UPDATE: Soccer district plans mixed-use parking on site of historic buildings

Preservationists are petitioning to save the block of brick

Michael Calhoun
September 11, 2020 - 11:46 am

UPDATED AT 3:15 PM with St. Louis CITY SC statement

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- CITY SC, the region's upcoming Major League Soccer franchise, plans temporary parking in the 1900 block of Olive. There's a petition to save a row of St. Louis brick buildings on the site. The team's long-term goal is mixed-use.

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Here's the reason for the parking need: the stadium footprint encompasses what was a lot used by workers in the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield building at 1831 Chestnut. So, "in order to accommodate those individuals, the 1900 Olive block will be used as temporary surface parking."

The city just acknowledged approval of the demolition request after a week of questions by preservationists.

"It's been hard to find out if there's a plan for replacement, or will our greatest fears be realized and it'll be turned into parking?" NextSTL's Richard Bose wondered before plans were known. "(The team's) video promoted a lot of neighborhoods, showed a lot of streetscapes that look like these buildings. It'd be a shame to lose these classic St. Louis buildings."

Related: St. Louis City announces season ticket reservations to go on sale Sept 16

A statement from the city's Cultural Resources Office confirmed the tear-downs are for the "creation of parking" and are justified by "unusual circumstance."

A spokesperson for St. Louis CITY SC told KMOX News: "While we are still working through the long-term future use of this space, we are exploring the opportunity to create a mixed-use parking structure with commercial space on the first floor that from an architectural perspective, will compliment other buildings being developed as part of the St. Louis CITY stadium district."

Bose said permanently swapping brick walls for plain parking spots, which is not the team's goal, would be bad news for tax proceeds.

"If you want a city we can afford, we have to have as much net positive land usage as we can get," he says. "We've spread out our city so much and you can tell how much we struggle to afford it. Just look at the condition of the streets."

"As construction on the new soccer stadium and surrounding area continues, we believe the stadium district will have a positive impact on Downtown West and the entire region," the CITY spokesperson wrote. "We look forward to providing more updates around this block, and on the full stadium district, as we progress."

Bose thinks the brick buildings could make a good start for a "soccer village."

"Please, please, please recognize the potential in these buildings," he said. "This is the kind of place (where) people will want to hang out before games."

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