Loop Trolley Bringing Hope For Development On East End Of Delmar

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UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI)-- When the idea of the Loop Trolley first came up, supporters said if you build it they will come, meaning if you build the trolley more development will happen on the eastern part of Delmar Boulevard.

And while they haven`t even started laying tracks, developers are already starting to come.

"It is certainly a leap of faith," said David Mastin, President of St. Louis Design Alliance, an architecture firm dabbling in development on the eastern end of Delmar, with 10,000 square feet of retail space and 18 apartments in a new building called 'The Gotham Annex,' and 72 more apartments in an old one being made to look new.  That building is called 'The Gotham.'

The total investment is about $12 million.

And for the corner of Delmar and Hamilton, that is amazing considering the down at heel, gap toothed development that currently makes up the area east of The Loop.

But St. Louis Design Alliance, which has its offices in The Loop, is taking that leap because they believe the addition of the trolley will revitalize the entire east end of Delmar.

"The trolley lends a certain panache. There is just a cool factor about it that it doesn`t happen anyplace else in the city," Mastin said.

It also helps that along with the trolley track, fiber optic cable for ultra-high speed internet service will be laid with it, available only to those who live and work next to the tracks.

Joe Edwards, who came up with the trolley idea has said all along this would happen and he's not surprised it is starting early.

"The people who have foresight will do it in advance of an area. They can get the property for a fair price or a reasonable price and do a lot more early on," Edwards said.

Over the past few years, several businesses have tried to make a go of it on the eastern end of Delmar, though many have failed. But those who have survived are becoming hopeful this battered neighborhood is on the right track.

"I believe it will boost business up," said Orlando Causey, who owns a barbershop across the street from the Gotham development. "It will be more of a diverse crowd coming through here. That`s what we need."

The St. Louis Design Alliance expects to finish its new building next month and the old one the month after that. As for the trolley, the hope is still to break ground by the end of this year.

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