Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old North St. Louis: the 14th Street Mall or Crown Square

I've been reading a lot about the opening of the 14th street pedestrian mall or as it's referred to now: Crown Square in the Old North St. Louis neighborhoodBuilt St. Louis has some great "before" pictures from this section of the neighborhood.
It's clear, the space had seen better days.  But today a major transformation has occurred.  Not only has 14th street been opened up to vehicular traffic, this is straight up one of the most handsome business corridors in the entire city.  The views of DT and the Arch are unmatched.  The buildings look fantastic, and I was beaming with pride as I walked around.  This is one of the greatest transformations in my time living in St. Louis.  Cheers to all involved on a top notch effort.  Take a look:

views from in front of Crown Candy Kitchen


new street signs, lights, bike racks, parking meters and planters/benches
landscaped path to parking lots
PARKING IN THE REAR!!! So the storefronts can shine!
WOW!!!!  Can I get an Amen St. Louis? 

The regional/tourist draw of Crown Candy Kitchen should not be underestimated.  People from all over the suburbs and metropolitan region come here, especially at lunchtime and weekends.  Tourists flock here as well.  Hopefully more tenants in Crown Square will bring more tourist/visitor dollars to the neighborhood. 

On the day of my visit, people were walking around peeking in windows and admiring the workmanship and feel of the area.  It's great to see.

Now keep in mind this is St. Louis...the naysayers are already out in full force....they say, I'll call this a success when and only when there are businesses occupying all the storefronts.  I see what they are saying and there is still many a negative element in the surrounding areas.  They will try to make their mark (some genius started a fire in one of the brand new trash receptacles):
But the guts and drive it takes to make a successful renovation on this scale is simply astounding.  If you let the naysayers have their way, it would never have gotten off the ground, nor would it have come to completion. 

I commend all those involved!  You make this city guy proud!!!!

Want to read more?  Here's some great content:

yahoo
St. Louis business journal
St. Louis beacon
Urban Review STL

2 comments:

STLgasm said...

Such an amazing transformation, and a model for organic urban development for the entire country.

I really wish some of the hanging signs were preserved. They added a lot of character to the district. Flat signs and uniform awnings are pretty bland without protruding, lighted signs in the mix.

Mark Groth said...

^ gasm, I 100% agree!