If Neal Peirce says that Downtown St. Louis has undergone the “most remarkable transformation” he has ever seen, it might even be true. Readers will recall that Peirce is the same writer who once pronounced our urban core “dead” — spurring some of us to protest the premature obit.
Next week, I’ll spend a night in Washington, DC, with Barb Geisman, Rodney Crim, and Downtown Now’s Tom Reeves, to accept the prestigious National Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award for Downtown’s successful revitalization effort. The award is being presented to the City of St. Louis and Downtown Now in acknowledgement of seven years of work that has seen more than $3.3 billion of new investment in Downtown, the transformation of dozens of underused and abandoned historic buildings into lofts and business spaces, and a citywide population that has begun to grow after five decades of losses.
City development, particularly downtown, is a team sport. Barb, Rodney, and Tom have played it very well. There’s much still be done, but it is good to see that the nation has noticed how much has already happened.