Wow, was November, 2018 exciting. The reporting on a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the area around the Forest Park/DeBaliviere Metro stop was just the late year jolt we needed to cement 2018 as one of the most memorable for quality development proposals and projects underway. I first read about this on NextSTL.
This one is fantastic on all fronts. TOD is a concept I’ve learned about from reading blogs like UrbanReviewSTL and NextSTL. It basically means building mixed use residential and retail around public transit with the goal of reducing dependency on cars. This kind of thing is organic in places like NYC and to a lesser extent Chicago and D.C. But not here. The Metrolink light rail system in St. Louis is more centered on sports arenas and the commuter experience, with many of our stops including surface parking for people driving in and using the train, especially the stops in the suburbs.
Forest Park/DeBaliviere is a critical stop. It is the crossroads of the red and blue lines. It is near the city’s greatest cultural institution, Forest Park. It is a nice place on the west side of St. Louis and close to the north/south dividing line of Delmar.
It is racially and economically diverse (Skinker-DeBaliviere was 50% white, 38% black, 9% Asian and 3% Hispanic/Latino in the 2010 Census). This is the ideal spot for TOD.
And boy what this project will bring. Surface parking lots and suburban strip malls and under-utilized drop off/turn-arounds replaced with….buildings. Building that will bring retail and homes and services for people. Things that will help make us a city and not a suburb.
This is our favorite new construction project on the list this year.
This has to be our priority in St. Louis. Taking dead, car-centric zones back and replacing it with city places.
I am thrilled.
Per the Metro blog:
If fully realize, they reported that the total investment will reach $70M.
Here’s what the areas look like today.
And here is a rendering of one of the buildings and the desired scene along DeBaliviere, the latter two were copied from the NextSTL article.
Wow, with this part of town looking like a city again, there is an opportunity for some other suburban mistakes along this stretch. Oh, and on a trolley line adding charm as well. Here’s an example of one such opportunity for improvement.
There are some handsome buildings at DeBaliviere and Pershing that will benefit from some urban buildings.
The strip mall on the west side of the street is almost fully occupied, so hopefully rents in the area will be in the same range after the new construction and these and other businesses can thrive.
If this goes through, these improvements will be among the best in the last 25 years.