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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the category “st. louis”

The Real Cause of Vacancies in St. Louis

At the suggestion of Todd Swanstrom, I read a book by his colleague titled Housing Dynamics in Northeast Ohio by Thomas E. Bier. The book written about the Cleveland area is also applicable to St. Louis and many other cities.

The argument in the book backed by data is that vacancies occur when there is an oversupply of housing in the region. This oversupply of housing occurs because developers are looking to profit by building more housing, and land is cheaper in the suburbs. The author points out that when there is an oversupply the oldest, most worn out housing loses all market desirability and becomes vacant. The problem is made worse because developers can more economically build in the suburbs and the infrastructure in the suburbs is stronger.

This plays out when we look at the north side of St. Louis. There will only be a turnaround if the city figures out how to streamline its development requirements, crime is controlled, and schools turn around. In addition a marketing campaign to young people around the company would help. We could offer free housing and lots of land. Written by Paul Dribin

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Loop Trolley: Update, the Good, Bad, Ugly and Beautiful

The trolley situation is still a mess. KWMU had a story which documented the large number of businesses which have gone out of business, at least partly due to the trolley construction. Also, The Riverfront Times published an article about the fact that the automatic ticket machines for the trolley are in before the trolley itself and these machines do not make change. An individual who needed change would need to send in the receipt through the mail and wait for change from the Trolley Association by mail. Overall, the whole thing still seems like a fiasco. One piece of good news, the Loop Business Association has hired Rachelle L’Ecuyer as Executive Director. She is top notch and has done a great job as Economic Development Director in Maplewood. I wonder how long it will take her to clash with Joe Edwards. Written by Paul Dribin

Arch Renovation in St. Louis

My wife and I visited the arch on October 19 for the first time since it had been rehabbed at a cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

I am mildly disappointed. The entrance is better and visitors do not have to cross busy streets to enter. Parking is further away, the grounds looks the same, and the museum is confusing. Overall someone who visited the arch previously would have a difficult time noticing the improvements. Written by Paul Dribin

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

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

Container Houses

The Post recently wrote of a couple in Old North St. Louis who are building a house consisting of storage containers. As long as the housing meets code, why not? The sad part of the story is that lenders are not willing to make mortgage loans on the north side. Isn’t that redlining? Written by Paul Dribin

Decline in Support for Public Transit

Ridership on public transit declined about 3.2% nationally. In St. Louis, Metro ridership declined 32%. Crime has increased significantly. The powers that be want to increase metrolink. Why? The technology is obsolete and the demand is not there. 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

Crime

Crime in St. Louis appears to be higher than ever. I hear about carjackings near Washington University. This could affect top students willingness to attend and remain at the university. No one in the city leadership seems to be focusing on this problem. Activist groups focus on problems of the police will ignoring poor behavior by some of our citizens. Written by Paul Dribin

St. Louis Housing Summit

Today, 9/21, I attended a housing summit here in St. Louis at Christ Church Cathedral downtown. The idea of the summit was to start to build a coalition to develop more affordable housing in St. Louis and end homelessness. There were approximately 300 people in attendance including some homeless people. The speakers were good, enthusiasm high. Let’s hope for the best. Written by Paul Dribin

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