the future of downtown will have less to do with these blockbusters than with a fundamental shift in the city's approach to development.

    "I think the biggest change is that we're not just focused on one project," said Barbara Geisman, who heads economic development for Mayor Francis G. Slay. "We are addressing all of the issues that prevented us from achieving critical mass in the past."

    The sea change can be traced to several critical events in the late 1990's. In 1997, after hundreds of community meetings, St. Louis 2004, an organization led by former Senator John C. Danforth, came out with an action plan for the region that included as one its top priorities the revival of downtown. That same year, Clarence Harmon, the mayor who preceded Mr. Slay, appointed Downtown Now, a committee that included representatives from St. Louis 2004, the area's largest business organizations, downtown corporations and private citizens.

    Perhaps most important, the Missouri Legislature and Gov. Mel Carnahan enacted a state historic tax credit that when added to the federal historic tax credit made it much more attractive to turn vacant or underused old buildings into housing, hotels and retail space.

    In 2000, Downtown Now hired Mr. Reeves, a banker who had overseen Mercantile Bank's real estate lending, as its executive director and started a $1.2 billion plan that focused on four downtown areas: Washington Avenue, the Old Post Office District, Laclede's Landing and the Gateway Mall.

    "What is happening is completely fueled by the state historic credit being added to the federal credit, which could only happen if you had this tremendous store of historic buildings, all of which were on the National Register or eligible for listing," said Carolyn H. Toft, the president of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis and a framer of the state credit.

    Oddly, the lack of downtown activity for so long kept much of the city's trove of old buildings in suspended animation. Otherwise, they might have been torn down, Ms. Toft said.

    The first redevelopment happened on Washington Avenue, where old garment district warehouses, with their big floor areas, made for relatively easy conversion to lofts and provided plenty of space for first floor retailing.

    "They were all vacant, and there is no way offices were going back into those," said Richard C. Ward, chairman of Development Strategies, a St. Louis consulting firm specializing in urban development. "That's why I say thank goodness for the residential market because you're never going to use these warehouse buildings as warehouses."

    A report issued last year states that since 2000, 36 historic buildings have reopened or are under reconstruction, adding 1,863 residential units to the downtown market. For a city that lost 12 percent of its population from 1990 to 2000, the influx has been hailed as a turnaround. Another 1,050 units are coming on the market in 2005 alone, and 1,359 more are planned.

    Every residential property developed since 2000 projected through 2006 is a renovation of a historic building, and most have had substantial support from the historic tax credits. Approximately 5 million square feet - of 15 million vacant square feet - has been consumed. Of 9,610 residents downtown, 4,644 live in market-rate properties. Of those living in the market-rate housing, 82 percent are college graduates, with 30 percent hold postgraduate degrees.

    "I do think there is something very real here," Mr. Ward said. "People are making investment decisions to live downtown as fast as they can build the darn units."

    Part of the attraction is price. The average price per square foot for condominiums is $150, and the monthly rent for apartments is $1.05 per square foot.

    The market is beginning to show signs that it can also attract an older, more wealthy buyer. Craig Heller, one of the first loft condominium developers downtown, recently sold a penthouse condominium for $750,000 - or $225 a square foot. "Somebody reading this in New York would laugh, but for us it's good," he said. "It's a nice thing because it shows this kind of living is not just the kids."

    Along with the people has come the first wave of new restaurants and retail. "We've opened seven new retail establishments since July of 2004 and about that number of restaurants, and we have an equivalent number that may open in the next six months," said James Cloar, president of Downtown St. Louis Partnership. "It's getting to where many of these restaurants on the weekend, you can't get in."

    In addition to Washington Avenue, Downtown Now has focused on reviving the Old Post Office and Custom House, which anchors an entire block in the nine-block-long area known as the Old Post Office District. Set back by broad sidewalks and set apart by its Second Empire style and granite facade, the national landmark was operated until recently by the General Services Administration and was scheduled to be closed. Now, it is undergoing a $77 million renovation for use by businesses, educational institutions and courts and the construction of a 1,000-car parking garage.

    The deal took five years to work out; it involves $28 million in corporate tax credits and a raft of federal, state and other commercial tax credits, and it comes with its own controversy. To make way for the garage, another historic building, the Century, was razed, to the dismay of preservationists, like Ms. Toft. "It's not ironic; it's irrational," she declared.

    Leading the development is the financier Steven J. Stogel of DFC Group, a consulting and development firm, and Mark Schnuck of Desco, the commercial real estate arm of the Schnuck Markets, a regional supermarket chain with $2 billion in revenue. Mr. Schnuck's brothers, Craig and Scott C., have headed two powerful business organizations in the city: Civic Progress and Regional Chamber and Growth Association.

    "We're St. Louisans and we really felt there was a civic responsibility to try and get involved in some way or another and trying to be a catalyst for this redevelopment," Mark Schnuck said. "It is such a skinny deal, that is one with a potential return rather limited in light of the size of the property. "You have a building that is 248,000 square feet, but there's only about 135,000 square feet that's usable because it's such a high cube and large common areas."

