The Banks Lite

The Banks decade-plus-long struggle to get off the ground is well-documented. But what gets less press is the almost-decade-long struggle to build something - anything - at the northwest corner of 5th & Race downtown a.k.a. "The Banks Lite."

Photo from

Today is yet another deadline for Eagle Realty Group to make progress on the site. They have held development rights on the site for almost a decade, and have nothing to show for it but a lot of renderings. Ideas ranging from a condominium tower to a movie theater to a new home for Playhouse in the Park have been put forward, with nothing to show for it but PowerPoint slides.

CityBeat summed up the situation nicely in a blog post last November, which I'll quote one passage from:
"Later, the city spent more than $1 million to fill in the parcel and use it as a parking lot until another project was found. Including $10 million spent to raze the site and move several businesses and another $3.7 million to help settle a lawsuit involving Eagle’s relocating a Walgreen’s across the street, the city has spent about $15 million on the canceled projects during the past seven years."
It's time to piss or get off the pot.

But I don't blame Eagle Realty so much for this mess. I blame the city, which has given them extension after extension. I understand that the city is busy, and will give the benefit of the doubt to developers like this, but - especially considering the momentum created by Fountain Square in the blocks north of it - this area one block west of Fountain Square is as important as ever and needs to move forward.

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