St. Louis building boom expected to continue in 2019; urban bloggers share their favorite projects

By on January 4, 2019

From St. Louis Public Radio:  St. Louis has had a banner year for construction in 2018. The number of building permits issued is up in 17 of the city’s 28 wards . The value of new projects totals more than a billion dollars and dozens of projects are on the drawing board or ready to break ground in 2019.

We checked in with several bloggers who track the city’s construction projects throughout the year for their take on the current building boom. Enthusiasm and a sense of momentum are the underlying themes in their blogs. There is criticism for Paul McKee and the city’s handling of his Northside Regeneration project in north St. Louis. But, there is hope and optimism that the new site for the NGA with stimulate community-driven growth.

For Mark Groth, the current building boom is fodder for his 10-year-old blog called St. Louis City Talk. He’s an enthusiastic transplant from Illinois who started out writing about changes in his south St. Louis neighborhood.

“It’s fun to dream about the big projects, too, and look down your block and say, ‘boy if that building were renovated — it’s been empty for five, 10 years — what a difference that would make for the neighborhood.’”

Groth is a biologist at Bayer Crop Sciences and a father of three. His blog is a labor of love he produces with his wife. They publish their top 20 favorite construction projects every December.

This year, a 70-million-dollar retail and apartment proposal near the DeBaliviere Metrolink station is on his list. But Groth is torn between spending millions on one project versus spreading the development money around. “What we really need on the south side, in my opinion, and the north side for sure, is smaller developments,” he said. “But it’s hard not to get enthralled with these huge projects and think about the future and the potential.”

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