Posts Tagged ‘Central West End’


North Sarah Redevelopment Moving Past Phase I

November 11, 2012

Phase I of the North Sarah Redevelopment celebrated its grand opening on October 16th.  This is a project that I have written about in the past, and the type of development that we definitely need more of in the City of St. Louis.

North Sarah and West Belle in November 2012

In the press release that followed the grand opening of Phase I, it was revealed that a grocery store would be one of the development’s retail tenants.

The community includes a mix of two and three-story buildings, plus almost 12,000 square feet of commercial, management and community space, which will include a small, locally-owned, fresh food grocery store.

The developers here also demonstrated an extremely encouraging understanding of the community’s 21st century needs.

Vincent R. Bennett, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar said, “Sustainability means a lot of things: reducing a building’s impact on the environment is just a piece of this.  The sustainable features at North Sarah also include creating healthy living environments for our residents by reducing toxins and ensuring sufficient air flow. The community is walkable and connected to transit, keeping non-drivers like seniors and the disabled from becoming isolated. And the fresh food grocery will provide healthy living choices that will sustain our residents in the long-term.”

While Phase I is still getting its finishing touches, work continues on Phase II.  This work is apparent on the west side of Sarah between C.D. Banks and Finney, and along Vandeventer between W. Belle and Finney.

North Sarah as seen on Google Maps

I was hoping that this phase would include at least one renovation.  Unfortunately the home pictured below has been demolished.  Several Homes North and West of Turner Park appear to be headed for demolition as well.

Alley Between W. Belle and C.D. Banks near Vandeventer

I truly hope that the urban character of the development is maintained as it expands into Phase II.  Although I have no idea what the next phase will be like (hopefully not like the new strip mall on Vandeventer between Finney and Cook), some clues can be gathered from the newly launched website for the development.  Check out the rendering’s redevelopment of Turner Park.

Turner Park at W. Belle and N. Sarah

I hope that the developers are working with the neighborhood’s existing residents on this.  It would be a shame to remake the park into something that nobody would use.  See my photos tracking this development’s construction here.


North Sarah Project is a Good Role Model

September 15, 2011

Construction on an exciting new development is underway in North St. Louis.  On the east side of North Sarah, between Belle and Cook, what was recently urban prairie is now being transformed by St. Louis based McCormack Baron Salazar Development.

North Sarah Redevelopment

The area in question here was once the Sarah-Finney Business district.  In Ain’t But a Place, Miles Davis reminisces about the area.

Luckily the area is going to have some business activity returned to it.  Unlike almost every new project that I have seen in North St. Louis, this one includes mixed uses: both residential and commercial spaces.

Homes under construction along Finney

The project also makes use of green technologies such as permeable pavement for the sidewalks.

Permeable Pavement

Building setbacks are pretty much non-existent on the buildings to contain commercial space, and quite small on the residential buildings.  Density appears to be relatively high, and parking looks like it will be hidden behind the residences, but also allowed on-street.  Each intersection has eight curb-cuts and well marked crosswalks.  The pedestrian experience has not been overlooked here.

New Commercial Space on North Sarah

Directly across Sarah from the southern half of the development is Turner Park, home to a softball field and playground.  Along the southern edge of development on Belle is an in-tact block of the kind of homes that make St. Louis what it is proud to be.

Belle Avenue

Sarah is a key connector to the north side, and activating this corridor is a great step toward inviting St. Louisans into the north half of their city.  With the success of the Gaslight Square redevelopment to the south and close proximity to everything in the city, I am extremely optimistic about this project.  Even without these advantages, however, the good urban planning involved makes this development a great asset to the city, and will hopefully set a good precedent for future ideas.

For more information about the project and the history of the area, please see the links below:

History of the Sarah Finney Business District

Comet Theater on Finney

NextStl Forum Topic

Construction Details

Flickr Photos


Vantage Points

April 5, 2011

In my exploration of St. Louis, I sometimes come across places which offer glimpses of other parts of the city.  Since most of St. Louis is relatively flat, these views are a real treat.  Those areas that are most likely to catch my eye are the more dense neighborhoods that include the Central West End, Midtown and Downtown.  This weekend, while exploring The Hill North of Interstate 44, I captured this view of the CWE:

CWE From the Hill

The fact that The Hill offers good views of other city neighborhoods seems obvious, but to me it’s a recent discovery.  Although this view is new, and the perspective is unique, my favorite views of the city are still those seen while driving down Highway 40.  Too bad it’s such a dangerous place to take photos.

Other Vantage Points:

Downtown from Dogtown

Above view is from Mitchell and Highland.

South St. Louis Riverfront

From Carondelet Coke’s Coal Loader.

Downtown from Cass Avenue Bridge Construction

And Finally a similar view to one that I used in my post on the Cass Avenue Bridge a week or so ago.


The Kingshighway Jog

February 17, 2010

Kingshighway is one of the city’s busiest streets, but up until less than 50 years ago, the road yielded to Forest Park instead of visa-versa.  Thanks to Gateway StreetsSunday Links last week, I was able to track down the year that the motorist won out over the city itself by looking at MODOT’s historical highway maps.  I found that 1964 is the first year in which “the jog” does not appear on the state highway map.  One more decision accelerating decline.  Originally, Kingshighway took a 90 degree turn to the East at what is now Hospital Drive and then made another 90 degree turn to the South at Euclid (formerly Lake or Lay).  This was due to the shape of the park!

Map of Forest Park - 1914

This area now has so much traffic concentrated into BJC, Wash-U Med, etc., but these are basically one big campus cut off from the rest of the city.  I just wonder what the area felt like before.  It must have been very different.

Kingshighway Jog

Maybe one day Forest Park will be restored to its original boundaries and Kingshighway restored to it’s original, more pedestrian friendly route.  We need to work with what our city already has to offer, even the sharp edges, instead of destroying it to remove minor inconveniences incurred from one particular perspective.