Update: I went back to the area to photograph Crunden-Martin in October of 2021.
I took a look around Chouteau’s Landing a couple of Saturdays ago, and I still marvel at the stunning buildings that fill the area. Particularly after looking at Dubuque’s revitalization of its former industrial core, I wonder why that rebirth can’t happen here.
My favorite bridge, the MacArthur, cuts through Chouteau’s Landing with its massive steel approaches, peacefully coexisting with buildings that weren’t torn down for its construction.
Or if need-be, the building was carefully “edited” in order to survive, and not completely destroyed. I don’t think that would be allowed today.
Then there are amazing buildings of the former Crunden-Martin complex, which are lightly occupied, completely abandoned, or in the case of one, gutted by fire.
I discovered, where the approaches to the Poplar Street Bridge are, there was an apartment building that apparently was built by Crunden Martin for its employees. It stood where I took this photograph.
I also spied a horse ready to go out for its day of work.
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Maybe environmental remediation issues exist that create extraordinary costs associated with redevelopment, or, it could be that owners simply over-value their properties and are unwilling to sell to prospective buyers.
Either way, I think the only answer to redevelopment is public-private partnership with detailed redevelopment plans, and obviously, a real property developer.
Good question, Sara. Just like the mills in Dubuque, Crunden-Martin was primarily a wood products manufacturer. But I know from personal experience that still means toxic clean-up of paints and some heavy metals. But a metropolitan region of 2.8 million people certainly should have the investment capital to do that.
There was a plan by the Chivvis Development Group before the Great Recession, but they collapsed like other developers did taking the plan with it. They also had other issues surrounding their plan that helped to sink it. There is another development plan for Chouteau’s Landing by the Apted Brothers that they announced late last year, but it’s been pretty silent since then. The infill is a little too modern for me, but at least they want to do something. Hopefully it doesn’t fall through like the last one. Here’s a link to an article on CityScene STL about it: https://www.cityscene-stl.com/post/chouteau-landing-plan
I think the problem is that everybody tries to development the whole thing at once. Multiple developers should each get a portion, not have one try and do the whole area all at once.
That’s a good idea, Chris!