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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the place for us to show everyone how Saint Louis is back and is once again a jewel in the midwest.

Moderators please sticky this thread just like you did the Indianapolis and Milwaukee ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't have time right now, but maybe later, or we have like a hundred Saint Louis forumers here, they can probably fill this thread in nicely until I return.
 

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The City
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THE MIDWEST
Mixed reviews for St. Louis `lifestyle' developments

By Eric Heisler
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Knight Ridder/Tribune
Published December 5, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- They're heralded for creative design. Cheered by critics of sprawl. And applauded by backers of inner-ring suburb redevelopment.

Projects that mix retail, housing and offices, such as the new $250 million Boulevard-St. Louis, have become the darlings of the development community in recent years.

But these highly praised projects have been slow to catch on in many places, including the St. Louis area. In fact, when Crate & Barrel opened last month as the first tenant at Boulevard-St. Louis in Richmond Heights, the metro area had its first major project of this type.

So, what's the deep, dark secret that's holding these projects back? Developers say they're complicated, risky and often less profitable than strip shopping centers.

"I love urban mixed-use development," said Don Wood, chief executive of Federal Realty Trust, a real estate developer based in Rockville, Md. "The thing is, these are very large projects, they're very complicated and there're so many things that can go wrong."

Acquiring land can be thorny, and securing financing is tough. Construction can be expensive and problematic.

Federal Realty dealt a blow in 2002 to mixed-used supporters by scaling back its once-aggressive pursuit of these projects. Still, they're often an effective way to build in an affluent, densely populated area, Wood says.

Boulevard-St. Louis will take shape in three phases on one of the most prominent pieces of ground in the St. Louis area, just across Brentwood Boulevard from the St. Louis Galleria.

Over the last decade, mixed-use projects like this have risen mostly on the East and West coasts. A form of New Urbanism, they try to recreate the feel of older communities, such as the Central West End, where apartments sit atop stores with offices next door.

"I think these projects are popular because they symbolize getting back to our roots," said Richard Moore, an analyst who follows real estate companies for KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland. "You have so many apartment dwellers who want to be in the thick of things, with retail right outside their door."

Along with Crate & Barrel, the 20-acre project features other retailers, restaurants such as Maggiano's Little Italy, and hundreds of condos and apartment units. Subsequent phases will add office towers. All the pieces will be tied together around a town-square area.

Robert Sherwood, a managing director of the developer, Pace Properties, said the project will attract commuters who've tired of relying on their cars and want to live in a more pedestrian-friendly community.

And when such projects are designed properly and built in the right spot, they can be appealing to developers, too, said Maureen McAvey, the former director of the St. Louis Development Corp.

"When mixed-use works well, it works extremely well," said McAvey, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington. "It commands higher rents and will retain more value than a single-use building."

This carrot has led to a growing interest locally in these types of projects. In downtown Kirkwood, for example, MLP Investments is putting the finishing touches on a development that mixes restaurants, service-oriented retail, apartments and townhouses.

But rising popularity doesn't make building a mixed-use project easier.

For starters, the planning process can be a nightmare for developers. Boulevard-St. Louis required years of negotiations with Richmond Heights. To pave the way, special zoning codes were written.

Construction costs tend to add up, too. At Boulevard-St. Louis, an 8-inch slab of concrete was built atop the ceiling of the first-floor shops to ensure that renters would have quiet time.

Sherwood also worries that adding more than 100 apartment units could be risky in a relatively soft rental market.

"It may be wonderful time to build a Crate & Barrel, but if there's an apartment glut in St. Louis, you might not make any money," Moore said.

What also makes these projects tough is that they take so long to plan and build, making it nearly impossible to hit the market at the right time, said Wood, with Federal Realty.

His company found that out the hard way when it built the $500 million Santana Row in San Jose, Calif.

It took seven years to build, stretching over the recent recession and soft recovery.

As a result, the project struggled through a tough leasing market.

