Key Takeaways from ULI Report: 

  • Recommendations align with recently announced partnership with City of St. Louis and business community to accelerate efforts to make Downtown “Safe, Vibrant, and Beautiful” 

  • Gateway Mall’s parks and adjacent properties should be reimagined as the St. Louis region’s “central social district” 

  • Prioritize placemaking, place keeping, and activations throughout Gateway Mall 

  • Gateway Mall = stretch of green space between CITYPARK Stadium and Gateway Arch, bound by Market and Chestnut Streets 

ST. LOUIS — To strengthen the work underway to make Downtown St. Louis safe, vibrant, and beautiful, the Gateway Mall — the continuous stretch of green space anchored by the Gateway Arch on the east and CITYPARK Stadium on the west, bound by Market Street on the south and Chestnut on the north — should be elevated as the metro’s “central social district” and a spine for Downtown’s cultural economy, according to a new report from leading national land use organization the Urban Land Institute. 

“As we continue our work to make Downtown the safe, vibrant, and beautiful neighborhood at the heart of our metro, revitalizing Gateway Mall must be a priority,” said Kurt Weigle, Chief Downtown Officer for Greater St. Louis, Inc., which partnered with the St. Louis Development Corporation to fund the ULI report. “Activating the Gateway Mall will help bring Downtown together and establish the Mall’s parks and surrounding properties as the region’s central social district.” 

Alignment with Plans to Make Downtown Safe, Vibrant & Beautiful 

ULI’s recommendations align with much of the work the business community is leading in partnership with the City and other civic organizations. At the request of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, GSL and SLDC will focus their efforts on revitalizing key corridors and vacant properties that have been hurdles to Downtown St. Louis reaching its true potential. That includes developing a plan for bold action to address the Railway Exchange Building and the Millennium Hotel by mid-September.  

It also includes beginning the work to revitalize 7th Street between Ballpark Village and the America’s Center, a project that will connect two anchor institutions Downtown with new sidewalks, trees, lighting, bike lanes, and opportunities for new retail. 

“ULI’s report reinforces the importance of several Downtown initiatives that are already underway. It mirrors involvement and feedback from more than 100 local community members who are ready to come together to reignite the Gateway Mall. We look forward to collaborating with GSL, the business community, and Downtown stakeholders to set these recommendations in motion so that collectively we can develop and transform this key area of our Downtown,” said Neal Richardson, President and CEO of SLDC. 

To add vibrancy to Downtown, the City and GSL also partnered on City Social, the Downtown neighborhood block party on Washington Avenue that brought nearly 2,000 people out for a celebration earlier this month to help kick off the summer. This evening, GSL kicks off Downtown Summer Nights, a weekly party that will take place in Kiener Plaza from 5:00-8:00 p.m. every Thursday this summer. 

National Insight 

To develop its report, ULI brought to St. Louis a panel of nationally renowned urban planning and real estate experts earlier this year for a multi-day program tailored to St. Louis’ specific needs. ULI members interviewed nearly 100 local stakeholders with the goal of helping the city of St. Louis prioritize implementation actions and policy changes that would reignite the activity of Gateway Mall, specifically the blocks between North Broadway and 11th Street and the blocks immediately surrounding the park, with the goal of creating opportunities to strengthen the connection between Gateway Mall and the adjacent commercial properties, catalyzing activation and investment in the commercial use of these spaces. 

“St Louis has all the ingredients for success, including a history of innovation, vibrant culture, and a high quality of life — it’s time to apply these strengths to downtown and the Gateway Mall,” said panel chair James Lima, President, James Lima Planning + Development in New York. “This panel effort has shown us how diverse stakeholders — including residents, community groups, civic organizations, and institutions such as ULI — all play key roles in supporting Downtown’s transformation. The Gateway Mall can become the city’s family room, a place that welcomes everyone and positions culture, creativity, and joy as drivers of economic competitiveness.”  

ULI Recommendations for Downtown and the Gateway Mall 

Key recommendations ULI’s report made regarding the future of Gateway Mall include positioning culture, creativity, and diversity as key drivers of economic competitiveness; fostering community by investing in civic life and social infrastructure; and cultivating a diverse mix of uses for Gateway Mall that include art, music, fashion, and other forms of creative expression. Additional recommendations include: 

  • Curate a cultural economy in Downtown by growing capacity for entrepreneurs and culture-makers already Downtown and positioning Downtown as a place where diverse communities thrive.   

  • Prioritize placemaking, place keeping, and activation by leveraging space within the Gateway Mall and nearby buildings as a testing ground for creative ideas and cultural expressions; implementing temporary but consistent activations to revitalize weak market locations – this work is already underway through activations like Downtown Summer Nights; and working with the community to consider a new name for the Gateway Mall that better matches its current and future identity.  

  • Choreograph the urban experience through a strong district manager that can help establish a strong steward for the district with the resources and responsibility for influencing both the public realm and the private-sector tenant mix and explore a range of funding sources to support operations, infrastructure and development.   

The full report ULI Advisory Services Panel Report on the Gateway Mall is available here


Greater St. Louis, Inc.: Tony Wyche — 314-398-9991 | 

St. Louis Development Corporation: Sara Freetly — 816-820-0916 | 

Urban Land Institute: Ella Fertitta — 202-624-7150 |