Over the last decade Downtown St. Louis has seen $4.5 billion invested in a diverse range of projects including the new Busch Stadium, Lumiere Place and over 100 historic renovations. Mixed-use redevelopment has brought new life and vibrancy to the Washington Avenue Loft District and Old Post Office District. This vibrancy will continue to spread when the Mercantile Exchange District opens in a few years.
The creation of the new Memorial Drive and removal of the former Interstate 70 will eliminate the last obstacle to redevelopment along the riverfront. The momentum generated by the redevelopment of the Central Business District will then be free to expand eastward. This would complete the vision of St. Louis civic leader Luther Ely Smith, who over 75 years ago looked at the tired and worn 19th century riverfront and saw the opportunity for renewal. The new Memorial Drive will bring people back to the once bustling riverfront that spawned our now far-reaching metropolis.
Since the early 20th century, attempts have been made to revitalize the historic core of St. Louis. These attempts have included the demolition of aging historic riverfront buildings and the creation of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the first urban national park outside of Washington, D.C. Unfortunately these attempts were undermined by the passage of Interstate 70 through downtown St. Louis. During the 1960s, new developments across from the Arch were designed to face westward, turning their backs on the new national monument. Additionally, the barrier created by the interstate hampered development to the north and south of the Arch. Much of this property remains vacant over 40 years later.
The City to River proposal to remove the now aging highway infrastructure that divorced Downtown from the riverfront and to create a new pedestrian friendly boulevard is the key to attracting redevelopment of both vacant and underutilized properties surrounding the Arch. Additionally, properties that now face away from the Arch will have the opportunity to create new grand entrances fronting the boulevard and our beautiful national monument. According to a recent study conducted by Development Strategies, removal of the former Interstate 70 and its replacement with the new Memorial Drive creates up to 500,000 square feet of new developable land. This includes land facing the Arch as well as land adjacent to the boulevard reclaimed from highway right-of-way. The newly available property will support the creation of nearly $1.2 billion in additional real estate market value over the next 20-25 years. Such an opportunity for new development simply cannot happen with the existing configuration of I-70, nor would this need truly be met by the old lid proposal. The greatest potential for development lies in the areas along the elevated sections of I-70. This massive infusion of ideally located new development property presents the greatest opportunity for economic revival that St. Louis has seen in decades.
Below is a breakdown of the potential value of new development adjacent to the boulevard. These figures do not include the increase in value of properties more than a few blocks away, such as the Ballpark Village site, or existing buildings currently adjacent to the Arch.
|Chouteau’s Landing District||$133,000,000|
|Broadway and Spruce Lot developed||$126,000,000|
|New Parcels facing Memorial & the Arch||$69,000,000|
|Surface lots on Broadway near Convention Center||$21,000,000|
|New Parcels east of Jones Dome||$22,000,000|
|Laclede’s Landing Parcels @ Eads Bridge||$107,000,000|
|North Riverfront fronting Memorial||$136,000,000|
|Bottle District & off boulevard North Riverfront||$543,000,000|
|Total Real Estate Value||$1,156,000,000|