One of the biggest holdups in the revival of the Shaw neighborhood is the lack of commercial space. The residential component of the neighborhood has seen a lot of improvement in recent years, but commercial development has been relatively limited. There are businesses and restaurants, but not much to draw people in. On the other hand, Shaw’s southern neighbor, Tower Grove South, has made great strides in recent years drawing activity from it’s increasingly successful commercial corridor along Morganford. As great as Shaw has become, it can never really reach it’s potential until to embraces businesses. Thankfully, things might be changing.
A small commercial area along 39th street has begun to develop along 39th in the neighborhood, but the real news was the December 2008 opening of Sasha’s On Shaw. If the name sounds familiar that’s because it is run by the same people who own Sasha’s Wine Bar in Clayton. This new establishment is located at 4069 Shaw at the intersection of Thurman. It’s just a few blocks north of another neighborhood restaurant and bar known as Thurman Grill & Provisions.
This news is exciting for a lot of reasons. Not only does this kind of establishment add a trendy new component to the neighborhood fabric, it also draws attention from visitors outside the immediate area. Shaw needs this new blood in order to continue it’s evolution. If properly managed, this is the kind of place that could do that. Still, great as this aspect is, it holds second fiddle to the fact that this new establishment draws attention to the street of Shaw itself.
As the neighborhood has improved as a whole, Shaw Avenue itself has lagged behind it it’s redevelopment. The street, which is the largest cutting through the neighborhood, should be center-stage in the rehabilitation of the area. It hasn’t. So much in fact that many people might consider Magnolia Avenue, which separates the southern edge of the neighborhood form Tower Grove Park, the front door of the area. Along Shaw Avenue derelict buildings, crime, and shady businesses have been the reality. That’s starting to change though. The residential component has seem some significant reinvestment in the past couple of years and the commercial aspect looks to finally be getting off the ground.
Hopefully this will just be the first of many such businesses along Shaw Avenue in the neighborhood. At the very least, it appears that the two buildings north of Sasha’s on Thruman are getting a facelift. Both are owned by the people that run Sasha’s and are commercial properties. You can see exterior pictures of all three of the buildings in the gallery below. Perhaps they are a sign of better things to come. If they are, and Shaw Avenue begins to realize its potential, so will the neighborhood as a whole.
Check out the companion piece to this article: The other side of Shaw