One More Walgreen’s Will Surely Complete Our City

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“A more discerning buyer” must be the new corporate speak for monied white folk.

And Koman plans to “seek input from neighborhood organizations about the design” well after the point of it making any difference. For as you know, the only thing Phyllis Young’s constituency cares about is making sure the exteriors are brick so it fits into what’s left of the original neighborhood.

56 thoughts on “One More Walgreen’s Will Surely Complete Our City

  1. I don’t think anyone wants to prevent a new grocery or pharmacy from opening. Design is difficult to discuss with words when a picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes.
    The transport sector that is west and south of this site, meaning Highway 44, 55, Truman Blvd etc. suggests that perhaps a parking lot should wrap around touching those areas, leaving the balance of the site for people orientated functions.
    In other words careful consideration should be given to the people orientated vs. the auto orientated aspects of the site.

    The U shaped plan offered by Gilded Age is exactly the opposite of what it should be. Parking, traffic flow and auto traffic should back up to the already existing transport media along the Highways.
    Thus you create an area for people, and one for cars.

    Thus is a simplification of the design process which might occur if engineers or architects were not simply trying to find favor and riches rather than challenge their clients for the best solutions.
    Design can enhance human existence, encompass human aspirations and inspire a quality of living that is not present now in St. Louis

    This is meant to illustrate a process, not a solution Instead it is a method of analysis. Furthermore, if you include the potential of mass transit, you see that Lafayette is a key street that should accept streetcars or special transit. It connects to Soulard Market and beyond the Market to an industrial area perfect for turnarounds and maintenance facilities.

    Mass transit should be understood in context; the energy crisis is real. It is a two prong problem, one of shortages and the other of global warming. Mass transit has to be in any future mix, even if only from a city building perspective. When serious energy concerns are introduced, the question becomes why is comprehensive mass transit not being looked at right now?

    Any discussion of alternative ideas must also include a discussion of leadership. Leadership has failed miserably. It is now a situation if leadership does not change, the people will change without them and leave them behind. It is as serious an issue as energy.

    What is proposed by Gilded Age may work for the time being. The future is the key. I remember the storefront row along Jefferson where the abandoned Foodland now stands. If those storefronts were saved in the seventies they would probably now be a vibrant commercial district enhancing the lives of everyone in Lafayette Square and in the surrounding region. Instead they were demolished and Foodland was built.

    Decisions are important No less on a project such as this, than on Blairmont on the Northside. What is the shape of the future city? What do the citizens want the city to be?

  2. Hey, low blow there with the dismissive “demographics” assumption! Unless you lobbied just as hard for an “urban” design for the Union/Natural Bridge Schnucks–in a neighborhood harboring approximately ZERO trendy caucasians or hip restaurants–somebody might be tempted to toss an allegation or two of that nature in your direction, as well. Which I’m not doing; I’m just haulin’ out the old “glass houses” adage for the benefit of all involved.

    If I was to make any assumptions about the shopping habits of the previous poster who lives in the Lafayette neighborhood, I would be assuming that he/she simply noticed that the nearest Schnucks is on Loughborough and the nearest Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are in Brentwood. And that particular Schnuck’s has a pretty well-mixed clientele, by the way, demographically speaking.

    I’m just sayin’.

  3. The only thing unrealistic is that you drive to Loughborough (or Brentwood!) to get your groceries. Demographics of the much closer stores are probably the reason and I automatically have an opinion of you because of that (whether justified or not).

    Asking for a slight modifications in the design isn’t unrealistic, nor should it be. As you said, we are not a walking city, and developments like this will only keep it that way.

  4. As it seems with every proposed development, it is all negative. I am stunned that people really believe a full service grocery store and Walgreens at the confluence of 44/55 and in the middle of Soulard/Lafayette Square/Lasalle Park/McKinley Heights is an overall negative because it will have a parking lot.

    St. Louis city is not a walking city. Only in the West End (maybe). I lived in Soulard for 8 years and have lived in Lafayette Square for 4. Having the local grocery store (Vincents) a block from my house was great, but I didn’t do all my shopping there. Living in Lafayette square, I either drive out to Brentwood or now to Loughborough (yes, drive!). If this gets done (despite these sorts of idiotic protests), I will probably drive to it. But I will drive 1/2 mile instead of 5. I will not get on (soon to be closed) HW 40. Having a real full service grocery store within a mile of all these now desireable neighborhoods is a GOOD THING. I really hope people are realistic about this.

