Thursday, September 17, 2009

Arcade Building vs. St. Louis Centre

Two buildings enter; one building leaves...

Which building would you rather see renovated first: the Arcade Building or St. Louis Centre?

Let's take a look at both, and what their redevelopment would mean for downtown.

The Arcade Building - The last remaining building to be redeveloped in the newly-reinvigorated Old Post Office Square (I'm assuming The Alexa is still going to proceed at some point). The historic two-story shopping arcade could lure upscale retail, boutiques, etc. Residential units would provide even more customers for the Culinaria and other retailers, as well as more users for Old Post Office Plaza. Add office space to the mix, and you have a building that would add life to the surrounding area seven days a week.

St. Louis Centre - A major eyesore directly across from the convention center. Renovating this building would go a long way toward improving the perceptions of the thousands of tourists and conventioneers who visit St. Louis every year. The first floor is large enough to accomodate the large, national retailers that downtown has lacked for years now. A redeveloped St. Louis Centre will also make the nearby Mercantile Library Complex much more attractive for rehab.

Hmmm...

In its current condition, the contrast between the Arcade and the adjacent Paul Brown Building is very stark - completely dead to the east; thriving and bustling to the west. A renovated Arcade Building would be absolutely amazing to see and would cement the Old Post Office District as one of liveliest spots downtown.

Right now, The Laurel (the redevelopment of the former Dillard's department store attached to St. Louis Centre) is moving forward, which will eliminate one of St. Louis Centre's unsightly skywalks. This could potentially encourage the redevelopment the leasing of vacant space in buildings such as 555 and 501 Washington. If all of this were to happen, the void currently created by St. Louis Centre becomes much less noticeable.

I definitely want to see both buildings renovated, but the Arcade is the one I'd like to see renovated first.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree that a renovated Arcade should be a top priotiry for downtown redevelopment. Rather then focusing on residental condo development the Arcade should be redeveloped into office space. The old post office distric has plenty of residental already however the area needs more balance by having a large anchor commerical tenant.

Chris said...

Do you mean dead to the east, and bustling to the west?

Jennifer said...

I'll disagree and vote for the Dillard's building - that skywalk has to go! Also, the Dillard's building sits right on top of the MetroLink station and renovations to the building opens up the possibility of developing an adjacent transit plaza, which is sorely needed downtown. (Of course, I'm biased pro-transit!)

There's also been talk for some time of making 7th Street through to Kiener Plaza the new focus of pedestrian-scale refurbishing in the downtown area, to make a nice walkable corridor bringing people over to Washington. That would stimulate a lot more changes than just the rehab of the Arcade Building.

Brian said...

Good catch, Chris - that's what I meant to say.

Anonymous said...

I would have to say Arcade. Maybe because I live in the OP, but it is a prime location especially being the first thing that people see when coming up from the Metrolink station at 8th and Pine. I walk by there everyday and I can't tell you how many times I have seen people come up the escalator and look straight up at the Arcade building. This is the 1st thing that tourist coming in on the train see when they arrive downtown. How welcoming would it be to have great retail and an upscale restaurant as the 1st thing they see. It would round out what has become the premier district in downtown.

Although, I put it ahead by just a little bit. Linking Wash Ave. to the 4th St. Broadway corridor (which is quickly developing as well) would be huge. By the way, a full service CVS will be opening at 4th and Locust.

Anonymous said...

noobs

Anonymous said...

I agree that a renovated Arcade should be a top priotiry for downtown redevelopment. Rather then focusing on residental condo development the Arcade should be redeveloped into office space.(you ppl r noobs)Although, I put it ahead by just a little bit. Linking Wash Ave. to the 4th St. Broadway corridor (which is quickly developing as well) would be huge. By the way, a full service CVS will be opening at 4th and Locust.