    So far, 70 percent of the space has been leased, mostly by institutions and smaller companies - including the Missouri Court of Appeals, Webster University and The St. Louis Business Journal - that were already downtown.

    The blighted blocks surrounding the Old Post Office have also undergone a conversion to residential use, with another one million previously vacant square feet already renovated or out for bid, including projects from two major investors: a $14 million conversion of the old St. Louis Board of Education building into lofts by Steven and Michael Roberts, and the $52 million Paul Brown Loft Apartments, done by John Steffen of Pyramid Construction.

    Now, the biggest worry for downtown is the office market, Mr. Ward and others said.

    "The good side of the story is the residential is going to create a whole new atmosphere downtown," Mr. Ward said. "It's not going to feel like a dead place. More young people are saying that's the place to be. And that will eventually - I don't know how quickly - accrue to the office market."
    ***

  14. #14
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    An article I posted in the "City Slights" thread notes that Saint Louis's population decline halted last year. I've got my fingers crossed for a population increase in the 2010 Census.

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    Somebody at the Times must own property in St. Louis for all this hype... is it the new Beacon, NY?

    April 8, 2005

    ST. LOUIS JOURNAL For St. Louis, Great Expectations but a Slow-Rolling Renaissance

    By KIRK JOHNSON
    T. LOUIS, April 5 - People here joke that the sidewalks get rolled up at night as workers flee to the suburbs, but through the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament that ended on Monday, the sidewalks got washed instead. St. Louis primped and spruced and papered its empty buildings with signs about the rosy days to come and got its television close-up in front of millions of viewers around the world.

    But much of the city's upbeat message was intended for consumption at home, where urban pioneers like John and Mary Kelly have staked their fortunes on making the renaissance real. The couple opened Kelly's Deli four years ago on what was then a nearly abandoned block of downtown, and they still have great expectations because of the conversion of vacant buildings into loft-style apartments in their neighborhood and the escalating real-estate prices that are drawing investors.

    But for St. Louis, which lost half its population in the decades after World War II, and for the Kellys, the good times still remain mostly unrealized. The basketball crowds gave a nice jolt to the cash register, they said. And the event put as much as $60 million into the local economy over four days of revelry, economic development officials said. But by Tuesday it was business as usual.

    "I don't know how long we can hold on," Mr. Kelly said.

    The calculus of rehabilitating any wounded city is partly about experimenting until something that works is found. St. Louis is pinning its hopes on architecture, specifically its stock of glorious old buildings that now stand like monuments to a vanished economy of manufacturing might. But selling the portrait of that recovery, city officials and development leaders say, is complicated by history and myth and the deep divisions in Missouri politics, and to a certain extent by the even trickier terrain of sexual orientation.

    The city is an island of Democratic voters in a sea of increasingly conservative rural and suburban ones. It suffers from a reputation as a dangerous place, which tends to keep many outsiders from venturing in. And the recovery effort has partly been led by members of a group that is not popular in many parts of Missouri: gay men and lesbians who have renovated neighborhoods and opened new businesses in recent years.

    In August, voters across the state overwhelming voted yes on an amendment to the State Constitution banning same-sex marriage. St. Louis, in a lonely dissent, voted no.

    The ongoing pitch to the rest of Missouri is that St. Louis's diversity is exactly what makes the city exciting, said James A. Cloar, the president and chief executive of the Downtown St. Louis Partnership, a civic development group.

    "People outside the city have got to buy in," Mr. Cloar said.

    Many low-income residents outside downtown, meanwhile, will probably have to wait longer than the Kellys to see any benefit from the resurgence, advocates for the poor say.

    Along Washington Avenue, where loft redevelopment is concentrated, the sounds of hammers and saws filled the air on a recent afternoon. Three new businesses have opened on one block in just the last few weeks, including Washington Avenue Post, which combines a coffee bar, an Internet café and an office supply operation.

    A mile or two away in the city's mostly black North End, the scars of St. Louis's long fall seem unhealed, with block after block of sagging brick houses.

    The city's population, which was more than 850,000 in 1950, had fallen to 348,000 people by 2000, with many of those who left now living in the city's ring of suburbs. Unemployment is about 6.5 percent for the metropolitan area, but far higher in the North End, residents say.

    "If you truly create a new industry, there will be jobs," said the Rev. Bill Hutchison, a Jesuit priest and the founder of the Northside Community Center, a nonprofit group. "What's happening now is not designed to hit the low-income people. It's designed to hit the mobile, professional, upper-income class."

    But optimism can be an unpredictable thing, with consequences of its own, other people say. And there are hints that St. Louis might be regaining some of its old swagger.

    Asked whether the city might suffer if Missourians came to see St. Louis as too different in its politics or too accepting of diversity, one senior city official said the risk of opprobrium was really the other way around - that potential newcomers, drawn to a resurgent St. Louis, might not be so keen on the rest of the state.

    "I'm not so worried that they won't tolerate us," said Jeff Rainford, the chief of staff to Mayor Francis G. Slay, referring to Missouri residents outside the city. "I am a little afraid that the folks we want to come won't tolerate them."


    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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