Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Ghosts of St. Louis Centre
During the final days of St. Louis Centre, back in 2005 or so, a handful of decent retailers managed to hang on and thrive as the mall continued its decline. Unfortunately, since St. Louis Centre closed, those tenants have been completely missing from downtown.
Shouldn’t the city have worked with those retailers – Walgreens, FootAction, T-Mobile, Sbarro, Chick-Fil-A, GNC and Payless Shoes – to find other locations downtown?
Just because there’s no mall, that doesn’t mean that these stores could not do well in any of the available street level retail spaces scattered throughout downtown. If anything, a street level location should provide a better opportunity for success than one in a dying, uninviting mall.
Heck, Walgreens and Payless did well with locations on the top floor of St. Louis Centre; despite roof leaks, broken escalators, dirt, grime, deferred maintenance and the myriad other problems that the mall suffered from, people still made the trek up to the fourth floor to shop there. Imagine how well those stores would do on Olive, Locust or Washington – revitalized areas that are much more conducive to shopping.
While these retailers may not be as exciting as say, IKEA, it would be nice to fill up some vacant retail spaces and add some additional tax revenue to the city’s coffers while giving downtown a little extra added vitality. While the rotting corpse of the mall itself remains an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, let’s at least get some of its old retailers back downtown.