  5. Since various Elements of Style have been addressed, I must add:
    “second-rate Rush song” is needlessly redundant 🙂

  6. Ok. Enough. Let’s focus on facts and less on assumptions about good planning and what other people are thinking.

    We want a good development in our city. That is why we are on this website, right? truce?

    Back to the Grind.

  7. It’s not that I didn’t know what I was talking about; it’s that I have standards regarding when and how to fight City Hall, and they differ from yours. No one on this forum bothered to mention that existing homes would be destroyed if the Georgian plan goes through as designed–and that, when I found out about it, became the tipping point for me. I was not willing to fight a battle based on aesthetics alone, but I am willing to fight a battle based on property rights. Simple as that. People learn things every day; it’s entirely possible there are things about the Georgian development even YOU don’t know yet. Jeez, I’m on your side now–will you NEVER be happy?

    But no, E, you don’t “win this one” until the Georgian development gets officially hooted down, because I am not the enemy, in case you forgot. But hey, if misguided gloating makes you happy, far be it from me to rain on your parade.

    Perhaps, however (if I may paraphrase), you should learn about spelling, grammar and punctuation before practiciing your rhetoric on ANY forum. When a publication runs a “letter to the editor” that’s riddled with errors anyone who graduated from junior high shouldn’t be making, it reflects poorly on the writer and, unfortunately, on the cause they’re representing. You can slap-fight me all you want, but you’re gonna have to tighten up your game if you’re going up against professionals.

  8. DJ SNOW SAYS “Up till now, I was under the impression that the proposed development was slated for the land across from City Hospital that’s already vacant. Now I’ve read that they’re wanting to run some local residents out with Eminent Domain tactics…”

    Ok. So it looks like your are actually trying to understand the subject. I told you that you didn’t know what you were talking about. I guess “I win this one”. Learn about the development project before you practice your rhetoric on this forum.

    Lastly, I had a few words for the ST. Louis business journal in a recent email. I found out that they will print my email, w/out my run on sentences I hope, as a letter-to-the-editor. Look for E in this friday’s journal, Snow.

  9. Up till now, I was under the impression that the proposed development was slated for the land across from City Hospital that’s already vacant. Now I’ve read that they’re wanting to run some local residents out with Eminent Domain tactics, and that is ALWAYS wrong. This gives opponents of the project the unimpeachable high ground in this debate.

    Urban-vs.-suburban aesthetics aren’t the hot-button mainstream media issue that eminent domain is, so proponents of a more urban-appropriate retail format on Lafayette now have a good deal more leverage to promote their concerns. Before, I was concerned that you wouldn’t be able to get enough important, influential people to see Gilded Age as the “bad guy,” and I was worried that you were fighting an unwinnable war.

    I believe it’s entirely possible that a media blitz predicated on the evils of eminent domain could raise enough awareness that another developer (or even Gilded Age) might actually show some interest in building the kind of store we’d rather see. (I’d still love to see the existing City Hospital outbuildings repurposed.)

    I still think it’s crucial that you choose your battles wisely and dress them in the right rhetoric to catch the right people’s ears. If we make this about eminent domain, I think we have a chance.

  10. First, I got a good laugh when Corner Store came on your show this morning, Snow. That was very appropriate for this debate.

    Second, it needs to be made clear that people wanting something different at this site are NOT saying these types of stores should go away and not be built. All we are asking is just a little thought into the design and not the standard suburban prototype. Koman (the developer) doesn’t have the neighborhood or future of the neighborhood in mind. He is only out to build the cheapest retail building he can. All we want is for each little project like this in the city to consider the urbanity of the surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that the future of our city isn’t that it will look like Manchester in Ballwin some day.

  11. Snow has it right…

    Where are the other developers willing to take a risk to build a new grocery store in the City? The local heavyweights – Schnucks, Dierbergs, and Straubs – have shown no interest in building a store in or near downtown.

    It’s great to complain… But who is willing to put up the money to even try this project?

