A look inside the Old Cathedral's renovation
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River is fully open to visitors once again.

The Basilica of St. Louis, better known as the Old Cathedral, never shut down during a multi-million dollar renovation that restored the church to its 1870s glory.

Thomas Hawk, Flickr, Creative Commons

In the second installment of the weekly ‘Behind the Headlines’ segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed three top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them. 

Here’s what we talked about:

Downtown restaurant closures

A rendering of the planned food stands in railroad cars and 200-foot-high Ferris wheel at Union Station.
Lodging Hospitality Management

The company that owns St. Louis' Union Station will begin work Feb. 1 on a major makeover of the historic railroad hub.

Wikimedia Commons

Downtown St. Louis has been characterized by myriad personae over the years. It’s a place where Native Americans arrived by canoe and built a grand mound city. It’s also a place that holds both great Victorian architecture and International Style skyscrapers.

The Shell Building
Chris Yunker | Flickr

The Shell Building downtown is defined by its curved walls and thickly spaced windows. Designer Jeremy Clagett says the architecture lightly mimics the shape of a shell pulled from the sea. He also said securing its preservation helps the city’s future as much as its past.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The World Series is over and the Cardinals will have to wait until next year to contend for another title.

But the Redbirds’ lack of championship success didn’t stop Joe Smart from venturing down to Ballpark Village this week to watch the Royals battle it out with the San Francisco Giants. Smart is hardly a newbie to Ballpark Village; he’s visited the entertainment complex 15 times.

So what keeps Smart coming back for more?

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Tom Schweich is taking aim at a gated Downtown St. Louis parking lot that he says should be open to the public. 

At issue is a parking lot at 1100 Washington Ave., in the heart of downtown’s bar and entertainment district. The lot is maintained by the Washington Avenue Transportation Development District (TDD), which relies on a 1-cent retail sales tax to maintain and cultivate transportation infrastructure around Washington Avenue.

(via Flickr/Heath Harris)

Calling it a decision based on the numbers, Left Bank Books has announced plans to close its downtown store at 10th and Olive streets. 

"We could not make the numbers work going forward," co-owner Kris Kleindienst said. "We tried really hard, our landlord tried really hard, and it just wouldn't work for our store."

She and co-owner Jarek Steele were evaluating the numbers "every day" since the store had opened in December 2008.   

(Flickr/Moyan Brenn)

By the time this post is published, people across St. Louis are reveling from having watched the first Cardinals’ home game of the season and are gearing up for a fabulous season.

I’m hoping that is the case because this week's rundown on economy and innovation isn’t all sunshine and flowers. Actually there could be flowers, but you’ll have to wait to read about that.

First, let’s talk entrepreneurship. 

Downtown Streets Add Old French Names to Street Signs

Feb 16, 2014

Visitors to downtown St. Louis will soon see different names - very old names - identifying downtown streets. Eight streets will receive new street signs featuring the roads' original French names in addition to their current English names.  

The signs were unveiled at a city hall event Saturday marking the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. 

(Flickr Creative Commons User Daniel Leininger)

Updated following the show.

St. Louis City leaders are counting on attracting new residents Downtown as part of an urban renaissance.  The area has seen recent population growth, but questions remain about the future of the area. Host Don Marsh posed those questions to our guests, including:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites -

You may not work in downtown St. Louis. You probably don't go there to shop. But as the Fourth of July festivities once again demonstrated, downtown remains our region's heart, geographically and emotionally. We all have a stake in its health.

The Railway Exchange Building downtown
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has a simple question to people trying to draw complicated conclusions from Macy’s impending departure from downtown St. Louis:

When was the last time you shopped there?

Zack Boyers
Proivded by Mr. Boyers

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Zack Boyers remembers when somebody could organize an 11-on-11 soccer game on Washington Avenue’s streets – and not have to move out of the way.

In an interview with the Beacon on the second floor of the Fashion Square Lofts, Boyers – the CEO of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. – said that “nothing was going on” in downtown residential development in 1997 when he arrived in St. Louis.

Downtown St. Louis looking east
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There’s little argument that downtown St. Louis has experienced a whirlwind of change in the past decade.

“If we want to compare downtown today to where it was 10 years ago, there’s no comparison,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “It’s far beyond almost anybody’s expectations in terms of the development, the investment, the number of new residents and the vibrancy that we’re seeing downtown.”

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 4:50 p.m. with comments from the treasurer.

Take some quarters with you if you're going downtown on Saturdays starting July 1.

St. Louis city treasurer Tishaura Jones announced today that the parking division, which she oversees, will begin enforcing expired meter violations on July 1. That means drivers will have to feed the meters between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Most children of the Midwest don’t get to experience soaring mountains. So, often, they have to make do with skyscrapers.

Chicago suburbanites like myself often encountered blasé surroundings growing up, with enough shopping centers and chain restaurants to create a sense of monotony. Going to downtown Chicago became something of an event, even if the only activities were taking pictures of the architecture or eating an opulent stuffed pizza.

St. Louis Union Station sold for $20 million

Sep 6, 2012
via Wikimedia Commons

The sale of downtown St. Louis’ historic Union Station is set to go through in mid-October.  The sale was first reported Wednesday by the St. Louis Business Journal.

The facility’s new owners, St. Louis-based Lodging Hospitality Management,  are hoping to succeed where a host of other developers have failed.

(via Flickr/lordsutch)

Drivers coming into St. Louis from Illinois are about to get some relief from a summer of traffic congestion.

At least one lane of the double-deck structure that takes Interstate 64 through downtown has been closed through the spring and summer as crews replaced the driving surface.  Crews from the Missouri Department of Transportation will start removing the concrete barriers from the westbound lanes of I-64 through downtown tonight. All of the lanes and ramps should be open by Friday morning.

(Tom Paule Photography, via Optimus Development)

On May 3, 1991, the musicians of the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra played the last notes of the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, to bring down the curtain at the Kiel Opera House. For 20 years, the massive structure at the corner of Market and 14th Streets sat vacant, as group after group proposed unsuccessful redevelopment plans.

Tomorrow night, the curtain will rise again as Jay Leno and Aretha Franklin headline the first show on the stage of the venue now known as the Peabody Opera House.

(via Flickr/The Cleveland Kid)

The city of St. Louis once again plans to use tax credits to keep the headquarters of a major company in downtown.

Legislation that will be introduced at the Board of Aldermen on Friday gives Ralcorp $20 million in tax credits to upgrade and expand its headquarters at 8th and Market.

(via Flickr/raleighwoman)

An "angry and frustrated" St. Louis mayor Francis Slay is responding to last weekend's rash of car break-ins with proposed new rules for the owners of downtown lots.

Vandals broke into at least 60 cars in the downtown St. Louis area Friday night, stealing purses and GPS units. Police say there were no attendants at some of the lots to report the crimes. And Slay wants that to stop.

Bike commuters have a new home in downtown St. Louis

Apr 20, 2011
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

The City of St. Louis has taken steps to become friendlier for bike commuters.

The new downtown St. Louis Bike Station opens on Thursday.  The project was funded through a $180,000 grant from the Department of Energy.

The project is currently administered through the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis but will eventually be handed off to Trailnet.

Maggie Campbell is the President of the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.  She says the site will offer a full range of services for bike commuters.