The 2020 Vision Charts the Course
Downtown Next Report Card
The Downtown Next 2020 Vision established ambitious goals for Downtown St. Louis to accomplish from 2010 through 2020. The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis is committed to advocating for that vision and advancing the plan’s strategies through its staff, board, committees, partners and numerous Downtown stakeholders throughout the region. Since the plan’s release just two years ago, much progress has been made. In the past year, these achievements include:
Attracting Jobs: Building a Competitive Business Climate
The new entrepreneurship center in the Railway Exchange building has grown beyond initial projections and now houses 30+ start-ups, mentoring services, capital and financing options, and business services. The mix of affordable space, short term commitments, and a flexible and dynamic co-working environment is attracting start-ups from throughout the region and the US.
Growing the Residential Population
Downtown residential population grew another 4% in 2011, adding 500 residents and bringing total residential population to 13,500. In the past year, 369 new residential units opened while occupancy rates remained strong at 90%.
Creating an Inviting Environment
The funds are now in place for CityArchRiver 2015’s “park over the highway” that will provide a better Downtown connection to the Arch from Kiener Plaza through Luther Ely Smith park. Additional funds are being raised to fully fund the renovation of the Arch Grounds, the museum and access from Washington Avenue, Laclede’s Landing and Chouteau’s Landing.
Streetscape improvements are currently under construction on Tucker Blvd. north of Washington Ave. This new entrance into Downtown is being created by the New Mississippi River Bridge being built just north of Downtown. Streetscape improvements are also moving ahead on Washington Ave. east of 7th Street, providing a better connection to the riverfront and the Arch, and on 7th Street connecting Washington Avenue to Chestnut/Citygarden.
Making Downtown Accessible and Easy to Get Around
Successfully secured $200,000 in private funding in 2012 to fund a needed feasibility study for a hard track St. Louis Streetcar connecting Downtown to Grand Center and the Central West End
Consultants have been hired to study two projects that would improve accessibility. The first is a study of improving the north riverfront access and parking, while the second is a multi-modal study that is looking to improve access to the Arch Grounds and through the main corridors of Downtown.
The Downtown Trolley has expanded service to meet the needs of tourists, residents, and workers.
Bolstering Educational Resources
St. Louis University is bringing their Law School to Downtown in the fall of 2013. SLU is current redeveloping the building at 100 N. Tucker Boulevard to house 900 students and 300 faculty and staff.
St. Louis Language Immersion School is moving their French school Downtown and will open in the fall of 2012 at 1881 Pine St. The school will initially house over 300 students from kindergarten through 4th grade
Another effort to bring a first class elementary charter school to Downtown is gaining momentum and plans are progressing to open the school in the fall of 2013, providing our Downtown community another quality school choice.
Cultivating a Retail Critical Mass
The development of the Mercantile Exchange (MX) continues. Pi Pizzaria is the first retail piece to open, but will be followed this fall by MX Movies, Robust Wine Bar, Takaya Asian Restaurant, Snarf’s, and The Collective.
As part of the MX District, Macy’s Downtown renovated the store providing an important facelift and bringing the store in line with the size of suburban mall stores.
Filling retail space and bringing the arts Downtown, new galleries opened including the 10th Street Gallery and Phantom Gallery.
Emphasizing Downtown’s Unique Character
Reviving a St. Louis treasure, the Peabody Opera House reopened to rave reviews along with concerts, comedians, and Broadway shows.
The $79 Million restoration and renovation continues on Central Library of the St. Louis Public Library system. The library will re-open in the fall of 2012.
Building a Planning and Policy Framework
Adding to the efforts for sustainability, the new streetscape on Tucker Boulevard includes multiple rain gardens and better design to improve the pedestrian experience.
A grant was awarded to the Partnership to fund and manage a pilot program that will have over 15 restaurants on Washington Avenue participating in a new program to have all of their food waste composted rather than placed in trash receptacles.
Planning is underway to establish a level of standards for development and planning in Downtown. Reviewing best practices from around the country, the Partnership is working with the City to establish new standards that could begin to be established in the coming year.
Activating Downtown through Effective Programming
In the past year, new events were added and others expanded bringing more energy and entertainment Downtown. New events included the Rock n Roll Marathon, Run for the Chocolate, MayFest, Bike to My Lou, and the growth of Blues Week with their festival, moving to Gateway Mall on Memorial Day weekend.
DOWNTOWN NEXT VISION:
“A vibrant, regional hub offering an authentic Downtown experience for residents, employees and visitors.”
Downtown STL, Inc. is committed to realizing the Downtown Next vision and will advance strategies through its committee structure and work with the City of St. Louis to track the vision’s progress.
For more information, call 314-436-65000 or email.