    Ironically, the residents of Lafayette Square, Soulard, and Downtown have clamored for a Trader Joes. Trader Joes is an Aldi supermarket chain; City Market is a Supervalu supermarket chain. It seems that we are receiving what we wanted – a supermarket within walking distance. If you haven’t seen Trader Joes on Eager Road, Dierberg’s on Eager, Whole Foods on Brentwood, or Schnucks on Ladue, the common denominator is that they all have surface parking.

    When is St. Louis going to stop shooting itself in the foot? It is no wonder that Trader Joes and others haven’t located in the City. Who would want to put up with the drama?

  12. Thanks, matth, that honestly means a lot to me. But I still don’t think it’s in a retailer’s best interest to force people to walk to the store by not providing enough parking, know what I mean?

    btw, I am TOTALLY playing “Big Yellow Taxi” tomorrow.

  13. Actually, Snow, your show on 88.1 is probaby my favorite show on the radio, anywhere.

    I don’t understand, though, the long posts willing to allow this type of development. If there is a market for ANY type of retail store at the location, there can and should be willingness on the developer’s part to put forth a design that actually fits within the city. Saying we rely on cars and that is how it is doesn’t cut it. We have to rely on cars because developers build retail centers in that fashion, thus we HAVE to. If they are forced to alter their design just a little (and that doesn’t have to mean a more expensive development, but they will make you think that) on each little project throughout the city, not just this one, then we have a chance to become less dependent on automobiles. If something like this goes through, we have NO chance at having something urban on this site for many, many years, thus setting back the comeback of the neighborhood fully.

  14. E, I appreciate that your name is NOT in hypertext. In fact, it’s not even a name; it’s an obfuscatory alias…which is convenient if you’re going to resort to name-calling.

    I hope you’re not suggesting that readers of this blog are petty enough to hold my retail-design opinions against me as you’re directing their attention to my livelihood, which is in a field completely unrelated to the topic of discussion. Finding out Johnny was a Republican didn’t make me like the Ramones any less; I’m confident that no one will think I’m a bad disc jockey simply because I understand the reasons behind real-estate developers’ self-imposed limitations and I don’t demand that they take unnecessary financial risks at the whims of idealistic outsiders with no monetary stake in the project.

    In case you didn’t understand why I mentioned Sammy Hagar (it’s hard to tell, due to that admittedly non-fluffy run-on sentence), I’ll explain it to you. Whether you like Mr. Hagar’s music or not, I believe it is perfectly fair to describe it as simple, populist, unpretentious, and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It is also very, very popular in suburban St. Louis County. I was suggesting that Sammy is, in a way, the Strip Mall of Rock and Roll. If you don’t feel like googling Scott Walker, suffice it to say that he is prone to unusual flights of artistic fancy; his music is very much an acquired taste and, consequently, has very limited commercial appeal.

    Many of you keep saying the same thing over and over, and I get it: Strip Mall Ugly; Multi-Level New-Urbanist Chunklet Pretty. I agree, actually. And I also agree with the points raised by “gmichaud,” who is really saying something and saying it very well. If someone on this page gets to have a sit-down with the developers, I’d nominate Michaud.

    If the Georgian contingent is willing to spend the extra money, I’d LOVE to see something similar to the Boulevard in Brentwood go up on Lafayette. I don’t think these developers are too STUPID to want that; I honestly think it’s all about the expense, and that’s why I’m not getting my hopes up and I hate to see all of YOU getting your hopes up.

    I understand what you’re saying, but I haven’t seen any evidence that you understand what I’m saying.

    One more thing, lest anyone think “E” really zinged me by implying that my weekly two hours of volunteer work at KDHX don’t make any difference in the world. I provide needed exposure to struggling musicians working with record labels that can’t (or won’t) play the commercial-radio payola game, and I expose adventurous music fans to new sounds. I’m trying to do for talented independent musicians what the participants in this discussion are trying to do for intelligent urban design.

    Oh, and I’m doing it because I was asked to.

  15. This design is not good. It does not protect and enhance the continuity of the urban environment. Oddly enough, as pointed out by other posters, it makes the multimillion development across the street less desirable, since the same people are selling them; they are shooting themselves in the foot.