Even today, Federal Realty's return on Santana Row is a mere 5 percent annually in an industry where 10 percent to 12 percent is the norm, Moore said. In response, Federal Realty has scaled back its pursuit of mixed-use projects.

The company's new strategy is to refocus on building centers anchored by groceries and drugstores. Federal Realty will do mixed-use projects only when it can partner with other developers to spread the risk as well as when state and local governments are willing to help with public-funding.

To assist with Boulevard-St. Louis, Pace Properties will get up to $35.9 million in tax increment financing from Richmond Heights.

"Based on my limited experience, I'm going to tell you that I don't think developers will do these projects on their own," said Michael Schoedel, the city manager of Clayton.

He was involved with planning for Boulevard-St. Louis when he held the same job in Richmond Heights. "It's got to be a public-private partnership."

Schoedel said Richmond Heights was adamant that the site be mixed-use in nature, a key to the development of Boulevard-St. Louis.
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^It still doesn't make sense. People are trying to build pseudo-urban communities, but since when did that include living next to Crate & Barrel and Maggiano's Little Italy? True urban communities have community centers, libraries, cafe's, grocery stores--the meat and potatoes stuff--as opposed to living upstairs from a shopping mall
 

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The Jive is Alive.
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^I agree, but it's still not bad for a suburban development. The Boulevard-Saint Louis is in Richmond Heights, not the city. Suburbs of all cities have this kind of thing these days.
 

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Who's living in lofts?
By Marianna Riley
Of the Post-Dispatch
12/04/2004


Signs on some of the most derelict buildings along Washington Avenue downtown proclaim the change: "Lofts Coming." Block after block, there are new lofts, lofts under construction and lofts that have just sold.

Since 1999, more than 1,000 new units have opened downtown in what is known as the loft district - buildings along and near Washington Avenue. More than 600 new units are under construction, and almost 1,000 more are expected in each of the next two years.

As fast as they can build the lofts, developers and builders say, customers ranging from 20-somethings to empty nesters to retirees are flocking downtown instead of to the suburbs.

By definition, a loft means a space with few interior walls, often carved from an old industrial or office building. The few walls that are incorporated are often at only partial height or sometimes made of translucent plastic hung from wires so high ceilings can be seen from all perspectives. Mechanical and electrical systems are exposed to emphasize the industrial look.

But loft is also a marketing term, says Matt O'Leary, vice president for commercial development at Pyramid Construction Co., one of the big loft developers downtown.

"Everyone defines it a little differently," he said. "There are 'new lofts' being built in the suburbs. It's really all in the eye of the beholder."

Lofts can be sold as condos or rented as apartments. The Downtown St. Louis Partnership says almost half of the new lofts have been for sale - in a variety of prices.

Depending on the size and the amenities, lofts range from about $120,000 to $700,000, with the average costing around $225,000. The rents range from just over $400 to nearly $2,000.

Who's living in lofts?

Matt LaMartina, 26, said that he'd had his fill of suburban life and wanted to try loft living. He's lived in the Terra Cotta Lofts in the 1500 block of Locust Street for a year and a half; his girlfriend, Polly Bathe, 25, moved in with him last summer.

"How many people can look out their building and see a bus on top of a building?" LaMartina asks, pointing to the roof of the City Museum.

"We can watch people dancing in Windows on Washington, and in nice weather we can open the windows and hear the music and people laughing," said LaMartina, a pharmaceuticals salesman.

The couple are part of one of the largest demographic groups moving into downtown lofts. The Downtown St. Louis Partnership surveyed 278 loft residents in October. It shows that more than 25 percent of loft dwellers are between 21 and 29. More than a quarter moved to lofts from St. Louis County; nearly 40 percent moved downtown from elsewhere in the city. About 17 percent of downtown loft residents moved from outside the St. Louis region.

The people putting the lofts together - builders and developers - think huge growth lies ahead.

