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Jack Grone

After 2+ years of ups & downs, the arcade bar opens Friday

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Food and Drink  Up-Down STL McPherson STL Josh Ivey Joey Akers Jack Grone

Two-plus years after Josh Ivey and Joey Akers introduced their plans to the public for an arcade bar in the former Herbie’s location at 405 N. Euclid, Up-Down will finally host its grand opening this Friday, June 14.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Food and Drink  Up-Down STL McPherson STL Josh Ivey Joey Akers Jack Grone

The photo above was taken late last week as finishing touches were being put in place in preparation for Friday’s opening.

By the time the doors open, 60 vintage video games and pinball machines from the ’80s and ’90s will be situated on two floors in the 7,500 s.f. venue.  Up-Down will have 3 bars offering 60 craft beers and cocktails, plus a simple menu. The renovation includes a large outdoor patio.

The first Up-Down arcade bar opened in 2013 in Des Moines. Three other locations followed, including Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.

Alluding perhaps to the controversy surrounding Up-Down initiated by nearby neighbors who opposed the project, co-owners Josh Ivey and Joey Akers said in a recent press release that they “plan to be a positive part of the Central West End for many years to come.”

Up-Down, 405 N. Euclid, Monday-Friday 3 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Up-Down is for ages 21 and up.

On a somewhat related note, i.e. referring to the age group that I presume will be Up-Down’s main demographic, I encourage you to read Jack Grone’s recent piece for McPherson STL titled The Emerging City of St. Louis: Smaller, Younger, Better Educated, Why young adults are prime ingredients in the city’s demographic stew?

Grone, a CWE-based journalist, is brilliant at digging into local issues that other news outlets aren’t following, and making sense of charts and graphs that would usually make my head hurt. It’s well worth following him on Twitter, or get on his distribution list here.

CWEnder Jack Grone’s excellent reporting on 28th Ward Alderwoman Heather Navarro’s bill to amend Argyle TIF

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services  Jack Grone Argyle TIF Alderwoman Heather Navarro

The latest from McPherson STL’s Jack Grone:

ST. LOUIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, CITY HALL’S COFFERS and museums and libraries across the city would get a cash infusion this year totaling over $6 million — with more likely to come in 2020 and 2021 — if a bill to be introduced at Friday’s Board of Aldermen meeting becomes law.

The bill, sponsored by 28th Ward Alderwoman Heather Navarro, seeks to amend a tax increment financing (TIF) deal that diverts millions of tax dollars each year from the Chase Park Plaza hotel and condominium complex to support the city-owned Argyle parking garage. The garage is one block east of the Chase at Lindell and Euclid boulevards in the Central West End.

The bill is the result of an agreement hammered out in recent weeks by Navarro and officials in the offices of Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green. It would extract money that’s sitting unused in the Argyle TIF fund; this appears to be the first time city officials have attempted to free cash early from one of these instruments. The fund has $11.8 million in available money but needs only $5.5 million to pay its obligations, according to Navarro’s bill, which lays out a process for releasing the remainder.

Here is a link to the article in its entirety. 

McPherson’s Jack Grone on “The TIF Trade”

The latest bit of reporting from CWEnder Jack Grone on his McPherson, Independent Journalism for St. Louis and Beyond site will be of interest to city residents, especially CWEnders. It is not a quick read, but if you’ve wondered how Tax Increment Financing works, this well-researched article will be helpful.

The introduction:

The Argyle TIF (Argyle Parking Garage at Lindell and Euclid) in St. Louis is helping divert $1 million of tax money each year to service debt in the city’s Parking Division. Some people think the money should be going to schools instead.

The TIF Trade: The Treasurer, the Argyle Garage and a Huge Pile of Cash

“But where will people park?”

It’s a question for the ages in car-dependent towns like St. Louis, and it was one of the issues city leaders grappled with in the 1990s as they considered the prospects of the Central West End.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Opinion Services Web/Tech  Tishaura Jones McPherson Jack Grone Independent Journalism for St. Louis & Beyond Chase Park Plaza Argyle Garage

There, private developers were pouring millions into an effort to remake the shuttered Chase Park Plaza hotel into a major destination for business meetings, receptions, galas, dining and movies. The hope was that a revitalized Chase would in turn spur the redevelopment of storefronts and residences on nearby Maryland Plaza, at the time a largely forlorn stretch still searching for new purpose 20 years after Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers had left for the suburbs.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Since the article was published last Tuesday, Grone has summarized his reporting into 6 easy-to-follow tweets. They are reprinted below, or you can follow Grone on Twitter here.

1/ In a nutshell, the Argyle TIF is diverting a million bucks a year to subsidize the parking division’s debt. didn’t create this deal, but city’s parking ops still benefit from it. and say the TIF’s $$ should go to city schools.

5/ The Argyle TIF has its own cash pile: $6.2 million as of last June, says city report. That cash is just sitting there while city can’t even fix its garbage trucks. Yowza. Wondering what and think, since each wants to be aldermanic prez.

6/ People in who work for and want to find a solution to disburse the TIF’s cash ahead of its expiry in 2021. It’ll be interesting to watch Board of Aldermen this fall. And office, too.

Thanks to Jack Grone for his in-depth, eye-opening reporting on this important topic. Let’s hope our elected officials will take the necessary steps to redirect these substantial and sorely needed funds for the benefit of all citizens.