    Probably what should occur here is something more along the lines of how Kinko’s and the Bread Company were handled on South Grand. Although adding a second story to these buildings for offices or apartments would have made the environment more attractive.

    If a solution such as that were attempted, a few things would occur. First the Georgian Apartments across the street would view an urban environment instead of a large parking lot. In addition a walk to services across the street would be more desirable. All in all it would make the apartments a more attractive purchase.

    If mass transit ever really works again in St. Louis, which will be a necessity in the not so distant future, storefronts along the street will be more accessible to transit riders.

    The location of the front doors on these storefronts would have to be considered carefully, and then the type of public space behind he stores is also important, but with a little effort all of these problems can be worked out.

    This in turn would create continuity between the two historic districts of Soulard and Lafayette Square. A connection along Lafayette Avenue, still damaged by the Highway interchanges, but closer to becoming whole again.

    Now whether a client such as Walgreen’s would work with the developer is questionable. They seem to be most concerned about imposing their will on urban environments. Although I have seen cities as small as Tallinn Estonia force corporations to fit their urban plan rather than the other way around. St. Louis could demand the same consideration. In any case perhaps the commercial aspect is scaled down by removing Walgreen’s and instead another approach is taken to further urbanize the site.

    As far as any simplification of why large grocery stores evolved in the first place, the addition of government policy that favors auto centric development over urban style development is a major cause. Cities, (most notably outside the US) that have not been saddled with auto centric policies still have healthy small business communities that operate out of small storefronts. These coexist with larger scale groceries because of a comprehensive environmental approach that puts people on the street rather than in cars.

    Finally it is important to point out the failure of suburban development in the city up to the present time. Foodland up the street, St. Louis Marketplace on Manchester and the partially leased Southtown Centre on Kingshighway should indicate a need for care when site planning is undertaken. There are many reasons these sites have failed, but in all cases careless design is an underlying factor.

  16. Supersonic DJ, I think you like to hear yourself talk. Your fluffy posts disguise the fact you don’t know a damn thing. Stay on topic and quit rambling. You have WAY too many generalities in your argument (s).

    I don’t like to attack posters you mention Sammy Hagar in your post. It gives me a glimpse into your personality type. I’m forced to accept the fact intelligent people such as your self would reference Sammy Hagar when arguing about urban development! …Its not that I don’t like what you’re saying, as if it had worth, it’s that you come off as a prick asshole!

    I appreciate that your name is a hypertext. Now, your website is there, ready and able to receive the influx of potential fans. Maybe we’ll listen to you on the radio and think you really make a difference in this world.

  17. Yes, Anonymous, please do tell me the difference between “sub par suburban style design” and “quality design meant for urban areas.” Unless, of course, the former means “practical designs that have developed out of necessity over the last fifty years and have proven practical, yet bore me” and “cutting-edge, overpriced, and difficult to access–but really cool, like in the Queen Anne district of Seattle or someplace” because I think I’ve heard enough of that already.

    Be sure to also explain the difference between “ample parking” and “a sea of parking.” They’ll probably ask you that at the hearing. And, please, enumerate the “other alternatives” in detail, and how you could possibly make them more appealing to the developer. I’m not arguing for the sake of arguing: There’s either enough parking or there’s not, and I’m being pilloried for coming down on the side of “enough parking.” I can’t believe it.

    Necessity is the mother of high-density retail, and high-density retail is not necessary here. At the Georgian site, the developers have enough space to do things the traditional, more affordable way: One story all ’round, with surface parking. Developers taking a chance on an iffy location have no interest in experimenting with cheeky, unnecessarily cramped prototype shopping centers when they have room to do something they KNOW will work. Aesthetically, it doesn’t bother them one whit that they’re building Sammy Hagar Center while a bunch of armchair urban planners on some blog are clamoring for The Shoppes At Scott Walker.

    Please, let me tell you a little story.

    Years and years ago, before most or all of you were born, there was a small grocery store on practically every other corner. Local residents walked to their corner grocery and bought their goods in small batches. Because preservatives and large, modern refrigerators were not yet commonplace, they had to go shopping several times a week to keep fresh food in the house. They carried their goods home on foot because automobiles were not omnipresent and because, heck, they lived just a block or two away.

