Downtown | St. Louis Public Radio

Downtown

 Downtown STL is in the process of upgrading the street lights throughout 360 square blocks in downtown St. Louis.
Downtown STL

The streets of downtown St. Louis are looking brighter — and more energy efficient — thanks to technology developed by Hazelwood-based Labyrinth Technologies. The local company developed a custom lighting solution as part of a $4 million Downtown STL Inc. project to brand downtown and improve public safety. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske learned more about Downtown STL’s process of upgrading the streetlights throughout 360 square blocks. Once completed, the project will have made St. Louis one of the largest smart cities in the U.S., second only to San Diego, according to Downtown STL.

Joining the discussion were Downtown STL CEO Missy Kelley and the father-and-son team that helped develop the smart technology: Ted Stegeman, CEO of Labyrinth Technologies, and his 23-year-old son, John, the company’s chief technology officer. 

CEO of Downtown St. Louis Inc. Missy Kelley joined Friday's talk show to discuss new developments in the city.
Lara Hamdan| St. Louis Public Radio

With Wednesday night’s win, the St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2014. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Missy Kelley, the CEO of Downtown St. Louis Inc., about the economic boost the Cardinals’ success is providing to the St. Louis area. They also talked about Ballpark Village’s new high-end housing options, and Kelley shared her top picks for businesses that have opened downtown in recent years.

Officials and dignitaries used ceremonial shovels to symbolically break ground on the second phase of Ballpark Village on Dec. 14, 2016.
Holly Edgell | St. Louis Public Radio

The second phase of Ballpark Village got underway Thursday, and, at the heart of it all, will be a luxury apartment building. The St. Louis Cardinals and development partner, the Cordish Companies, are betting that people will pay top dollar to live at One Cardinal Way, at the corner of Clark Avenue and South Broadway.

A nearby office tower will be the first Class A office building constructed in downtown St. Louis since Metropolitan Square opened in 1989. At the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III announced that PriceWaterhouseCoopers will be the lead tenant. 

Renovations have given Kiener Plaza a more open and greener look. May 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louisans will get their first peek at Kiener Plaza’s lush new gardens, splash pad and colorful playground when the downtown park reopens at noon Friday.

The bronze statue of The Runner is back and selfie-ready, with a new fountain and LED lighting that can change colors to mark holidays and special events, like Cardinals-playoff red and Stanley Cup-blue.

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.

2 St. Louis buildings nominated to National Historic Register

Mar 24, 2015
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. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 22, 2013: T-REx has its own building on Washington Avenue downtown, a move that could help the fast-growing business incubator raise more money and further its mission.

T-REx – which is jointly sponsored by St. Louis, the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber – announced today that it has purchased the Lammert Building, located at 911 Washington Ave. According to a press release, the business incubator plans to begin renovations soon with the goal of moving in early next year.

(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:

Editor’s Weekly: Keeping St. Louis' heart healthy

Jul 12, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 12, 2013: 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.

300 pixels only
Provided by Mr. Schlichter

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 8, 2013: St. Louis attorney Jerry Schlichter recalls a time when the building that became the Renaissance Grand Hotel was a lot less grand. In the 1990s, he said, the building had broken windows and vegetation growing on the roof. It was common, he said, for people to light fires inside. Plans to renovate came and went over the years, with little success.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2013 - 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?

"Whatever void there might be — and I would contend that it’s not that big of a void — it’s more of lost memories, of something in past," Slay said. "If you look around the country, downtown department stores just aren’t surviving. The retail industry is changing dramatically."

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?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 24, 2013 - 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.

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
© Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap

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, May 23, 2013: 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.

The lobby of the Stifel Theatre, shown in June 2011.
File photo | Provided | Tom Paule Photography

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.

Pages