John Steffen of Pyramid is building 103 lofts in the old Sporting News Building at 2020 Washington. Nearly 80 of the units in the biggest downtown loft project already are occupied, a pace that is a full year ahead of what Steffen said he had expected.

"We closed in November of 2002, and we got a loan to do repairs and make a display," he said. "There was to be a marketing period during which we needed to sell 40 percent of the units. We had 65 sales before anyone even stepped into our display.

"That tells you something about the demand."

Such momentum feeds on itself, says O'Leary, of Pyramid.

"When you first get started, there's only a limited number of people willing to take the plunge," he said. "But as you add people and amenities, you incrementally increase the size of the market."

Tax breaks help boost the market, too. LaMartina got a 10-year tax abatement when he bought his loft. Instead of paying $150 or $250 a month into an escrow account for property taxes, here he pays $18.87 monthly.

"I love seeing that on my mortgage bill," he said.

He was the 20th person to move into his 99-unit building, which now is full. In less than two years, he's watched the area evolve from clusters of late-night clubs drawing suburban visitors to an area of more restaurants and stores catering to downtown residents.

Bathe likes living with such diverse neighbors.

"We have people in their 20s, 60s and 70s," she said. "We have empty-nesters, young professionals and young families. I love seeing the baby in the stroller."

While the suburbs traditionally were viewed as true neighborhoods, Doug King said he finds more sense of community living in his Paristyle Loft in the 1500 block of Washington.

"It's a very human atmosphere," said King, president of the St. Louis Science Center. "We get to know our neighbors better in this walking landscape. It's a much better way to know people than driving a car through a suburban neighborhood."

King, his wife, Stacy, and daughter, Sarah, 19, and their three dogs are planning to leave their two-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot loft. They are working on plans for a four-bedroom, 4,200-square-foot unit in the same building.

Not for everyone

Loft living helped Dr. Dan Wintermantel make a transition after his divorce. The dentist, 55, enjoyed being a big brother or father figure to many of his younger neighbors in the Merchandise Mart lofts.

"I'd recommend it to anybody who is starting a new life," he said.

After a year, though, he returned to the suburbs and bought a house in Glendale. The long commute and his children living in Chesterfield helped convince him to return to the suburbs.

While Wintermantel said he liked the energy and lifestyle of city living, there were drawbacks. His teenage daughter was fearful about leaving her car on the street when she came downtown. Some residents acknowledge that city living makes them face grittier problems than those visible in the suburbs.

But Kevin Ament welcomed the wake-up moments.

"When I moved here, I was a suburbanite and I was uncomfortable when I was first approached by a homeless person," said Ament, who recently rented his loft and moved to Shrewsbury where his new wife owns a home.

Ament decided to deal with such issues head-on: He took part in security walks, got involved with the now-defunct St. Louis homeless task force and helped begin a program for making sandwiches for clients of St. Patrick Center.

"You don't face this type of conversation out in the suburbs, but that's one of the reasons people come to the city - to get involved," he said.

Skeptical families


Many loft-dwellers say they got mixed reactions when they told their families - parents or children - of their plans to move downtown.

LaMartina's parents were among the doubters.

"They were worried about crime and were concerned for our safety," he said. "But the more they visited, the more their perception started changing. Now they love to come down, then walk to the Rams or Cards game or watch the fireworks from the rooftop deck."

Stella and Read Larson shocked their children by selling their home in Eureka Springs, Ark., and moving to a loft in downtown St. Louis.

"Our children still aren't sure we aren't crazy, but they love to come hang out here," Stella Larson said.

Stella, 76, and Read, 79, are artists who came to their craft in middle age. They say being around younger people helps keep them young.

"I've lived here for two years and I'm in better health than I ever was," she said. "I feel like I've been revived."

The Larsons are taking computer classes, visiting the library and walking more than they did before.

