The View from Al’s Parking Lot


The North Riverfront area, a nebulous area bounded by Laclede’s Landing on the south and the river and I-70 bracketing the neighborhood on the east and west respectively, is notable for its 19th Century industrial landscape. It is also notable for hosting one of the most famous restaurants in St. Louis: Al’s. On a recent trip downtown, I photographed the mosaic of buildings that can be seen from the parking lot.

Aboveis a view looking into the sun unfortunately, of the Sligo Steel building, which I must admit, I have noticed before. Certainly it is not an actual foundry, but perhaps a distribution center. The new casino in the background will undoubtably have a great effect on the redevelopment of the area. The adaptive reuse of old industrial buildings is very popular now, and it would be interesting to see the area become a real residential neighborhood.

Update: Sligo Steel was torn down by the summer of 2015, if not much earlier.

To the northwest the setting sun shines on a warehouse, as seen below.

The gritty nature of the neighborhood is still present, as evidenced by the barbed wire in this picture below.

To the south, the Gateway Arch’s close proximity illustrates why this neighborhood could be a popular residential area in the future.

Below, the MLK bridge shines in the evening sun. The bridge is one of the best ways to come into the city; unlike the Poplar Street Bridge, which sits to the south of downtown, when you come across the MLK you feel like you’re driving into the heart of town. Plus, it’s a great way to bail out of the traffic mess that afflicts the interstates heading west into the city.

I quite frankly am worried that the North Riverfront will become an extension of Laclede’s Landing, which is a lukewarm example of historic preservation. The warehouses along the wharf are amazing, but too often they are filled with crumby bars and restaurants that cater mainly to tourists and white trash brawlers. Likewise, the Landing has WAY too much surface parking–so much in fact that most of the Landing is asphalt covered. Let’s hope the area north of the Landing relies more heavily on solid, resident based development.

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