New fund will help Midtown area

Washington University is to the Loop as Saint Louis University is to . ?

The question may draw a blank for most SLU students, but a loan fund created last May by the board of trustees could help to change that.

The $10 million fund will be taken out of the endowment and loaned to those looking to start up businesses and increase development in the perimeter around campus, as well as in the Midtown area.

Rob Altholz,Vice President of Business and Finance, explained that the intention is to construct an atmosphere similar to that of the University City Loop, which is convenient and accessible to students of Wash. U.

“We want to create more of a college town environment,” Altholz said, “with more fun types of things.”

Altholz hopes to see businesses such as music shops, bookstores or possibly residential opportunities open up in the area surrounding campus.

He also emphasized the possibilities for the Grand Center area, which is currently in the process of renovating the Continental building and working with SLU to rejuvenate the Midtown area. The fund should not only go to businesses that appeal to students, but also to those benefiting Grand Center, Altholz said.

Kathleen Brady, vice president for Facilities Management and Civic Affairs, also thinks that improving the area around SLU is something that will be beneficial to the community.

“Redevelopment in Grand Center should result in a more lively, attractive, stable Midtown area that will benefit the University and the City,” Brady said.

“Hopefully Grand Center will soon begin to attract new retail, restaurants, businesses, etc. SLU students, faculty and staff will all benefit by having shopping, dining and other options within walking distance of campus.”

Although the fund was created eight months ago, no loans have been made yet because policies have yet to be finalized. However, Altholz hopes to have the rules and guidelines written up in the next week or two.

“I think this is a win-win situation. Not only will it help to stimulate development, but it will also help to make the University a better place,” Altholz said.