Like the Larsons, Mary Ann and Randy Heil made a clean break from their 120-acre farm in St. Clair to their new loft in St. Louis. They sold the farm, got rid of all their home furnishings and family antiques, and moved their tool and die business to a site on North Broadway. Both Heils often walk to work.

Their condo is furnished in a simple, contemporary look.

"If it doesn't have a purpose, I don't have it," said Mary Ann Heil, 55.

She rarely cooks anymore; she and her husband, 57, dine out frequently. She's lost 14 pounds since they moved a year and a half ago.

"I think I eat more balanced meals and not all those gravies, biscuits and pies," she said.

Farming on a big scale is over, but Heil still takes care of the potted plants at the Terra Cotta Lofts entrance and on the rooftop deck.

The Larsons and Heils are part of the empty-nest demographic in downtown lofts. Although the biggest demographic is the 21-29 age group (35 percent), an additional 23 percent are over 50 - according to data compiled by the Downtown St. Louis Partnership. Men outnumber women by almost 20 percent, and the vast majority of loft residents have college degrees. One third have postgraduate degrees.

Developer Kevin McGowan said that about 40 percent of his sales have been to empty-nesters.

"This has surprised all the developers," he said. "It's incredible to us."

The same thing is happening in other cities. Newsweek reported in October that the population of 64- to 75-year-olds in downtown Chicago grew by 17 percent during the last decade. Cities such as New Orleans and Los Angeles also have seen increases in older people living downtown.

The survey also found that close to 40 percent of the loft-dwellers work downtown. That means it's not just short commutes bringing people to lofts.

"I think the biggest reason to buy here is to be part of a community, interacting with people," LaMartina said. "Living in suburbia, you don't really get to know your neighbors. . . . You park in your garage and go straight into your kitchen, and you never see anybody.

"Today, I pulled into the garage about the time three other people did. We made our way into our building together and we talked about our day, what's going on in our lives."


Reporter Marianna Riley
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 314-340-8121
 

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Responce to improving St. Louis

Readers respond to our call for ideas on improving St. Louis' cultural scene
By Diane Toroian Keaggy
Of the Post-Dispatch
12/12/2004
Story continues below ad
Call it tough love.

Readers pulled no punches in their analysis of St. Louis' arts and entertainment scene, calling out some of the region's best-known institutions as cultural underachievers. They want more action downtown, a livelier Laclede's Landing and a revamped Union Station with more to do and less to pay in parking fees. And why, oh, why can't St. Louis host a proper aquarium?

Their letters - all in response to the Nov. 21 A&E article, "On the road to a better St. Louis" - were not nasty or negative (clearly, those folks spend little time on talk radio), but hopeful and supportive. They appreciate the raw potential here and want to see it developed.

Doris Chiste of Edwardsville spoke for many readers when she wrote, "St. Louis has come a long way, and I'm sure none of us wants to destroy the wonderful image it has received."

The region's No. 1 underachiever in the mind's of many readers is the St. Louis riverfront. They wish Laclede's Landing offered more than bars and gambling. They want to see more events like River Splash on the Mississippi. And they miss the Admiral of yesteryear. That's not a surprise given our devotion to the past. But the truth is those excursions offered tourists and locals an adventure no other boat has duplicated. They've heard all the talk about riverfront improvements but are tired of waiting.

"For years, the St. Louis community has been going to do something about the east side of the riverfront and connecting the Arch with downtown with a lid over the depressed lanes of I-70," writes Richard Ontiveros Jr. of St. Charles. "Too often, we complete a project and think the job is done."

Readers also echoed our call for improvements at Union Station, KETC (Channel 9) and the St. Louis Art Museum. Officials at those organizations should take heart that residents here desperately want them to succeed. But they should also know their institutions, more than any others, were cited as underachievers by readers. Catherine Guelker of Affton wants KETC to stop airing repeats. Susan Taylor thinks an ice rink would attract new visitors to Union Station. And Greg Gibson of Overland says the St. Louis Art Museum needs to reach out more to non-aficionados.

