Monday, June 24, 2013
The Disappearance of Intact Intersections in Downtown STL
How many fully intact urban intersections are there in Downtown St. Louis east of Tucker? By fully intact urban intersections, I mean all four corners are defined by a building that is built out to the corner (or close to it). This means no parking lots, no parking garages, no buildings set far off the street by a plaza, no driveways, etc. This definition of what makes an intersection fully intact and urban is admittedly subjective. While parking garages are found in urban settings, with the exception of ground floor uses other than cars, they don't contribute much to a thriving urban environment.
Looking at a map of the Central Business District, bound by Chestnut, 4th Street, Washington and Tucker, there are only 5 intact urban intersections.
Intersection 1: 9th & Washington bound by the Bankers Lofts, The former Lennox Hotel (most recently the Renaissance Suites), the Renaissance Grand Hotel and the Renaissance ballroom building.
Intersection 2: 8th & Olive, bound by the Laclede Gas Building, the soon to be renovated Arcade Building, the Old Post Office and the also soon to be renovated Chemical Building.
Intersection 3: Broadway & Olive, bound by the St. Louis Place building, Metropolitan Square, The currently empty but very attractive Lasalle Building and the Marquette Building.
Intersection 4: 8th & Pine, bound by the Wright Building portion of the Arcade, the Laclede Gas Building, the Wainwright Building annex, and the AT&T data building. The AT&T building is admittedly not the most urban building, but the corner includes a Metrolink station entrance and a small convenience store.
This intersection at 4th & St. Charles almost made the list, but the Gentys Landing building is fronted on the first floor by a covered drive.
The last on the list is 10th & Locust, which in its present state is perhaps the only intersection in the CBD with the potential to have active retail or restaurant uses on all four corners. If plans by Urban Street Group proceed as rumored (since no real plan has been made public), the former Noonan Kocian Art Company (later Fatted Calf) building and at the northeast corner of the intersection and the adjacent 4-story building at 919 Locust will be demolished and could be replaced with an entry drive for development in the former Scruggs annex near the middle of the block. This would bring the number of intact urban intersections in the CBD to four.
Not surprisingly with many surface parking lots, Downtown south of Market has none, and Laclede's Landing also has none. West of Tucker there are a few with 13th & washington being one of the best Downtown and one at 17th & Locust.