TGNCDC Makes a Splash at 3800 Gravois with Mixed Use Development

We probably paid too much and we probably spent too much renovating.  This is typical for Community Development Corporations working to create positive change through historic buildings updates in areas of need.  Located in an area of focus from our framework and vision plan, 3800 Gravois Avenue in Tower Grove South once housed a corner market, one of dozens along the long neglected former Route 66 that was the main thoroughfare to downtown ST. Louis before interstate expansion.   There were years of calls for service against the store.  The negative issues resulting from the operation of the market spilled over into the residential part of the neighborhood. With 1.2 million already invested in affordable residential projects in close proximity (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa_dsWnJ9SM), TGNCDC identified the opportunity to invest directly on Gravois Avenue.

TGNCDC approached the owner and negotiated a deal to purchase the property.  As with most historic buildings in the area, deferred maintenance was deteriorating the building and we set out to make the needed updates. We completed the work in late June 2019.

Commercial districts can be a catalyst for future investment, improved quality of life,  amenities to attract more residents, convenience and they make our city stand out from other areas in the region.  On the other hand, neglected commercial districts with unappealing and abandoned storefronts,  poor signage,  and lack of services detract from investment, decrease the quality of life of residents and devalue neighborhoods.  We hope the 3800 Gravois Avenue project inspires others to see the possibilities along Gravois, especially between S. Grand and Chippewa, and that it jump starts more renovations.  Sustained economic development can start with one building but more need to follow. At this highly dense location in Tower Grove South that is surrounded with a strong residential market, new Aldi location and the nearby thriving South Grand commercial district, larger and faster strides at elevating Gravois should made in coming years. Thanks to PNC bank for assisting us with this community development project.

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Sean Spencer