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Central West End Mid-Century Modern

Alderman Kennedy on the AAA Building

by Hon. Terry Kennedy

The AAA Building/ Photograph by Michaela Burwell-Taylor.

Alderman Terry Kennedy represents the 18th Ward that includes the AAA Building. Today he sent this statement.

I just want to correct some erroneous reporting recently made in the media. I do not support the demolition of the AAA building in the 18th ward located at Lindell near Vandeventer. Several news stories have reported this without ever speaking to me. I told CVS representatives, who are interested in establishing a store at this locations, that they must meet with our neighborhood association(s) close to this location, present their plans and receive their support before I can support the project. There are many aspects of the CVS proposal that I have concerns with but I am willing to be guided by the thoughts and ideas of the majority of our association members on this issue.

I have been willing to do those things that are consistent with already established planning for this portion of Lindell. This included the change of zoning of the Enterprise Leasing Office from “C” multi family to “H” commercial to be consistent with the other parcels owned by AAA and the other parcels on Lindell. This zoning change proposal was recommended by the City Planning Office and is also recommended in the Mayor’s Strategic Land Use Plan created over four years ago which I supported.

I welcome the interest CVS has in our area and think that there are benefits to having one of their stores in our community. However, before this can happen CVS must meet our residents vision for the area and address our concerns. Until then, I am open to discussing their ideas, giving advice and am willing to work with them where I can.

4 replies on “Alderman Kennedy on the AAA Building”

I fail to see why CVS would need/want to tear down a building that they could easily (and uniquely) move right into.  Why do all of their buildings have to be disposable structures that could never be reused?  It would be great to be a shareholder of CVS and ask this question of the board.  “Why are you willing to waste money tearing down buildings just to build another one in its place when you could have saved the company money by using the building that existed already?  You must see some advantage to selling our company’s products 2 years from now instead of next month.”

Alderman
Kennedy, congratulations for letting the public know your thoughts about the
subject of the AAA building. Other alder(wo)man should follow your example.


Here is an analysis that looks at the situation.
The AAA site is important for the city as a whole. Lindell turns into
Olive downtown is only a block or two away from various metrolink stations
downtown and at the other end where Lindell stops at Washington U. there is a
metrolink stop a block away there and at Debalivere street near the history
museum. This stop will also be used by the trolley going to the U. City loop.
Metrolink goes to Clayton and beyond

Thus
Lindell is an important transit corridor; perhaps one of the most important in
the city. If we focus our analysis on the area between Grand and Kingshighway
on Lindell we see that at the Kingshighway end there are high rises and high
density, then the important Catholic Basicala and Rosati Kain High School and
at Grand and before is St. Louis University.

Because
of the density, at both ends, a balanced, walking, bicycling, and transit
environment should be created in this area. The Catholic Archdiocese should
have a keen interest connecting its main basicala and administrative center
with St. Louis University.

When
you then include Grand Art Center at one end and the Euclid shopping district
at the other end, with Barnes hospital as an anchor to the south, it is clear
this area is ripe for the connectivity of various movement systems. This could
mean many things, dedicated lanes for buses, dedicated lanes for bicycles,
rickshaws and alternate forms of transit, express buses that only run to main
stops to move people quicker through the area.

The
character of the area has to be determined by what is built. CVS, with a
massive parking lot surrounding it (like the usually empty Gravois and Chippewa
lot) not only discourages alternative transit, including walking in the end is
nothing but dead space to advertise CVS. They have built stores in an urban
setting, so they can do it. (115 125th Street in Harlem for
example).

In
addition the circular AAA building echo’s the circular building of the Archdiocese
down the street. This urban connectivity and continuity is important to
maintain and should not be given up unless a clearly superior architectural
solution that meets urban design goals is proposed.

Right
now Lindell in this area is being developed randomly. The new 3949 building
exhibits desirable traits of walkability and potential access to transit. In
contrast other developments along Lindell present a large parking lot as the urban
face of St. Louis.

St.
Louis does not want parking lots to be the face of the city I cannot blame the
aldermen or alderwomen when there is not a mechanism in the system by St. Louis
City planners to bring up alternatives to the public and their representatives.

The
potential for a new district between SLU and the Basicla is clear. Whether it
becomes an area dominated by galleries, fashion or even another restaurant district,
it would complement and enhance Grand Center, the University, the Basilica and
the West End along Euclid and extend it’s influence from downtown to Washington
U.

Ultimately
the Board of Aldermen holds the purse strings and authority.  The irony is that a coherent urban plan in
this area and all along the Lindell/Olive corridor will attract new development.
In any case allowing more autocentric development will only destroy the potential to make Lindell a prosperous urban boulevard.

 

I’m not sure why the formatting is screwed up. Sorry, it doesn’t look that way when I post it.

Mr. Kennedy, to continue the conversation from the previous
post, I think we can agree that Lindell is, and has the potential to become a
walking orientated, transportation orientated route that includes cars.

With 6 metro link stops within a couple of blocks of Lindell
(and even the Grand station is not far from Lindell), when coupled with
neighborhoods with population density, two major universities with students in
need of transport, a large commercial district orientated towards walking in
the West End, Grand Center , Forest Park and the administrative center of the
Catholic Church all connected to the major centers of downtown and Clayton.

Clearly  Lindell should be a special
route.  Parts of Market and even Lindell
from Compton to downtown are probably more suitable to an automobile orientated
development, if that is what CVS wants to do.

The fact the Chaifetz Arena is not on the corner of Compton
and Lindell hurts future transit. It indicates however the importance of
understanding planning goals as related to projects.  SLU may have considered moving Chaifetz if it
was an attractive alternative; in other words a commitment by the city for a
vibrant, people orientated boulevard. 
(No question the corner is a more difficult logistics site, but it is
very doable)

Your ward would benefit greatly from this emphasis on
establishing this route for people use. That does not mean automobiles are not
part of the mix, only that the pedestrian has equal footing.

This is a 5, 10 or 20 year process, it is important to start
limiting massive parking lots facing Lindell if a true balanced people/car environment
is to be achieved.

Experiments with transit could be as simple as painting
lines in the streets. It would be interesting to see the ideas of planners and
architects on how to approach redefining transit to make it attractive for the
people of your ward, and by extension the rest of the city.

At this stage there must be no doubt that the Lindell/Olive corridor
is the most important East -West transit route in the city, (and maybe most
important overall).  I cannot see how the
loss of the AAA building is compensated by a cookie cutter design that a mega corporation
uses in the suburbs and whose use in the city in any form is questionable.

 

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