North Tucker Boulevard has been more urban than it is today. Over the years buildings came down left and right to provide surface parking, mostly for workers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Much of the surface parking is owned by the paper but with hundreds fewer employees the same level of parking is no longer needed. It’s time to rethink north Tucker Blvd!
Below I’ve placed blue rectangles on the spots where new buildings could be constructed. The red are harder spots due to small size (Carr St) or a new useless plaza (south end).
The Carr St on the north to Convention Plaza (Delmar) on the south there are many opportunities to construct infill buildings. At the center is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
I can hear the naysayers now, “there’s no demand for new construction here” or “location, location, location.” The new Mississippi River Bridge opens in 2014 and then suddenly this will become a major entry into downtown St. Louis. Now’s the time to start planning so at least one building can be open by 2014. It may very well take 10-20 years to fill in as I’ve shown but this is the first step to getting to that goal.
Remember, 15 years ago naysayers said there was no demand for housing downtown — and they were right — sorta. Those who wanted a hip loft in a walkable downtown had no way as individuals to get what they wanted. A few were marketed but not enough were willing to take the risk — and it was a risk. Then Washington Ave went on a road diet going from 4 travel lanes to two, widening the sidewalks in the process. Through these efforts the area was reinvented and things began to take off.
Storefronts are still vacant but housing occupancy is on par with other areas. The area of North Tucker Blvd I’m talking about is just a few blocks north of Washington Ave. The new Tucker streetscape is being finished now. It includes provisions for on-street parking in this area so ground-level retail is an option.
Lee Enterprises, owner of the Post-Dispatch, should be talking with developers now. They might get a new parking garage behind new buildings facing Tucker — I’d want the city to prohibit/strongly discourage a parking garage facing Tucker but facing 13th would be ok.
In the block opposite the Post-Dispatch new buildings on each side of 911 N. Tucker should be respectful without copying. Modern would be fine with me, just not a six-story mirrored box.
The opportunity for a “signature” building is on the NW corner of Tucker Blvd. & Cole St.
Cole Street has a very wide right-of-way east of Tucker, giving the opportunity for high visibility for pedestrians and motorists heading west on Cole. This is also an opportunity to look at Cole and how to encourage more pedestrians to use Cole to connect parts of downtown and the housing to the north.
Perhaps a CVS or Walgreen’s would locate in the ground floor of one of these buildings on Tucker? New construction in this area could be exciting, much more so than Ballpark Village.
– Steve Patterson