Exciting developments are currently underway just right around the corner from SLU in the nearby Midtown district. Midtown is a half-mile area which connects SLU’s north and south campuses within its boundaries of Laclede Avenue, Chouteau Avenue, Grand BoulevardVandeventer Avenue and Spring Avenue. This historic district will soon be brought back to life by efforts of St. Louis Midtown Redevelopment Corporation and their developer, Cullinan Properties, as they embark on several individual projects to revitalize this 400-acre area.
One of such projects is the Iron Hill development, which will occupy 14 acres at the northwest corner of Grand and Chouteau. Brooks Goedeker, the executive director of the St. Louis Midtown Redevelopment Corporation, said that “Iron Hill is expected to help bring much needed services and amenities not only to the SLU community, but the greater area.” With easy accessibility to transportation including the Grand Metro line, the Grand bus line, as well as several highway access points, he believes that “the development is expected to be a major draw to an area that is under-retailed.”
Another project includes the 150-acre Prospect Yards development, which is bordered by Grand Boulevard and Vandeventer Avenue. The title “Prospect Yards” was recently voted on by the St. Louis community last year to dub this upcoming mixed-use development district.
Further developments include renovations of the dormant City Foundry and Armory building sites, both located within the Midtown district. They will be replaced by a plethora of entertainment, restaurant, retail, office, hospitality and residential features. Plans include St. Louis’ first food hall, a seven-story Element hotel, modern residential apartments and much more. A new pedestrian-friendly trail, spearheaded by the Chouteau Greenway Trail Project, is expected to link everything together through a direct connection from Forest Park to Downtown St. Louis via the Midtown area.
These developments will bridge the gap that currently exists between both of SLU’s campuses, and will make possible a more connected community among SLU, SSM Health and St. Louis as a whole. This is an investment not only in its retail opportunity, but also the academic and professional opportunities Midtown has to offer. “While this development should excite all students, we think it will be particularly exciting to our students who are studying health sciences and medicine on the south campus,” said Goedeker.
The opportunity does not stop there. “Our partner SSM Health is building a new hospital and ambulatory care center. With these and other projects, more than a billion dollars is being invested in and around our campus,” he said. “So much is taking place, and we know that is going to continue. We’re truly at the start of a new era of growth and development for Midtown.”
Even though “it is early in the process and details are still being finalized,” he acknowledges that Cullinan Properties “made it clear that they were committed to building something that would not only make everyone at SLU proud, but also the entire St. Louis region. We have confidence they can deliver on that promise.”
Goedeker’s understanding of the importance of this project to SLU, as well as St. Louis, is rooted in his history as a SLU alumnus as well as native to the city. “I’ve had a passion for improving the city ever since I was a teenager,” he said. “Community development is all about bringing people together to improve communities, and SLU’s mission definitely guides how I approach my work today.”
“Construction will be done in phases, beginning in the middle part of 2020,” Goedeker said. “The first phases of the project are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.”