Urban Review - St. Louis visits Tulsa

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This morning I met up with Steve Patterson of Urban Review - St. Louis at Shades of Brown Coffee in Brookside to talk about urban developments here and there.

Steve was heading back to St. Louis after visiting family in Oklahoma City. True city aficionado that he is, he wanted to get a sense of the urban situation here in Tulsa and set aside some time this morning on his way home to explore and take a few photos. He quizzed me about interesting urban places in Tulsa, and I look forward to reading his observations of our city.

One topic that came up in our conversation was Tulsa's "East Village", the 115 acres between 1st and 7th, Elgin and Lansing. A St. Louis developer, Desco, had won a contract to redevelop the area, but they failed to do anything, which Steve indicated was a good thing. Desco is a suburban developer, connected with the Schnucks supermarket chain. Here's an example of how Desco builds in an urban environment -- cookie-cutter suburban design with the big parking lot, no pedestrian connection to the neighborhood, no respect for the traditional street grid. Looks like we dodged a bullet.

Lately he's been writing about the fight to preserve a historic church building, St. Aloysius Gonzaga and about revitalization in Old North St. Louis. This entry about the conversion of a north St. Louis middle school into apartments not only reviews the project itself, but gives you a sense of the context -- the surrounding neighborhood.

If we're going to make headway in preserving and recreating urban places in Tulsa, we'll have to learn lessons from other cities. The number of urban design blogs is growing, and Steve's blog is a great example of the emerging genre.


W. Author Profile Page said:

As former resident of the St. Louis region, I can tell you that not only did Desco have dull-dull-dull developments, but it also would buy property, sit on it for months or even years, and do nothing. It wasn't until someone else took it off their hands that development occurred. It led me to believe that Desco either 1) did a lot of speculative buying; or 2) didn't do a good job attracting investors.

Considering Schnucks was accused of anti-competitive practices and similar tactics, it and Desco deserved each other. Schnucks isn't even that good of a grocery store anymore. Shop 'n Save is kicking its butt on the low end, and Dierbergs is kicking its butt on the high end.

USRufnex said:

Interesting to see what the urban design details will be for the new players in the "east village" game:


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 26, 2005 9:11 AM.

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