    With the advent of preservatives, modern refrigeration, and a car or two in every garage, customers could travel farther for their foodstuffs, buying more on each trip and making less frequent trips. Savvy grocers found that they could now build larger stores and stock a wider variety of products. Do you now see why the supermarket has evolved to its present incarnation? Do you see why it needs to hew as closely as possible to this format whenever the available space allows? Anybody? It’s SO SIMPLE, and there’s nothing evil about it. As for “greed,” well, developers are capitalists. Sorry to break it to ya, Pollyanna.

    The bottom line is this: Residents of the neighborhood, “more discerning” or not, need a convenient place to buy milk, bread, and diapers. Poll them, and see if they’d rather have it built quickly without a bunch of prissy pedants dictating unnecessary frills, or if they’d rather wait through a lengthy legal wrangle and maybe not have it built at all. So if they say they want bread, Marie, what are you going to tell them?

    Because you know, deep in your heart of hearts, that you are not going to get your Cutting-Edge Shopping Cube…not at this location, not at this time.

    Someday, a developer will see the need for a grocery store in a densely-packed urban neighborhood where space will ONLY allow an urban-style market of the type we’d all like to see in St. Louis. That’s when we’ll get one, and not until.

    I doubt you’ll convince ME otherwise, but in case you wind up arguing your case to anyone who might be able to make a difference, you might want to polish up a couple of your fuzzier points:

    Do you like to walk to the store, or not? Why can’t part of your hike be across a reasonably-sized parking lot?

    And, perhaps more importantly: Do you care about the needs of the low-income project dwellers in the neighborhood, or not? Because the harping over the phrase “more discerning buyer” sounds like you’re jumping up and down and pointing at inferred racism, yet it also appears that your prime concern is that any new retail development near Lafayette Square needs to offer more to the AIA/J than it does to welfare moms.

    If you don’t like what I’m saying, fine. I might be happier if I didn’t believe it myself, because (ask our host) I LIKE interesting, unusual buildings. I honestly don’t think you’re going to win this one, though I’ll be VERY pleasantly surprised if you do. If anything, consider this little exchange practice for when you have to argue your case to someone who can actually make a difference.

  18. seems to me that snow either:

    a) Just wants to argue for the sake of argueing


    b) Cannot grasp the difference between sub par suburban style design and quality design meant for urban areas.

    i don’t think there should not be ample parking, I just don’t want a sea of parking. There are other alternatives and that’s all.
    check out the thread on Mr. Snow if u still don’t understand our problems with this project because they are many. (many but with some simple design changes we could all be happy)

  19. What’s anti-environmentalist about allowing a company to build some much-needed infrastructure on a vacant lot in the shadow of an interstate cloverleaf? It’s not a rainforest; it’s a field of ugly weeds that’s not doing anyone any good in its present state.

    Maybe this debate could be streamlined a little if I presented a couple of things I believe to be true, and we can see if anyone really, honestly disagrees:

    1. Many (if not most) people drive some kind of mechanical conveyance to the grocery store, and will probably continue to do so for the next several decades at the very least.

    2. These people need a place to store their vehicles while they are inside the building shopping.

    Is anyone really, honestly willing to refute these two statements? If we all agree that they are indeed true, then this new grocery store needs a parking lot.

    I wish it could be underground, out of sight, because that would be cosmetically preferable. You might have a hard time finding a developer to do it this way, however, due to the added expense or even the potential dangers involved in having an underground parking garage in a neighborhood that’s had a lot of problems with crime.

    I was assuming that these factors had been taken into consideration by the developers and the projected tenants, but if you think they know less about their business than you do, go ahead and knock yourselves out trying to change their minds. The best you can do is postpone the project indefinitely (for which the locals will undoubtedly be appreciative– NOT), and the worst you can do is piss them off enough to abandon the whole deal and build something out in O’Fallon instead, where people aren’t so freakin’ anal-retentive about their amenities.

    For the record, I’ve always thought the best-case scenario would be a forward-thinking grocer like Whole Foods moving into one of the existing buildings on the City Hospital campus. But I haven’t seen any sign of something like that happening, so–as I’m a practical sort of guy–I’m willing to accept something that is not necessarily cutting-edge and merely sufficient for the community’s needs.

