ST. LOUIS ( -- Across from the St. Louis Police Department Headquarters sits a block of now empty buildings. City officials approved a plan to demo the block on 1900 Olive to make way for parking for the new MLS stadium, but some people are pushing back against the plan.

“[Downtown] becomes dead outside of the 9-5, we’ve almost turned it into an office park,” said Mitch Jorstad, who created an online petition to save the buildings on the 1900 block of Olive.

So far, the petition has garnered just over 1,200 signatures and asks the St. Louis City’s Preservation Review Board to take a look at the demolition proposal.

According to city officials, the block of commercial buildings is not historic, nor do they sit in a historic district.

Pine Street Demolition Permit Applications

A memo on the approval of the demolition of 1900-1912 Olive Street and 1901 Pine Street states the demolition is for the creation of parking for the MLS soccer stadium facility and a part of the city’s pledge of cooperation from Board of Alderman bill 71109 approved last February.

City officials said aldermen approved these bills knowing they outlined plans to cooperate with the MLS ownership group to build offsite parking

Andrew Weil, the Executive Director of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, said they are supportive of the MLS development and the impact it will have on downtown, but they are not thrilled with the idea of more surface parking.

“There’s abundant parking in that area and I think creative solutions involve leasing some of that parking,” said Weil

It’s clear St. Louis is excited for MLS. Deposits for season tickets went on sale Wednesday and the team reported 50,000 people purchased them in 24 hours.

A spokesperson for the new St. Louis City SC team said they plan to use the 1900 block of Olive for temporary surface parking leading up to the inaugural season in 2023.

Letter to Krasnoff

“While we are still working through the long-term future use of the space, we are exploring the opportunity to create a mixed-use parking structure with commercial space on the first floor,” said a spokesperson for the team in an email to KMOV.

KMOV obtained a letter from TKFC LC, the developer of MLS soccer stadium related buildings and Pitch314, an “affiliated, non-stadium development entity,” to Dan Krasnoff, the director of St. Louis Cultural Resource Office.

“TKFC LC anticipates needing parking for events at the soccer stadium including both general parking for fans and parking associated with certain ticket packages,” the letter reads.

The letter goes on to say they anticipate requesting public incentives for the structured parking.

While demolition permits were already approved by Krasnoff, there is a request for two Board of Aldermen members, Shane Cohn and Christine Ingrassia, to appeal his decision.

The buildings on the 1900 block of Olive once housed a t-Shirt company and other businesses, but all have moved. The demolition would not displace any active businesses.

But Weil told News 4 he would like to see the city rethink the demolition of viable buildings, saying it “lacks a vision on what the neighborhood should and could be.”

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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