Lofts, office space and a shipping container shopping center pla - KMOV.com

Lofts, office space and a shipping container shopping center planned for Midtown

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The planned hotel for Jefferson and Locust would include a parking garage. (Credit: Tower Real Estate) The planned hotel for Jefferson and Locust would include a parking garage. (Credit: Tower Real Estate)
The developer hopes the mixed-use project will help turn the area into a destination spot for visitors and residents. (Credit: Tower Real Estate) The developer hopes the mixed-use project will help turn the area into a destination spot for visitors and residents. (Credit: Tower Real Estate)
Office space, co-working spots and a rooftop restaurant is part of the plan to redevelop the long vacant building. (Credit: Tower Real Estate) Office space, co-working spots and a rooftop restaurant is part of the plan to redevelop the long vacant building. (Credit: Tower Real Estate)
The shopping center built from shipping containers is similar to a spot in Tulsa, OK (Tower Real Estate) The shopping center built from shipping containers is similar to a spot in Tulsa, OK (Tower Real Estate)

ST. LOUIS  (KMOV.com) – The plan to bridge Midtown and Downtown is part of an ambitious development taking shape.

Jassen Johnson has been working for more than a decade to turn vacant buildings in the former industrial part of St. Louis into a vibrant neighborhood geared towards creative. Working on spots like Dave Bailey's restaurants, he has done 52 buildings. 

The $55 million project centers around the intersection of Locust and Jefferson, an area with a few lofts, a few office spaces and several vacant buildings. Johnson and his team plan to turn it into something much different.

“How do you make this area cool for young people to want to come and incubate and do all these things? Well you have to have retail, restaurants, microbrewery all those things that cause you to want to hang out in a district,” explained Johnson.

The two-phase project will include turning the former Mendenhall building on Locust into smaller office spaces and a rooftop restaurant. Scorch, a marketing agency has already pledged to move into the new space. The next step involves the former Beaumont Telephone Exchange building, The plan there is mixed use, lofts and more office space.

The development also includes a new hotel and parking garage at Locust and Jefferson. Renderings show the EVEN brand hotel.

“Out-of-town people, with all the people who are already here, should come together in this really village idea that helps complete the neighborhood,” Johnson said.

The final part of the project is a shopping center built entirely of shipping containers. The idea stems from a similar spot in Tulsa, OK.

“By bringing the shipping container community to the table we’re able to bring in much smaller spaces than we would be able to build which gives lots of retailers the space to have startup locations, second locations,” explained Johnson.

Johnson is using New Market and Historic Tax Credits to help make the project a reality, he says these buildings have sat empty for so long and it takes a creative developer, and support to turn this area into something more.

“It's a little riskier to do, so the projects are too big for small guys too small for big guys so it takes a creative mindset.”

The hope is to start work by the end of the year with the project’s completion happening in the next two years.

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