Another popular source of discontent - this newspaper. Reader June Mueller of St. Louis says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch fails to cover the city's rich blues tradition, while A. Dennis Sparger of Belleville says the paper needs to spill more ink on the region's small theaters and music groups.

Our story also gave a thumbs-up to a long list of overachievers - people and places that surpass expectations. Readers added to this list. The Magic House, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the St. Louis Zoo, Tower Grove Park and the Compton Heights Concert Band were among some of the organizations singled out by readers.


Union Station


Why not put a skating rink under the shed in Union Station? Like Rockefeller Center, it would attract lots of people to skate or just watch. There could be kiosks alongside the rink selling hot cocoa or roasted chestnuts, and the surrounding restaurants would draw huge crowds. Every year, lighting the rink's Christmas tree could be a major event, and during the summer, the pond could be refilled or the rink could be de-iced for roller skaters and bladders. Patrons would be mostly local, which would stabilize attendance and would flow easily between skating activities and Union Station's shopping and dining venues.

- Susan Taylor, St. Louis

This sounds like sour grapes, but I think it just makes common sense: If the train station had been left in Union Station, there would be traffic going through the mall every day and travelers would have a lovely place to disembark.

- Mary Rice, Florissant

Aquarium


I have traveled extensively within the United States and have always wondered why a city like St. Louis, located on a living, vibrant river, does not have a first-class aquarium. Can you imagine if such a facility were available and sited within the Forest Park complex of Zoo-Science Center-Planetarium! Why, every child in the metro area will certainly visit at least once (especially if there are water acts with friendly dolphins and seals). And think of the opportunity to educate those young minds to the great need for humanity to live in harmony with nature. The attendant exhibit hall and smaller aquaria could have rotating displays emphasizing the importance of manufacturing and farming in the Midwest to the rapidly expanding "dead zone" at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

- Dan Shipley, Marthasville


St. Louis is large enough to have a really nice public aquarium. There have been a few proposed aquariums in the past, but nothing was ever built. Why not? The one thing we have is the little aquarium that used to be on Hanley Road, but that is more like a circus sideshow than anything else. Moving to the City Museum didn't help much, even though the City Museum is pretty cool on its own. It isn't anything that a tourist would go out of his or her way to visit, and it is sort of embarrassing to say that is all our city can provide.

- Roger James, Town and Country

St. Louis City Hall


One of the most neglected cultural icons in the area is St. Louis City Hall. The building's architecture is certainly of interest, but more important, the blackened, grimy facade serves now as a symbolic reminder of the deterioration of a once-proud city. Visitors are shocked when they first see it. The movers and shakers of the region should "clean up City Hall."

- Karen Johnson, Town and Country

St. Louis Science Center


What St. Louis needs is an earth-science museum - not just place full of gadgets. The Science Center has everything needed to put together such a display: fossils, minerals, shells, artifacts, stuffed animals, yet none of them is on display. If we want of children to take an interest in science, we have to introduce them to the earth sciences at an early age.

- Roseann Scotti, Fenton

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Our area is already bursting with people who excel at singing, playing, dancing, acting and painting. There is no shortage of concerts, plays, exhibits, etc. capable or reaching and inspiring listeners and viewers. But before an artistic moment can touch its audience, every organization needs a medium to "communicate" its message and attract those who would choose to benefit. This is where the Post lets down the community it purports to serve. The Post could choose to be a leader in this area while it is still needed. What's needed are (1) an increase in arts staff, (2) a return to providing feature articles on a regular basis about the many arts organizations and (3) a serious reduction in advertising rates for nonprofit arts groups.

- A. Dennis Sparger, Belleville

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra


One big under-performer is the St. Louis Symphony. Why must it spend so much time playing to the same patrons at Powell Hall and not expand into the community more? It's a dinosaur culture. They are killing classical music because they won't adapt to a changing audience base. How about doing a classical-music festival in Forest Park to mirror the Shakespeare Festival? Take their act on the road to different venues like the St. Charles Family Arena.

