1999
St. Louis, Missouri

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Sustainability
Urbanism
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Saint Louis Downtown Plan

The Downtown Now! Development Action Plan provided the tools needed for Downtown St. Louis to capitalize on its center city role, not only as the premier office location in the region, but also as a retail, entertainment, housing, institutional, and cultural hub. During planning, team members met with more than 1,200 citizens representing a wide range of groups to get their input and feedback. This outreach resulted in a plan that truly reflects the wishes and hopes of the St. Louis community. The plan was a collaboration between the Downtown Saint Louis Partnership, the Regional Commerce and Growth Association, Saint Louis 2004, the St. Louis Development Corporation, and the City of St. Louis. The physical framework, transportation and urban design plans, target markets, and specific implementation actions directed redevelopment efforts concentrated on specific districts and a series of programs that had the greatest immediate impact on the downtown area. The plan has brought over $4 billion of public and private investment. Today, new residences and offices are popular and growing, while the redeveloped Washington Avenue, Ballpark Village, Old Post Office, and Central Library are among the most popular destinations in the region.

The redevelopment goals for the Downtown Core include:

  • Increasing the number of residents Downtown to obtain the critical mass needed for a vibrant and synergistic environment.
  • Interweaving residences, stores, work environments, public/institutional, and cultural venues throughout the Downtown into a true mixed use community.
  • Defining new parks and plazas that interconnect to the entire Downtown Open Space system through a system of pedestrian streets.
  • Improving Downtown streets to create a strategic pedestrian and bicycle network, increase usability by all modes of travel, and provide a cohesive image for the public network of Downtown.
  • Providing a human scaled environment.
  • Ensuring that the new Mississippi River Bridge is a catalyst for economic development in the region and the City of St. Louis.

The Action Plan proposes a comprehensive program of physical improvements to the street and open space environments to counter these impressions. Key components of the Plan include:

  • Long-term streetscape improvements to all streets within the Downtown Core, including an intensive tree planting program on the city streets.
  • Significant improvements to the Gateway Mall to realize the extraordinary civic potential of what is one of the most remarkable landscape investments in any city.
  • A vigorous intervention is proposed in the Old Post Office District, to reverse the current situation of dereliction and vacancy.• New residential districts.
  • A series of new open spaces and trails.
  • Covering of the depressed lanes of I-70 that currently separates the Gateway Mall and the Arch Grounds with a landscaped deck.
  • A major parking construction program to support the new development.

Plan focus areas are:

  • Washington Avenue Loft District
  • Old Post Office District
  • Laclede’s Landing/Riverside District
  • Gateway Mall and Arch Grounds District
  • Street for People Program

These focus areas were selected for initial redevelopment emphasis because:

  • They are visible, well-trafficked areas where significant improvements will be seen and appreciated by Downtown workers, residents, and visitors.
  • Each contains strong existing assets on which redevelopment activities can build.
  • Each offers the best opportunities to create market driven and market rate products in the first phase of revitalization.
  • Each offers significant potential for new and improved business, retail, and/or residential uses.
  • Given existing conditions in these Districts, any significant improvement will demonstrate that Downtown can successfully move in new directions and achieve dramatic, positive change.
  • The overall Streets and Streetscape program ensures access to these focus areas and contributes to an overall revamped image of Downtown as a pedestrian-friendly, inviting place to visit, live, and work.

 

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