Last week, I visited Lange-Stegmann's new stabilized urea center, located on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis.
Urea comes up the Mississippi via barge, where employees offload it into the 63,000 ton warehouse. Some of the urea is stabilized using a falling curtain granulation process. Lange-Stegmann will produce 125,000 tons of stabilized urea annually. From there, products are shipped via rail to a variety of locations.
Lange-Stegmann's $20 million urea center represents a significant investment in the downtown St. Louis area. If only others would follow suit. Urea comes in on a barge (conveyor at left) and leaves via train.
It was a fun trip. Since I've been to St. Louis many times before, I had a fairly easy time finding my way. However, I couldn't help compare downtown St. Louis to downtown Chicago, which my wife and I visited a couple of weeks ago.
I remembered a Chicago cabby's words, "St. Louis and Chicago, ahhhhh, there is no comparison. St. Louis is nowhere near as beautiful as Chicago."
Since I grew up in Missouri, it pains me to admit that he's right. There is no comparison. As I drove back to Illinois across the Martin Luther King Bridge, I almost got off on the wrong exit. Had I not changed course, I would have been headed down Martin Luther King Drive in East St. Louis, not a good place for an ag journalist.
In Chicago, we walked up and down Michigan, to the Sears Tower, along Navy Pier, to the Chicago Board of Trade, and back to Union Station. I felt safe the entire time.
In St. Louis, a few blocks off the beaten path could be fairly unpleasant. Not to mention, the shopping is horrendous, there aren't that many landmarks to visit, and the Rams are probably the worst team in the NFL. For me, the only worthwhile destinations are the Arch and Busch Stadium. (For the record, I hate the Edward Jones Dome. Football should not be played in a temperature controlled dome.)
For those St. Louis lovers who say what about Laclede's Landing? What about it? The bars and clubs are a bit lackluster in my opinion. Though, I'm not much of a bar hopper.
In conclusion, Lange-Stegmann's investment in their facility looks great. The look and feel is a cut above other riverside companies in that district. I only wish developers would take note and begin rebuilding the downtown St. Louis area.