ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) is focused on growth and development in downtown St. Louis, specifically to attract more businesses that will create additional employment, residential, retail and hospitality options, and make downtown safer. The focus is to improve connectivity between downtown, the riverfront, and other districts within the urban core through business retention and expansion.
Stephen Davis, vice president of strategic partnerships and initiatives at SLDC, says the Downtown Activation Plan is a partnership with Greater St. Louis, Inc., and the mayor’s office. He explains that the partners are seeking funding from both public and private sources to ensure the initiatives identified in the plan can come to fruition.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really define the narrative of downtown St. Louis and shape the future that we want for the city,” Davis said.
City leaders know that Downtown St. Louis is the front door to the State of Missouri and the economic engine for the region. The SLDC team is focused on retailers, restaurants, developers, and additional lessors and lessees to connect some of the major projects that already exist, such as Ballpark Village, The Dome, our Soccer Stadium, and Busch Stadium.
Plans include developing a retail strategy both in downtown and along the riverfront. Davis and his team are committed to building more density downtown by removing barriers for businesses.
“SLDC is doubling down in downtown St. Louis. We are here to support small businesses. We want you to come down and set up shop,” he said. “We want to help you through those barriers by entering the market in downtown. We will work with you to help your business succeed in the City of St. Louis.”
The SLDC team provides business owners with a streamlined approach that links up government and economic development officials all at once to provide more efficient communication and efficiencies for necessary resources, networks and solutions.
It all starts with ensuring the maintenance of Downtown St. Louis streets, adding greenery to public streetscapes, lighting, removing graffiti, and ensuring safety.
These strategies are paving the way for developers like Greg Gleicher, founder and CEO of Good Developments Group, to select St. Louis for his next major project. Gleicher is a Washington University graduate who set his sights on redeveloping Gateway South, the 100 acres of mixed-use land between downtown St. Louis and Soulard.
Gateway South, over the next 10 years, will be the first-ever geographic hub for this sector.
“I see a lot of opportunity from a development standpoint. Finding a site that is in downtown, that significant area of land has nobody to displace or remove, will create an opportunity where you only have upside and positives behind the project, which I think is extremely important in doing stuff,” Gleicher said. “The community aspect is a key factor.”
His plan includes activating the historically significant, currently blighted site and creating sustainable growth for both the city and innovators within the design and construction industry. Gateway South will be a phased development. Early phases will include the rehabilitation of the historic Crunden-Martin warehouse building into a vibrant innovation ecosystem with facilities and logistics infrastructure for manufacturing. Eventually, public recreation amenities will be added for city visitors.
“There are elements to the [Gateway South] project that I’m really excited about. First and foremost, activating our waterfront,” Davis said. “The Mississippi River is St. Louis’ greatest asset and underutilized. Having that project down there will bring that part of the waterfront to life. Second is job creation. They have a vision to revitalize the construction industry and do innovation has not been done before here in St. Louis. Leveraging that space and create jobs, but also bring upscale folks in St. Louis, so they will have a career pathway with well-paying jobs.”
SLDC staffs the Port Authority of the City of St. Louis and the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) to designate Good Developments Group as the developer of Gateway South.
“When you can have a situation that can benefit the entire community of St. Louis and not have anyone here that is displaced or removed, that’s a very positive situation,” Gleicher said.
This is what Positively St. Louis looks like.
To learn more about the SLDC’s Downtown Activation Plan, visit them online at DevelopStLouis.org.