- Sandy Harrington, Crestwood

Fox Theatre


Some of the best theatres in St. Louis are, in fact, the smallest: Tin Ceiling in South City, the Belleville Center of Arts and the New Jewish Theatre - you could easily transfer an audience from each of these companies into the equally ambitious Art Loft on Washington Avenue, all on the same night, with plenty of room to spare. They are all, you might say, built more for psychological speed than comfort. Then there is the gargantuan Fox Theatre, lovingly restored by the late Leon Strauss and his surviving wife, Mary. It's so huge (and comfortingly lavish) that only overinflated musicals can draw the crowds needed to pay the bills. And many of them aren't worth the trip. The Fox hardens our arteries with overweight productions like "Beauty and the Beast," "Mamma Mia" and the infamous "Starlight Express." Even a certifiable hit like "The Producers" seems to stalk like a zombie across the Fox stage. An unkillably fey production of "A Christmas Carol" from a Nebraska touring company, a deadly stopover by "The Music Man" and another morbid trip down Memory Lane with the Rockettes are further examples of psychological comfort food - welcomed only by the truly desolate, but no recipe at all for a healthy cultural life. In brief, one goes to the Fox to be seen rather than to be entertained. The box is more fun than the gift inside.

- Richard Green, St. Louis

St. Louis Jewish Book Festival


One cultural event that has let me down is the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, sponsored by the Jewish Community Center. The annual book festival brings many prominent authors to St. Louis to talk about their books, but the festival has missed a major opportunity to highlight, promote, educate, inform and sell (yes, sell) the vast number of books written by Jewish authors or books with Jewish themes, content or subject. For example, the Houston Book Fair orders approximately 5,000-6,000 titles, thus giving the Jewish and general community the availability of a great resource. The JCC, on the other hand, generally only orders books by the presenting authors. It is truly unfortunate that the JCC has deprived St. Louisans of this vast collection of knowledge, research and pure pleasure they could be receiving by featuring so few books when they could be providing an outstanding and needed service.

- Rosalyn Borg, University City

Laclede's Landing


Laclede's Landing should be more family friendly, not just a place for bars and nightclubs. Open up better restaurants, new stores and keep some of the local pubs. Make the Landing some place to hang out on a Sunday afternoon, not just a place to go clubbing.

- Paul Smith
 

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Pyramid Construction adds another chapter to Mercantile Library's tale
By Martin Van Der Werf

The Mercantile Library has been charting the booms and busts of St. Louis business since 1846. But since the library moved out in 1997, the building that once housed it has seen mostly busts.

Now, Pyramid Construction Co., which is rehabbing several other downtown buildings, has the complex at Broadway and Locust streets under contract.

Pyramid officials did not return calls seeking comment.

The structure once was seven buildings. All the interior walls have been knocked out, creating one building totaling 270,000 square feet.

Pyramid has been one of the leading redevelopers of old warehouse buildings into loft apartments. But the Mercantile and its adjoining structure, known as the Boatmen's Trust building, have not drawn a lot of interest, real estate experts said.

"If it was a no-brainer to do lofts, I think someone would have snapped it up by now," said Andrew Sheir, leasing director for Jones Lang Lasalle, which brokered the deal. The selling price was not disclosed.

The building could accommodate a variety of uses, including retail, offices, housing or a hotel, Sheir said.

The Mercantile Library is the oldest circulating library still in existence west of the Mississippi River. It is known for its collections recounting the history of St. Louis. When the library relocated to the University of Missouri at St. Louis, the school took control of the building.

NationsBank bought it for $1.2 million in 1998. The building later was acquired by American Milling L.P., a barge business that was investing in downtown real estate.

A California partnership, Fowler Flanagan Technology, next bought the building and stripped the interior to create a "telecom hotel," suites of offices for emerging Internet-based companies. But the idea barely got off the ground before the Internet economy imploded.

