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St. Louis Front Page presents St. Louis CitySide, an overview of the City Government of Saint Louis. From time to time, we will take an indepth look at many of the projects in which the city is involved and how these projects will affect residents and visitors.

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Red DotCIty Officials Hope Old Post Office Plaza Will Become the Newest Destination in Downtown St. Louis
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CIty Officials Hope Old Post Office Plaza Will Become the Newest Destination in Downtown St. Louis
The award-winning design of the Old Post Office Plaza incorporates extensive landscaping and water features with a sculpture "Torso di Ikaro" by Artist Igor Mitoraj as its focal point.

Old Post Office Plaza
St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and Steve Roberts, president and chief operating officer of Roberts Bros. Properties
Old Post Office Plaza Features Extensive Landscaping and Bronze Sculpture "Torso di Ikaro"
by Betty Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com), April 5, 2009 - With a drum roll and countdown by several hundred supporters and city officials, the Old Post Office Plaza was officially dedicated, April 3, in downtown St. Louis.

The new 30,000 square-foot open space, featuring Wing Lights, water features, extensive landscaping and numerous concrete benches, is in the heart of the central business district and was formerly a surface parking lot across from the historic Old Post Office.

The crowd clapped and cheered as water gently flowed over the top and down the side of the three-story undulating permanent screen cloud wall next to the Robert's Orpheum Theater. It splashed playfully into the reflection pond below where the 2,000 lb bronze sculpture "Torso di Ikaro" by Artist Igor Mitoraj rested on the concrete ledge.

Althrough construction of the plaza extended well beyond its planning opening in Spring 2008 and several hundred thousand dollars over original budget, city officials view the project as an overwhelming success story.

Alderman Phyllis Young noted that one of the things special about visiting cities is finding an open public space where people just hang out. "We think it's a grand space, architecturally, and it will be internationally renowned once the trees grow. I can't imagine a better front yard for The Roberts Tower." Smiling at Steve Roberts in the crowd, Alderwoman Young added that it was a brilliant stroke to build the luxury condominium project adjacent to the plaza.

In a conversation during the celebration, Steve Roberts, president and chief operating officer of Roberts Bros. Properties, explained how the idea of a restaurant and ballroom meeting space next to an opening public space could work, based on similar facilities such as Tavern on the Green, adjacent to the New York City Park and Bryant Park Grill directly behind the New York Public Library.

Roberts took his idea to Downtown Now and found great support. "People here have always been a little envious of New York, so why can't we do something here," said Roberts, pointing to the towering construction looming over the northeast area of the Old Post Office Plaza.

"When the restaurant is completed, the space will become like any other major urban community in the US or in Europe where you can have first-class, four-star dining indoors or outdoor," said Roberts.

In response to a question about the unforeseen higher costs of the plaza in this tough economy, Mayor Francis G. Slay stated that the funding for the plaza was through private money from the Danforth Foundation and the Gateway Foundation. "The city didn't spend any money on this project. We did assist them with state brownsfield tax credits through the Development Agency," said Mayor Slay.

City officials hope that the new plaza will become a popular gathering place for people in downtown St. Louis. "I think this plaza is about creating space where people who work here, live here and visit here an have an opportunity to step back and enjoy the architectural, enjoy each other's company and the entertainment," stated Mayor Slay.

The Plaza is privately owned and managed by Downtown Now! for public enjoyment. Funding for the project included support from the Danforth Foundation, the US Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the St. Louis Brownsfields Cleanup Fund (via St. Louis Development Corporation) and the Gateway Foundation.

Development of The Plaza was identified as a key component of revitalization of the Old Post Office District in the 1999 Downtown Development Action Plan. See archived story:
Old Post Office Plaza to Feature Signature Sculpture.

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