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Grand & Gravois: A major St. Louis intersection revived at last?

*NOTE – This article was originally written in August of 2006 for the newsletter.

In recent years, the efforts of community leaders and local entrepreneurs have led the area surrounding South Grand into a new renaissance. This area, stretching on Grand Avenue from Arsenal to Utah, has been dubbed Grand South Grand. A mix of international restaurants and shops has made the stretch a destination.

Unfortunately, as this and other areas of Grand Avenue have witnessed continual improvements, the stretch to the immediate south has remained stagnant. The intersection of Grand and Gravois has been idle for years, but thanks to recent developments the area has a renewed sense of hope. As most continue to ignore the crucial intersection, one developer has decided that it is time for it to be in the spotlight.

The Lawrence Group, known for their architectural, interior design and town-planning is placing bets that this effort will not go unnoticed. The company is currently in the initial phases of a mixed-use development that will be known as Grand View Point.

Taking central stage, is the South Side Tower, located at the southwest corner of the intersection. The former South Side National Bank is listed on the national Register of Historic Places and is currently being converted into a mixed-use project featuring 13 condominiums and street-level retail. Most of the $159,000 to $209,900 condos, as well as the $399,000 suite, have already been sold.

As the South Side Tower project continues to take shape, the Lawrence Group is already planning for the next phase of the development, just south of the southeast corner of the intersection. Initial details suggest that this building, often referred to as the Melba Theater or Grand View Arcade, will also become a mixed-use component in the project. Featuring 18 apartments on the second and third floors, it’s first floor retail shops will likely be accessible from both the street and the interior “mall like” hallway.

These two projects are the first in what could become a significantly larger development. As progress continues in the effort to push Grand South Grand further southward, these projects could eventually merge. Such a possibility would not only benefit the developers and business owners involved, but also improve the already strong rental and investment real estate market in the area.

*UPDATE – According to 15thwardstl.org, “The firm (The Lawrence Group) bought the Lutz Building at 3552 S. Grand for $400,000 in March and the 16,000-square-foot Farmers and Merchants building at 3552 Gravois for $535,000 in September.” Looks like things are still moving along nicely. If only they would start construction.

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