Two years ago when talk of an Old North St. Louis revival was really heating up I had my doubts. Last year my doubts increased with the virtual standstill in development along North Market and the continued “talk” about the revival of the old 14th Street Mall. As a former skeptic, I’d like to make a formal apology for my doubts.
I drove through the neighborhood last week and was totally floored. Not only was construction along the mall going full steam ahead, I was shocked by the amount of work being done on buildings on nearby streets. I was well aware that construction was underway, but not to this extent. Streets were fenced off, crews were everywhere and the vibe was fantastic.
There is still a long way to go for this project and the neighborhood as a whole, but the future is looking bright. According to the “What’s New in Old North” blog the current development is set to include:
“27 buildings are being completely rehabilitated as a part of this housing and economic development initiative. 33,500 square feet of new high quality street-level commercial / retail / restaurant spaces will be created, constituting the neighborhood’s first significant new economic development in decades—and a boost to the local economy and tax base. 80 units of rental apartments, townhouses, lofts and live/work spaces – reasonably divided between affordable and market-rate units will be completed as a part of this redevelopment effort.”
The question is no longer if this project is going to happen, but what kind of impact it is going to have? Quality developments in North St. Louis have been nearly nonexistent for decades, but if this project is successful it could go a long way in correcting that trend.
A public meeting discussing this project is set for Saturday, January 19th 2008 and all are welcome to attend. For more information check out this blog. Even if you can’t attend, I recommend that you drive by and check out what’s going on in the neighborhood. Make sure to pay a visit to Crown Candy Kitchen while your there. Click here for directions.
*I previously wrote about this development in the December 2006 issue of my newsletter: Check it out.