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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “economic development”

Positive Commercial Real Estate Trends in St. Louis

The commercial real estate trend in St. Louis is positive. This is from information gathered from a report from the St. Louis Business Journal. Cortex is accounting for a significant share of the success. The only damper is that wages have not increased and I believe the growth has had almost no effect on the north side. Written by Paul Dribin

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Cortex

The Cortex Tech Development Corridor is a great success. My hats off to all involved. St. Louis is really growing as a tech center and positively utilizing the resources of our educational institutions.

St. Louis Convention Center

The powers that be including the mayor and county executive are announcing a plan to expand the convention center. I have mixed feelings. There is no question the convention center is too small and out of date. On the other hand, I am not sure how much difference is makes in the overall scheme of things. Improving the convention center is a must, just don’t expect miracles from it. Written by Paul Dribin

Poor People and Middle Class Housing

Local activists are missing the boat as usual. They complain about any effort on the part of the city to support middle income and upper income development. The city has too little of this population. Any efforts to improve the lives of poor people also requires middle class people to migrate into the city. Efforts to only help poor people are short sighted. Written by Paul Dribin

St. Louis Decline in Convention Business

The St. Louis Business Journal published a story today indicating that convention business in St. Louis during 2018 is down 20% from 2017. This is bad news. Two factors seem to be in effect. First the Ferguson episode discouraged many organizations from choosing St. Louis as the site of a convention. Second, the professionals in the field claim the relatively small size of the convention center. Part of the problem is the shortage of hotel rooms.

I like some real experts am skeptical of the convention size issue. While the problem is technically true, other cities are also expanding. The overall national convention business is down. Unfortunately I don’t have any answers.

Update on Paul McKee and Northside Project

Little is happening in this arena. KWMU came upon a renegotiation agreement that requires relatively little of the northside group to keep the deal going. As I have said, I know McKee and consider him an honorable purchase. I think he has been squeezed by too many parties in the city. Written by Paul Dribin

Too Much Democracy

I am getting tired of do gooders who are looking for more civic involvement, community development, etc. I just had an aborted lunch with just such a person who complained that urban development has been wrong all along and she knows a better way.

We have a representative government. That means we rely on our elected officials to make key political and administrative decisions. As citizens we should provide input to our elected officials and hold them accountable. Direct democracy does not work. The biggest problem with community based decision making is that the local community does not and cannot look out for the overall good of the larger community. They tend to be opposed to changes in governance and other large issues that do not have immediate payoffs.

St. Louis has too much democracy. It seems that everyone in town no matter how ill informed has a voice and potential veto power. The division of power among both the aldermen for the legislative branch and the mayor, comptroller, and President of the Board of Aldermen is dysfunctional. Written by Paul Dribin

Gentrification?

Professor Todd Swanstrom wrote a wonderful article that I read in Urban Observatory. In that article he very intelligently took apart much of the misinformation in St. Louis. Advocates have decried any effort at city development that does not specifically address poor people. They complain that gentrification is moving poor people out of the central corridor and the Tower Grove area. Professor Swanstrom points out the data does not support this assumption. True gentrification requires a substantial increase in housing costs that drive out poor people. This is not happening in St. Louis. The contrary problem has taken place; depopulation of many areas of the city.

You would think we would welcome development with open arms. Oh well!

Urban Parks

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A good New York Times article about a new urban park in Tulsa funded by a billionaire. Can parks bring urban peace and development?

Can Affordable Housing Development Lead to Gentrification

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An interesting article from the Times. A New York City neighborhood builds more mixed income housing in an effort to increase affordable housing. Some neighborhood residents complain they will be pushed out. There do not seem to be any good answers. Written by Paul Dribin

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