Late on Saturday, I checked up on how the residential development of the former railyards of the western Mill Creek valley was going. This is west of the historic African American neighborhood, but is the actual valley, where roundhouses and light industry, as well as massive switching yards once lay. The building that was under construction in the first photo in my post almost exactly a year ago is now complete.
I proceeded to the west and looked up at the massive understructure of the Target’s parking garage, which apparently will have a direct connection to the new Grand Boulevard Viaduct.
Below, you can see the building just start to poke up above street level seen from eastbound Chouteau Avenue. The crane is part of the construction site.
Below is the site of the canceled Iron Hill mixed use development. It was the site, at least the western half, of the old Fruin-Bambrick Quarry.
My vast network of anonymous sources and connections had already tipped me off to the TopGolf moving into the northwestern corner of Compton and Chouteau, so it was no surprise when the public announcement came out. What is my opinion? Well, I think TopGolf centers are incredibly ugly, but in fairness it is being built in an area of St. Louis that was never attractive. It was the ugly, but necessary industrial underbelly of St. Louis where the dirty, smoky railroads moved the goods and products that made the city so prosperous. No beautiful chateau was torn down to build TopGolf.
I have visited the one out in Chesterfield, and it was really crowded, bringing a large amount of commercial and sales taxes to that suburb. If the new one in St. Louis captures at least some of that revenue, then that is good enough for me. Remember, the City of St. Louis is starved for income, and there is only a finite amount to go around. And entertainment spending is finite: St. Louis has to “steal” it from other municipalities; this isn’t an after school special where there’s enough for everybody. So if TopGolf gets a few more firefighters hired, then it’s served its purpose.
Swinging around on Compton, wow, things have changed! The building that once faced Market Street, seen in the first photo of this post from July of 2019, has been obliterated. I liked the tractor with the double back tires.
I think the one thing I do have to say is that if this area is going to become this new hip and happening residential neighborhood then the infrastructure needs to be cleaned up a bit. It looks like a rundown, forgotten light industrial zone. Oh wait, that’s what it is for the most part.
And if there are no urban, direct ties with Grand Center to the north, what’s the point of all of this new development?
2 Comments Add yours
I agree. It’s strange that that area would seem more valuable to redevelop than some of the vacant, underutilized stretches of main thoroughfares in our city.
You would think there would be some attempt to link this new construction with the rest of Grand Blvd and City Foundry but it seems as though the developers think that the residents will be content ‘hanging out’ at the Target. BTW, that’s a lot of industrial sheet metal cladding. I think they’ve taken the history of the site a little too literally.