What is the Riverpointe project in St. Charles?
The proposed riverwalk will consist of six “attractions,” four of which already exist. Riverpointe has plans to be the “millennial” section home to big-name brands and entertainment venues.
St. Charles’s newest project boasts big results, at least according to the mayor—4,000 new jobs, $1.5 billion in development, and at least 1 million more annual visitors.
Riverpointe is a 325-acre development currently being built by the city of St. Charles alongside the Missouri River. The project will turn the underdeveloped land between The Family Arena and I-70 into a mixed-use property.
The Riverpointe project began in 2008 and is made up of three phases, each corresponding to a different piece of the undeveloped area from The Family Arena to Ameristar Casino. Each phase has a different projected completion date, ranging from fall 2021 to early 2023. The ground has been leveled and the infrastructure put in. Construction is likely to be completed 12 to 24 months after the completion of each phase.
With this project, the city wants to create a 5.5-mile riverwalk with six distinct boroughs (or attractions), four of which are already established. Mayor Dan Borgmeyer says the riverwalk will be made up of Newtown, Frenchtown, North Main Street, South Main Street, Riverpointe, and South City (a future development). “What we're creating in St. Charles is a complete district, of which Riverpointe is just going to be one of those attractions,” Economic Development Director Mike Klinghammer says. “The concept being that you're going to be able to move easily from one attraction to the next.”
This plan is all to make St. Charles more than just a day trip for tourists. “St. Charles is a really nice place to stay, and Main Street is a good draw. But what else is available there?” Klinghammer says. “I think more [development] is not necessarily an either/or, but it may give more of a reason to come to town in the first place and definitely a better reason to stay a few extra days.”
Borgmeyer says that just three of the entertainment venues that will set up shop at Riverpointe are projected to bring in a combined total of 1 million people to the riverwalk each year.
With any project along a river, there is a worry of flooding, and Main Street and the surrounding areas have had a few particularly bad floods in recent years. However, this is something that the project leaders are aware of. Klinghammer says that the project is referred to as a “no-rise development,” meaning that it will not affect the river upstream or downstream. Much of the project’s construction will simply consist of rearranging the dirt in the 100-year floodplain, but not removing any.
Construction will also include a water quality basin, a water feature meant to catch floodwater before it reaches the riverfront and filter it. “That is going to give that water time for those pollutants to settle out of the water and basically be filtered before it goes into the river,” says Director of Engineering Brad Temme. The dirt dug from the water quality basin will also be put back onto the floodplain. “This is all in an effort to ensure that what we do here is not going to contribute to flooding upstream or downstream,” Temme says. “That's number one.”
Another environmental aspect residents may be worried about is the preservation of Bangert Island. Borgmeyer says that, because Bangert Island is part of a land grant that can never be built upon, the project will not touch the island.
Although Riverpointe will be a multi-use development that will include office space, housing, restaurants, entertainment venues, and retail space, project leaders say they are marketing it as an opportunity for business owners to own their own property. “We're finding that there's an awful lot of interest and desire from people to be owners of their property rather than just being somebody else’s tenant,” Klinghammer says.
Project leaders are looking solely for new businesses for the retail space. “One of the things that we're going to do is prohibit anybody from stealing or relocating businesses that are already in St. Charles to the new development, Klinghammer says. “We don't want to just move people from one side of the road to the other side.”
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