ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Bridging the Delmar Divide has long been a goal of community and city leaders, and now a multi-phase development plan hopes to connect the neighborhoods on both sides of Delmar Boulevard.
“It’s 207 acres of some of the best real estate left in St. Louis,” said Kevin Bryant, the president of Kingsway Development.
Kingsway Development is an ambitious master development plan in the Fountain Park and Central West End neighborhoods.
The project involves renovation of historic structures, new construction and streetscape to enhance the redevelopment area on Delmar from Kingshighway to Taylor.
The first phase includes a renovation of 4915 Delmar, a former bank turned nightclub, into a Performing Arts Center. Phase two is a renovation at 4731 Delmar which will transform the historic building into a shared office space including first flood retail and restaurant space.
“[The office space] will focus primarily on entrepreneurs that want to work in underserved communities,” said Bryant.
Bryant has been working on this project for two years, and the biggest part is working with the existing residents.
"We want to make sure the community members have a say so in what’s going on," said Chauncey Nelson, a lifelong resident of Fountain Park. He is the board president of Park Place Housing and Development.
As part of the Kingsway Development project, they are renovating some of the historic homes in Fountain Park, saying without stabilizing the neighborhood, the rest of the development won’t succeed.
“They want the opportunity for them to thrive and grow as they see the commercial development thrive and grow,” said Nelson.
Kingsway Development is seeking $6 million, roughly 7% of the project, in tax incentive funding from the city. The TIF Commission unanimously approved the project at the October meeting. It will then go to a public hearing in December.
Bryant says this is the kind of project the city should be investing in.
“We’ve seen it done in other communities over and over,” said Bryant. “The only thing we need to do is put in the work and to get the city to put in the same level of investment here as they have south of Delmar.”