    You may say I’m not a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  20. Who said anything about banning cars or growing hemp? Once again you are trying to make people with legitimate concerns out to be nuts…people with environmental concerns must be crazy, right. Also, no one here is saying anything about a revolution, what most people are pointing to is that we don’t sell our city short, we believe that good development can happen, and that with the changes that the 21st century will bring, St. Louis could be at the forefront of modern development, not 1960’s development. We are already falling behind places such as Milwaukee, Kansas City, and San Antonio. If they can start to demand better developments within their city boundaries, then why can’t we?

  21. NOW we’re seeing some positive suggestions (“anonymous” on underground parking) and some good cautionary insights (“m” on the potential result of mixed-income patronage).

    M’s concern that the SuperValu will become a “ghetto” supermarket may be the exact reason that a developer would be unwilling to spend the extra money on multi-level parking: the whole project is something of a crapshoot in the first place. The demise of the nearby Aldi and Foodland stores SHOULD make a developer wary; building a new supermarket in this neighborhood at this time is kinda brave and maybe even a bit foolish. Why was an out-of-town firm with no previous experience in this region willing to take a risk on a site that Schnucks or Dierberg’s (who both know plenty about grocery marketing in St. Louis) wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole?

    As a longtime southsider (and, as such, an undesirable consumer in the eyes of some–sorry my money’s not green enough for ya, matt), I know a little about what happens when neighborhood residents raise a ruckus about proposed improvements on a vacant lot. I watched the notorious Kingshighway/Chippewa plot remain fallow for a decade because the old ladies in the area apparently wanted their “Famous & Barr” back and would accept nothing less. Now we have a suburban-style shopping center with several services we didn’t have before, but also a lot of empty storefronts–but I doubt that we can blame the latter on an overabundance of free parking. I’d hate to see another urban neighborhood denied vital services because a vocal minority demands that we either become Chicago or Manhattan right away, or magically vault thirty years into someone’s idea of the future. Yes, I AM afraid that if people get too picky about the design of their grocery store, the developers will–rather than capitulate–simply take their ball and go home.

    And to the individuals who wouldn’t want to look at the roof of a neighboring building from their window in the Georgian: How are you enjoying the CURRENT view (assuming you actually live there in the first place)? May I remind you, anything that gets erected across the street is gonna have to be pretty tall for y’all to not have to see its ugly-ass roof from the upper stories of the old City Hospital.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I DO care. I care, but I’m a pragmatist. (And, since someone seemed concerned, I DO walk a lot.) I’ve admired some really fantastic, small-footprint urban retail developments in other cities, and they were always birthed out of necessity, not speculation. I still think that the Georgian development, as designed, is appropriate for the plot…and the best part is, it’s adaptable! After the revolution, when cars are outlawed and we’re all living in a second-rate Rush song, that useless expanse of asphalt can be dug up, tilled and used as a hemp-farming commune.

  22. As far as Snow’s comments on the company letting the nearby projects residents shop there, I hope they do. But in the end, once the “undesirable” people start shopping there, people will label it yet another “ghetto” supermarket that they refuse to go to, just like many others in the city because they don’t like “others” in the same grocery store as them.

    Also, downtown already has a grocery store, and an urban one at that. THAT is the kind of grocery store people are expecting.

  23. Why not place the grocery store up against the sidewalk and put the large parking lot in back? It would be the best of both worlds, pleasant and walkable, yet with pleanty of parking. This model actually tends to be more profitable in the city than 60s style strip malls with the large parking out in front. This wouldn’t cost much more and would be more profitable and have a longer life span. If St. Louis ever wants to attract outsiders it will have to raise its standards and stop settling for grade D developments.

