Proximity to downtown St. Louis

You know it’s winter in St. Louis when it’s sunny and warm. A good opportunity to take a stroll along Broadway on the North Riverfront. It’s so obvious, it’s painful: this area has all the attributes to become Mainstreet USA, without the mouse. Quality architecture, proximity to downtown, and new infrastructure being built to the north and west.

Arch views

Downtown's central business district

Ready for rehab?

New intersection Broadway & Cass Avenue

New Cass Bridge over I-70

Cass Avenue & Broadway

A new Cass Avenue Bridge has been recently completed, as well as a new intersection at Cass and Broadway. One of the few tenants on this stretch is the biker bar Shady Jack’s Saloon, which has been located here since 2005.

From their website:

Jack opened Shady Jack’s Saloon in Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri USA in September 2005. Jack is very family oriented and has most of his family also working here. The family takes pride in this business and if you’ve ever been here you’re sure to have met one of them.  
Shady Jack’s is a biker accommodating bar but you don’t have to be biker to appreciate and enjoy yourself here. We encourage everyone to stop in. We offer Great food, awesome service, and a fun time. Come in for Lunch, we have daily lunch specials or just come in after work for our Happy Hour and evening Specials!  We have a beautiful staff that you have to see and will treat you right!  

New Mississippi River Bridge Approach

The New Mississippi River Bridge, which will be completed in 2014, adds another access point to North Broadway. Traffic from Illinois to downtown St. Louis will be funneled onto Cass Avenue, just a few blocks west. It will be easy to enter the area using the new Cass Bridge over I-70. By the same token, access to and from Tucker (via Cass) will greatly improve once the new North Tucker Boulevard project has been finished.

N. Broadway brimming with potential

At this point of our walk, one of the culprits, if not the main culprit of stalled development is clearly visible. Looking north (above), it’s easy to imagine North Broadway as a busy, fun area to visit or to reside in. Looking south (below) on the other hand, you encounter a wall, a barrier that cuts off the main artery to its neighbor and lifeblood, downtown St. Louis, as well as to the yet to be developed Bottle District.

The Great Barrier

Click to Enlarge

An overview of N. Broadway and the North Riverfront can be found on the map above.  Note the new infrastructure to the north and west. To the east, notable structures begging for renovation include the Laclede Power Co. building, which Trailnet wants to develop into a bicycle station/restaurant at the beginning of the Riverfront Trail. This project has stalled. Another unique building is the Cotton Belt Freight Depot. Some incredible photos of this building can be found here.

Awaiting Renovation

Flood Wall Art

Cotton Belt Freight Depot

It’s easy to see the promise of the North Riverfront.  Not only is it home to a stock of industrial buildings that can be renovated, but it has the potential to become a prime location in the metro area. With the new Mississippi Bridge under construction, and the Cass Avenue bridge recently completed, St. Louis is on the right track to ready the area  for new development.

Now if we could only get rid of that pesky barrier.