Midtown rejuvenation may bring back the cultural milieu of the Roaring Twenties

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A black Rolls Royce glimmers across our view, revealing throngs of bustling fedoras, suits, pearls, and flappers on a city sidewalk behind it. Tendrils of exotic smells from restaurants flavor the starry night and swells of distant jazz music ebb and flow as people open and close doors to their own syncopated rhythms.  The Fox Theater and Powell Hall burst into the nightlife, painting the sky with grandiose neon signs and inviting us to a world of music and culture.

Midtown St. Louis today hardly resembles the lively night life that regaled Grand Center in the 1920’s. Apart from huddled families and groups of students that scurry into Fox and Powell on performance nights, few people traverse the yawning and empty streets north of SLU. The neon signs no longer welcome crowds of eager young residents ready for a night on the town.

With the advent of a new project concerning Midtown, however, we can imagine a brilliantly changing landscape that will propel Grand Center into a new age of prosperity. A Hyatt hotel and upscale edifices lift off the ground, reaching jubilantly towards the sky. City Diner, as well as other nice eateries, fills the air once more with the cloying and delicious smells of food. Various new social outlets and comfortable new housing creates a melting pot of social mingling and diversity.

Within five years, these new businesses will lay the seminal groundwork for a grand metamorphosis. The improvement will draw SLU students, families, and more business opportunities. It will magnetize Grand Center and create cosmopolitan energy.

We are poised to absorb that energy. Being next door, we are grateful to see SLU working with planners such as Steve Smith (owner of Triumph and Kota Grill) to develop a safe and exciting new neighborhood. In revitalizing the area, we truly create opportunities that will help others the way our mission statement outlines.

Using natural economic processes by fueling development, we generate a plethora of job opportunities that can snowball from entry-level jobs to large white collar careers. We are excited to see these jobs move into the area, bringing the surrounding neglected community into the fold.  the apparent poverty of the neighborhood can gradually fade.

SLU’s involvement not only fulfills its mission statement to be “men and women for others”; it also encompasses a lively new hubbub into our SLU bubble, improving this home away from home. SLU students can spend weekends perusing the many new social outlets, jump-starting this mini-economy.

Apart from the economic development, SLU students will be exposed to greater venues that patronize local artists, musicians, and performers. This new ambiance will widen our appreciation for the local artistic milieu.

Laughter floats lazily into the pristine summer air at a nearby restaurant, and hesitant breaths of wind carry the sounds of fizzed champagne and jovial conversation over the heads of passing crowds as they move towards grandiose neon lights. We arrange these pleasant dreams in our mind’s eye as we head towards this bright new future.