  24. Using the term “green” development is kind of funny because you are trying to label me in a negative way. Large segments of the planning community accepted these ideas years ago..they realized that car oriented development is not the future. I’m not saying cars shouldn’t be accounted for, but they will not be the primary consideration in the future. I am sorry to disturb your love affair with the car, but the writing is all over the place. I get the feeling that you have never really been a pedestrian. Walking several hundred feet (it’s more than fifty..quit kidding yourself) across an asphalt parking lot is not an experience that I would recommend to anyone . As a city we can either demand developments that will move us forward in time, or we can choose to accept what is easy. This development is a typical example of choosing what is easy and cheap. I feel sorry for the future generations that will have to fix this mistake….even though I think the general outrage over this plan, from most everyone who sees it, will prevent it from going forward. You see, people in this CITY really do care about it and want it to become something greater than what it is now. We are seeing this all over the city. People are starting to look past the ward politics and its petty parochial nonsense and they are starting to see the city as whole. It is as if we are finally growing up as a CITY.

  25. Wow, that makes me really want to buy one of the condos at the Georgian that they have been trying to sell for 4 years! I can’t wait to look out my window at a large slab of asphalt with 25 foot light poles blazing all night. Home sweet home!

  26. Mr. Snow,

    This is simple. This suburban design is crap. It has no place in any urban setting. So because we aren’t chicago, we should allow this type of development? You know, we aren’t chicago, we are st. louis and love this town. There is no reason that we can’t become “chicago like” on a smaller scale with smart urban planning.
    This is not an exurb like st. chuck or ofallon and we should demand more quality urban design in a crucial plot sandwiched between two wonderfully historic and urban neighborhoods. Take the south city target as an example. We need a design that is more walkable. A design where the buildings are near the street and where there is multi level parking. It the costs for building it this way make it less attractive to the developers than maybe they should consider a mixed use development. This design is garbage. Saying it is an urban design is insulting. If you don’t understand why, then maybe you should allow your urban design neighbors take the wheel on this one.

    This cannot get built like this. This WILL not get built like this!

  27. Just because an auto commuter from Clifton Heights thinks this is a good idea doesn’t mean it is so. I don’t want this crap in my neighborhood so that you can “drop by” in your car on your way home from downtown. That isn’t what neighborhood retail is about.

    I am appalled at this proposal.

  28. That’s some nice “green” thinking, but any developer who puts post-automobile-society theories into practice in the present day is just begging to go bankrupt; the foot-traffic-only snob just isn’t a profitable enough demographic to target at this point, I’m afraid. Anyway, why can’t someone walk to a grocery store that has a parking lot? If you’re okay with schlepping your groceries eight blocks on foot, what’s another 50 feet of asphalt?

    And don’t kid yourself. We are NOT moving toward a post-automobile culture, anyway. A post-fossil-fuel culture, maybe (hopefully!)…but people are ALWAYS gonna be piloting some sort of conveyance around to help them move their stuff, and they’re ALWAYS gonna need a place to park it.

    And, regarding the difference between St. Louis and Chicago, Mr. or Ms. “Come On?”: If you can convince me that MetroLink is in its present form as geographically-expansive or as widely-used as the El, the first punch is free. I’ll start thinking we might someday be comparable with Chicago when we have a Gap that’s not inside a mall.

    Anyway, I agree that we need change fast. But what we need NOW, like it or not, is ample parking. Any shopping district that tries to get by without it is going to quickly wind up a rotting, empty hulk. Surely that’s not what you want.

    Baby steps, people. Demanding a grocery store without a parking lot is like voting for Nader. It’s a nice little Utopian thought, but it’s not gonna get ANYBODY what they want or need.

  29. Huh. I don’t really think that it is really the Walgreen’s or the SuperValu that people are at odds with; it is the suburban design of this project. By the very logic of the comment above, most of the city is obsolete and should be leveled since it is not able to accommodate the “motor age”. The St. Louis is not Chicago argument is so fucking pathetic that I want to punch people every time I hear it. No we are not, but I don’t see any reason that we can’t dream to be like it…or at least to have developments that people in most others CITIES in this nation would expect. This is a lazy, make a quick buck development and our city officials don’t have the balls (or are afraid of not getting their kickbacks) to do the right thing for our city and move it into the 21st century. The 21st century is going to be very different than the 20th (if you haven’t read the news for the last year or so maybe you don’t realize that). The demographics of the city will be changing, our economy will be changing, the climate is changing, and the available energy supplies will be changing. All of these things point toward more urban walkable neighborhoods, and a shift away from automobile oriented planning. Our elected officials are just too lazy, too complacent, too greedy, too corrupt, too entrenched, and too ignorant to give a damn. We need change and we need it fast.