The building fell into foreclosure and into the hands of a partnership controlled by Lehman Brothers, the New York financial firm that held the mortgage. That partnership sold the building to Pyramid.


'

Here is what the building used to look like before reclading.
 

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Central West End will be home of new biotech building
By Eric Heisler
Of the Post-Dispatch
12/17/2004
Story continues below adNonprofit group already
has two tenants for
facility at Boyle and
Forest Park avenues.





A Central West End lot that once housed an underwear factory and a shoe plant is about to become the site of a $36 million biotech building.

Cortex, a St. Louis nonprofit group, broke ground on the building Thursday. While Cortex and others dream of a day when St. Louis is a well-established biotech hub, they say a key obstacle now is the lack of specialized buildings for such firms.

That's where the new building at Boyle and Forest Park avenues comes in. By the end of next year, early-stage biotech companies will find a home there, paying lower rents and enjoying proximity to two major research universities, Cortex officials said.

"The goal is that many years from now, when you drive through this area, you'll see many biotech buildings, scores of biotech firms and thousands of new, relatively high-paying jobs," said John Dubinsky, president of Cortex.

The site forecasts what might be St. Louis' future, but it also is an important link to its past.

Over the last two weeks, workers have torn down the empty red-brick warehouse at the site, which was vacated by Markwort Sporting Goods earlier this year. That company occupied the building beginning in the late 1950s, but recently moved to Fenton after selling the building to Cortex.

Before that, the building was a factory for the Moore Shoe Co., and then a plant for the National Underwear Co. Portions of the site also were used in the early 20th century as a dealership for Studebaker Corp. of America and other carmakers.

"You have a site here that was originally used for what were two of St. Louis' major industries - shoes and automobiles," said Lewis Levey, president of real estate development for Cortex. "Now, in 2005, we're coming back and putting it to use for biotech, which we hope will be a part of our future."

Cortex already has lined up two tenants: Stereotaxis Inc. and Washington University Medical School. The rest should be leased by the time the building opens late next year, Dubinsky said.

Cortex is a partnership of Washington University, St. Louis University, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, the University of Missouri at St. Louis and Missouri Botanical Garden. The group's goal is to promote biotech development in St. Louis.

The area, like countless others throughout the country, has identified biotechnology as a sector it wants to draw.

To allow for formation of such companies, independent groups have built two incubators for fledgling firms - the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise in Creve Coeur and the Center for Emerging Technologies in the Central West End.

But that's created a new problem: Where do companies go from there?

Stereotaxis, for example, is currently in the Center for Emerging Technologies. But the growing company, the area's first life sciences firm to go public, is about to enter a new stage.

Unlike in other regions, where the biotech sector is more mature, St. Louis-area developers haven't built speculative buildings to accommodate this type of company, Dubinsky said.

"The private sector here has just not chosen to meet that need," he said. "I think it's just a matter of timing. The commercialization of biotech is much more advanced in those other communities."

The 170,000-square-foot, three-story building is being built by Clayco Construction Co.
 

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Roof Top waterpark

Has anyone heard anything about the new rooftop waterpark at the city museum?

If so its going to be a great addition to the loft district.
 

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Cory
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Every friggin' city in the country is billing its self as a "Biotch" center!
 

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The Jive is Alive.
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This is great news on so many levels. It can no longer be denied that our city is amidst a renaissance. I believe that Saint Louis is and will be the true Comeback City of 2005. You really have to see what's happening to believe it. It is not the same city it was even 5 or 10 years ago.

The only sick and twisted aspect of this progress can be summed up in this quote by Jim Cloar, head of the Downtown St. Louis Partnership:

"As I look out my window, it's going to be exciting to see the site being cleared and construction begin on the parking garage to serve the Old Post Office..."

It's exciting to see a historic building (the Century) being demolished for a parking garage?? This guy is running our downtown development agency??? FIRE HIS ASS.
 
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