Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pre-Regeneration Regeneration

Lots of NorthSide talk these days. Lots.

Even if you do, in fact, live under a rock in the St. Louis region, I'm willing to bet you still have an opinion about the proposed changes afoot in North St. Louis.

I've participated in, heard, and seen (online) enough discussion to realize that if ever something could be considered the definition of "lightning rod" for our region, it is this proposed development. No conversation on this matter, it seems, is complete until it has devolved into a series of cliches rehashing much of the bitterness, divisiveness, and acrimony that have marred our region's (and so many others, to be fair) cultural landscape for as long as anyone can remember.

This is good.

Not the name-calling and related bluster, but the fact that many of us are actually engaging with folks we normally wouldn't. Sure, a lot of it is online and anonymous, but a lot isn't. Many different individuals, City and County, Big Developer and grassroots rehabber, Northsider and Southsider and yes, Black and White are sitting down at the same proverbial table to discuss this. Isn't that one of the things that's supposed to make a city great?

You've heard it all before: St. Louis is full of walls. Walls between neighborhoods, wards, municipalities, high schools, races, the list goes on and on. But right now, while the discussion is undoubtedly ugly... at least it's happening. And maybe it's catharsis...

Because while I'm not sure the North Side project will succeed, I am positive it will fail unless we continue the dialogue, and continue working to ensure that all of us have a role in the regeneration.

Coming Soon: Actual EcoUrban news!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

EcoUrban 2.0

Lately we've been looking into some pretty exciting green multi-family housing developments. They have the potential to be pretty transformative, but given the current economic climate it's definitely going to take continued time/hard work to get things going. We'll keep you updated as we move forward.

In the meantime, we've also been working with the very talented architects over at Ebersoldt + Underwood to reimagine our 1-story homes. What they've come up with is, IMHO, awesome.

One of our biggest challenges has been balancing forward-thinking architecture with demand (and a city) that leans towards a more traditional approach. It's a tough row to hoe, because you need to push the design while still addressing context. No one's really been able to pull it off here, and we all know brick facades with vinyl siding ain't gonna cut it.

I think E + U nailed it:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ameren Joins the Party

Well, better late than never.

Yesterday, Ameren UE announced that it was going to offer incentives to Green Developers. While obviously benefiting commercial developers more than folks like us, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

This comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this month regarding several residential energy efficiency programs to help customers manage their energy usage.

Glad these guys are finally getting on board (I'm sure national politics has nothing to do with it). I just hope some of the other folks that got there first left them some cheese and crackers.

Next up: Ameren plans to redevelop their "website" into something that doesn't look like it was created by the Venezuelan ministry of information!

We'll keep you posted...

Friday, July 17, 2009

So What Do You Want to Do Now?

Midsummer'09. A brief lull in the action. A good time to take stock of where we are/how far we've come.

1st Round of EcoUrban Homes: sold

Lessons learned: thousands

Prime Inspiration: closed

Status of the real estate market: next question

Single-family projects in the near future: yes

Multi-family projects in the future: hopefully

Siamese Fighting Fish inherited: 2

Beards shaved: 1

Mustaches grown: 2

Possible directions in which to head: myriad.

In the coming weeks, we'll be updating this blog with more regularity. There is much to discuss, and a lot's changed since we started. We have a lot of opportunities and ideas on the table. Here's to charting a path forward with your help.

** Pictured: hitherto unreleased "retro" EcoUrban logo, circa 2005. Unreleased for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Old North House Tour

If you're in St. Louis, be sure to check out the Old North House Tour this Saturday May 9th. The fun kicks off at 10am and continues until 4pm.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years, Old North is an amazing example of how purposeful collaboration can revitalize and reinvigorate our historical neighborhoods.

Come and see how just how much progress has been made at and around Crown Square!

Click here for more info.