Bridging the Delmar Divide: New Developments Planned to Reshape Fountain Park
City Scene STL
Chris Stritzel October, 15, 2020
With the Central West End's continued growth being visible with a number of new apartment projects to open up in the neighborhood in the past couple of years, the discussion is starting to turn to what lies just North of the neighborhood. For years, Delmar has been the arbitrary boundary between the Central Corridor and the Northside. And while the Central Corridor, and the Central West End, sit just South of this border, the area just North has seen little to no investment. Even if there was investment, it was no where near the level being seen just South of Delmar. However, plans by Kingsway Development are sure to bring a level of investment to the Delmar corridor, and just North into the Fountain Park neighborhood, that hasn't been seen in decades.
Kingsway, which is led by Kevin Bryant, has ambitious plans to redevelop several buildings along Delmar and in the Fountain Park neighborhood, build a healthcare clinic, and build a luxury apartment building at the southeast corner of the Delmar and Euclid intersection. The goal is to dismantle the Delmar Divide and hopefully kick off a rush of development to move the success of the Central Corridor northward. With a vision in mind, Kingsway is moving ahead with the first piece in the puzzle to beginning their ambitious plans: getting approval from the TIF commission.
TIF, which stands for Tax Increment Financing, will be utilized here in order to pay for infrastructure improvements as the infrastructure has been neglected for years. And while TIF has been ridiculed by many for projects lying within the Central Corridor, it makes sense for this location. Kingsway went before the TIF commission on October 14th.
Kingsway's TIF district application revealed a 5 building development, that will come to life over the next two years. Plans also call for streetscape improvements to Delmar Boulevard.
Redevelopment of the former bank and Vault Club at 4915 Delmar into the "Impact Performing Arts Center".
Redevelopment of 4731 Delmar into creative office space.
Redevelopment of 4701 Delmar into office space for an emerging business center. This phase also includes the construction of another performing arts theater.
Construction of a 156-unit apartment building and 325-space garage known as "The Bridge". The building will also include 10,000sf of ground floor retail space.
Construction of new medical office and clinic at 709 North Taylor.
The total amount of TIF requested is $6,177,900. The total cost of the development of these 5 projects + the streetscape improvements will total $84.4 Million.
These 5 projects are hugely significant as they create anchors that the Fountain Park neighborhood can build off of. But the key to the success of Fountain Park's rebirth will not be making it gentrified and out of reach for a lot go homebuyers. Instead, this will be an inclusive neighborhood where homes are accessible by more people than the Central West End counterparts. Fountain Park will give many people the opportunity of living in a tight-knit community just North of the Central West End.
Fountain Park itself is a neighborhood full of potential. It retains most of it's historical housing stock, has a nice park (Fountain Park), and is easily accessibly from 3 major thoroughfares (Delmar, Kingsway and Martin Luther King Drive). The neighborhood also resides within a federal designated opportunity zone.
In the future, homes will be renovated along with new ones built. In 2019, it was said that the Euclid School would become known as the "Fountain Parts Arts Block", which is a project led by Theaster Gates. That project would consist of the renovation of the Euclid School (32 lofts), construction of new housing (21 units), and the construction of a fully equipped arts center. This project, if it happens as there has been no update on it for a while, will create a central anchor in the neighborhood for future development to spur off of and connect to the Delmar and Taylor anchors.
Bridging the Divide
While this project will help smash the Delmar Divide in this area of town, there are other projects nearby that are either under construction, proposed, or completed nearby that help smash the divide and connect North City to the Central Corridor. Those additional projects are...
The Delmar Divine (Old St. Luke's Complex)
3rd Degree Glass Factory
MADE + Magic House
Craft Alliance Office (5080 Delmar)
Mademan Design Office
Just North of Delmar in the neighborhoods, there are several home renovations that are contributing to the revitalization of this area of the City. And while there is a lot of work to do, it's still good to see an uptick in investment.