  30. Oh, my. Where to start?

    First, St. Louis is not Chicago, in many ways. No segment of downtown St. Louis has the population density to support a grocery store that caters only to foot traffic. A supermarket needs a parking lot, and this has been true since the automobile became America’s primary mode of transportation. If you want it to be 1920 again, don’t blame Gilded Age. Everyone was bitching that “downtown needs a supermarket,” and now it’s getting one. What kind of supermarket did y’all expect, anyway?

    This development’s location next to the convergence of two interstates (which have been negatively affecting the neighborhood’s “walkability” for most of our lifetimes, anyway) makes it convenient even to people who live outside the immediate neighborhood. (I live near Clifton Heights, and if I ever need a jug of milk on the way home from doing something downtown, the new SuperValu will be my easiest grocery stop.) The location is VERY savvy, and it’s as “sympathetic to the neighborhood” as a retail development can be in the automobile age. It’s replacing a vacant lot next to a cloverleaf, for God’s sake.

    And while I was as upset as anyone about Walgreens taking out two cool old southside bowling alleys when they already had plenty of coverage in that area, the Lafayette Square/Soulard neighborhood is admittedly underserved. In all the “real cities” we want St. Louis to be like, the downtown drugstores are chain stores like CVS and Walgreens. Can we work on catching up first, before having unrealistic dreams about loft-dwellers buying their corn plasters and headache powder at an independent mom-‘n’-pop pharmacy with a soda fountain and 20′ worth of metered, on-street parking and a closing time of 6 p.m.?

    And does anyone remember the supermarket on Jefferson that tried to serve Lafayette Square before the “discerning buyers” started creeping meekly back to the city proper? It went out of business. Interpret the phrase “discerning buyer” any way you want to, but it’s entirely possible that it’s simply code for “customer who doesn’t shoplift or cause the kind of disturbance that drives security costs high enough to affect the bottom line so severely that we can no longer conduct business profitably in this location.”

    A neighborhood long considered retail poison is being given another chance. Before looking this particular gift horse in the mouth, please consider the 75 (or more) years’ worth of socioeconomic fluctuations that shaped the neighborhood’s fortunes. In the big picture, this is a definite and undeniable uptick.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure SuperValu will allow the people who live in the nearby projects to shop in their nice new store too, whether they arrive by foot or in a Denali with a “symphony booster” sticker.

  31. This proposal is absurd. The developer’s attempt at integrating the project into the existing neighborhood is superficial at best. This project ignores the way in which Soulard functions, as a neighrbohood where residents and visitors walk, not drive.

    In Lincoln Park, a historic neighborhood in Chicago, Dominicks is located at the corner of Lincoln and Sheffield. The grocery store is integrated into a mixed-use, multi-story building within a walkable neighborhood like Soulard. Dominck’s of Lincoln Park is the most profitable grocery store in the chain.

    A big-box retail chain surrounded by asphalt would destroy a virbant, diverse neighrbohood. Have we not learned anything from urban renewal? Developers have a chance to reconnect the urban fabric and return coherency to the built enviorment. The Gilded Age has failed yet again.

    T. Vincent Haynes II

  32. A more discerning buyer… we have been joking (black humor) about the Paul McKee / Blairmont / Jeff City plan to bring a “preferred demographic” to the northside. Can’t believe they said it. I’ve started thinking of the new 3200 acre McKee development which will push a big chunk of the African-American vote out of the city as “WhiteHaven”.

  33. Please direct me to this intelligent master plan.

    All this time I’ve been avoiding the b. hill talk because I thought it was just rumors. I can’t believe that this suburban design may happen!

  34. Also —

    It just KILLS me to think there’s already an intelligent master plan for this site out there. All anybody has to do is follow it!!!

    Also also, SOULARD IS NOT DOWNTOWN. That one statement to me shows the inane misunderstanding of the urban environment they’re tearing down.

  35. What’s with that enormous swath of empty land east of Tucker (upper left corner)? Are they gonna bulldoze all those houses too?

    Or would showing them make it too Bobvious that this doesn’t fit into the neighorhood in any way, shape or form?

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