SLU Releases Redevelopment Plan for Midtown St. Louis
At a time when developers are planning more than $750 million in new projects in the
city’s central corridor, Saint Louis University has shared its vision for nearly 400
acres in midtown St. Louis as it seeks greater influence over development in the future.
SLU is looking to form a redevelopment corporation through Chapter 353 of the Revised
Statutes of Missouri — known as the “Urban Redevelopment Corporation Law.” As the
area’s master developer, SLU would work to bring in other parties to invest in the
area — with authority to grant limited financial incentives. SLU would also have the
final say in all new projects.
On Nov. 14, University officials submitted a redevelopment plan to the St. Louis Planning
Commission, which unanimously recommended approval. On Dec. 7, the Housing, Urban
Development and Zoning Committee of the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen unanimously
approved the plan. The full Board of Aldermen gave final approval on Dec. 16.
In broad strokes, SLU's plan lays out proposed uses within the redevelopment area.
- Medical and educational uses including offices and training facilities for those in
the health care and life sciences; classrooms and related instructional, laboratory,
research, hospice, nursery and day care spaces; and pharmacy facilities.
- Office facilities for private, public and non-profit institutions, businesses and
agencies; research facilities; retail, dining, entertainment and other services; hotel
and conference facilities; recreational and community facilities; and parking.
- New residential housing near SLU’s south campus, where it’s estimated that 60 to 80
single-family or low-density dwelling units could be constructed on vacant lots in
- A future connection with the proposed Chouteau Greenway, which would flow through the redevelopment area.
David Heimburger, SLU’s vice president and chief financial officer, is leading the
redevelopment effort. He said the plan is a 25-year endeavor, and the University is
taking a long-term approach as it moves forward with the planning.
“We have been in St. Louis for nearly 200 years, and we are investing in the future
of our city with our neighbors,” Heimburger said. “We want to help make St. Louis
a better place to live, learn and work.”
A Strategic Priority
SLU’s strategic plan calls for the University to become “a leader in just land use and responsible urban
design.” To fulfill this objective, SLU is developing its first campus master plan
in 27 years. The University recently held two open forums to update the SLU community
about the master planning process and to field questions.
While working on the campus master plan, Heimburger said SLU saw a need to better
connect its north and south campuses, which now are separated by the Grand Bridge
and a swath of industrial or vacant properties. Heimburger said SLU hopes to spur
new projects that will connect its campuses and attract services and venues that will
benefit students, patients, faculty and staff, as well as local residents.
“Many portions of the redevelopment area are in tremendous need of investment, especially
the areas that have been industrial for more than a century,” Heimburger said. “We’re
looking forward to working with our neighbors and community partners to plan for the
revitalization of the area.”
The plan also notes that the University hopes to construct a major educational facility
on the southwest corner of Grand Boulevard and Chouteau Avenue — currently the site
of the former Pevely Dairy industrial complex — sometime in the future. This has been
identified as a need in the campus master planning process.
With SLU looking to reduce costs, grow revenues and build a more efficient and effective
organization through the Magis Operational Excellence program, Heimburger said it
is important to note that creating and administering a redevelopment corporation is
expected to be a budget-neutral operation.
The Redevelopment Area
The boundaries of the redevelopment area stretch from 39th Street, Spring Avenue and
Vandeventer Avenue on the west; to Compton Avenue on the east; and from Laclede Avenue
and Interstate 64 on the north; to Park Avenue and Interstate 44 on the south.
The area encompasses the future home of a new $550 million hospital and outpatient
center that SSM Health is planning to build along south Grand Boulevard, adjacent to the current SSM Health
Saint Louis University Hospital. As the University’s health care partner, SSM Health
will have a seat on the board that would govern a redevelopment corporation SLU would
Also included is the former site of the Federal-Mogul foundry, where there are plans
to develop a new food hall flanked by offices, retail shops and apartments; as well as the St. Louis Armory
on Market Street, where developers hope to build a new entertainment and employment complex featuring a craft brewery, rooftop bar, hotel and more.
Immediately west of the proposed redevelopment area is the Cortex Innovation Community, of which SLU is a founding institution.
With its proximity to Cortex, as well as the Grand MetroLink Station, the area could
provide additional opportunities for technology-related and transit-oriented developments.
Community engagement is an important part of the process, according to Heimburger.
He said that SLU has already been in contact with a number of key property owners
in the proposed area, including those behind the foundry and armory projects.
Residential neighborhoods in the Gate District and the Tiffany neighborhood near SLU’s
south campus fall within the proposed area. In the months ahead, Heimburger said the
University will hold open forums for residents and other stakeholders. He added that
no residents are expected to be displaced as part of the plan.
Additionally, the University would form an advisory board made up of area residents
and business owners, along with city residents who may have expertise in social services,
transportation and other important issues.
While a redevelopment corporation would give SLU oversight of future development projects
in the proposed area, Heimburger noted that the University will not seek eminent domain
powers to condemn and acquire property from private owners.
Following the planning commission's recommendation, SLU's redevelopment plan goes
to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, which must ultimately approve the measure.
Editor’s Note: For media inquiries, contact Clayton Berry, assistant vice president
for communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.