Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I can't stop thinking about the new renderings of the Bottle District just north of the Edward Jones Dome. The planned district is designed by the well known starchitect Daniel Lebiskind, and are thoroughly modern on a scale St. Louis has never seen before. One of the three planned residential towers is even planned for 630', the same height as the Arch. Two images even say 650'. I have been waiting a long time for a building taller than the Arch, and didn't expect it in the Bottle District. This project, along with the new casinos on the Landing, Ballpark Village, and Chouteau's Lake are going to completely transform downtown in the next 5-10 years. I can't wait for all the suburbanites to come into downtown for the first time in 15 years and have there pants completely blown off. What an exciting time in St. Louis. For more pics go here.

Get a Clue People

Why are so many people around here so self-centered and, well, stupid? Two things today really bothered me enough to get me back posting on here again. (Sorry if you were checking for posts here, school started again, and I haven't had time.) First is the people collecting signatures for a vote to stop Metro from issueing more bonds to finance the Metrolink cost overruns. These are the same people that caused it to be so expensive in the first place by forcing the trains to run in a tunnel for a large portion of the cross county extension. They are plain and simply obstructionists that are against Metrolink and more importantly, regional cooperation. For a good summary of the whole situation, go here and read the post that the link takes you to.

The other thing that came up today is nimbyism over the height of Opus's planned 28 story condo tower for the corner of Lindell and Euclid. Read this article for some context. Here is my problem with the article-
The idea of having 28 stories could be revisited, but Opus is committed to a 25- to 30-story building, Krewson said.

“I am concerned by the height,” said John Berglund, a member of the Central West End Association’s Planning and Development Committee. It would be no problem closer to Kingshighway, but in this location it might crowd out the smaller-scale buildings of Euclid Avenue, he said.

The committee has not formally looked at any plans for the building yet, Berglund said. The group meets each month and the project was not on the agenda at its Sept. 10 meeting.

The committee has an advisory role only, and it attempts to influence the city’s Cultural Resources Board and the aldermen if it is unhappy with elements of a project, Berglund said.

“It makes our job much easier,” if a project has the backing of the neighborhood, he said. But “everyone has their own tastes and desires” and Opus would not submit to “design by committee,” he said.
This guy has no idea what he is talking about I don't get the issue with the height. First, 28 floors isn't really that tall. second, the Central West End is full of residential highrises, and they are often intermixed with smaller buildings. There is nothing wrong with varying height next to each other, and especially when there are so many tall structures in a definite row existing. And how can we put anymore highrises along Kingshighway, build them in the park? Not Rocket Science folks. Opus is a good company with high quality projects, let's not run them out of town over something so trivial. Is there anyone with a brain in this town? Here is a pic showing where the planned Lindell Condominiums will be. Not exactly in the middle of a field of one and two story structures. Thanks Arch City.Central West End

Go to this page at the Urban St. Louis Forums for some more context pics.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Can You Please Spare Some Change

From an entry on Mayor Slay's Blog dated August 21, 2005-

For the last year, the City’s Cultural Resources Office has repeatedly blocked the demolition of two wooden buildings in the Hyde Park Local Historic District. The buildings, at 4242 and 4244 N 19th Street, belong to the LRA because they were abandoned by their owners years ago. No one has expressed the slightest interest in them since LRA acquired them. They are very small – one story, one bedroom. They lack basements.

They have, though, some history. They were, according to the CRO, built in 1894 and 1896, a time when frame houses were more common in Hyde Park and in other City nabes. But, most of the other wooden structures from the period have been lost due to the relatively fragile nature of their construction. These two, though, remain.

They are, undoubtedly, eyesores. They are full of termites, which they are spreading throughout the block. They attract vagrants and worse. Their condition adversely affects the well maintained properties on the block. Both the neighbors and the alderman want them demolished. They have asked the Preservation Board to allow that to happen.

Unless someone with a checkbook and a viable plan shows up before the meeting, I suspect that demos will be authorized.

The Preservation Board will meet tomorrow, August 22nd, at the SLDC, 1015 Locust. The meeting starts at 4 pm.

While I have never seen the structures in question (other than an aerial on the city website), I believe they are worth restoring, simply for their uniqueness, nevermind their historical value. They are different, and that is what I like about them. The houses are from a different era than almost everything else in the city. Most old houses in the city are of solid brick construction, these are frame construction. But I also think cleaning up the vacant lots that I saw in the aerial would have a biggere effect on the property values than demolishing 2 houses. Demolition isn't always the answer. Too bad I don't have the money to step up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mixed Feelings in South City

Ahrens Demolition and Excavation recently started demolishing the formerly City owned Truman Restorative Center on Arsenal just east of Hampton. The site will be turned into a new subdivision of 36 single family homes, and 22 villas. I am certainly happy to see the investment in the area, and I welcome the new residents, but I can't help feeling that this could have been better.

First, The Truman Center was a cool building in it's own way. If it was in the middle of downtown, I don't know if I would care for it, but in it's context, I really like it. Why couldn't the large open areas of land around it be developed, and the current building be renovated for condos or apartments? I understand that may not be completely feasible, but why can't we at least have something a little better than a suburban development plopped down in the city.

This brings me to my second point. What is the obsession in St. Louis of putting brick fronts on otherwise completely siding houses. Who are developers trying to fool? The brick stands out like a sore thumb. Or is it the vinyl? I guess it's the whole mess of materials. Whatever it is, it should not be done. Image hosted by Photobucket.comOne material or the other. Vinyl can look good if it is covering the entire house, and the house has the correct architectural style. Likewise, brick should cover an entire house when it is used on the front. I curently split my time at work between a beautiful urban location on Grand by Carondolet Park and (shudder) Arnold. While the Arnold/Imperial area has some atrocious suburban abominations, I have noticed many new houses out there that are completely brick. If developers can do it in Arnold, why can't we build all brick houses in the city? The new homes will also have garages in the front with driveways. Hopefully the shrines to SUV's will not be used as the main architectural feature on the front of the houses.

I guess only time will tell how this development goes, but it's not a good start. Homes starting in the $290's should be nicer.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Hi, I'm Matt Fernandez. Welcome to my new companion project to I plan to use this blog to show how St. Louis is continuing to evolve, for better or worse. I plan to also use it to promote events in the city, spread good news about the city I love, and maybe sometimes just make a random post. This should be an interesting ride, mainly finding out if I continue to update this, so stick around.