Delmar Loop

Co-Founders McKelvey and Auer Continue to Make Delmar Maker District



A virtual roomful of CREW St. Louis attendees gathered April 13 to learn from Douglas Auer, glass artist and owner of Third Degree Glass Factory, as he walked through his partnership with Square Co-founder Jim McKelvey in redeveloping properties along Delmar between Union and Kingshighway Boulevards in what is known as The Delmar Maker District.

The district – situated 1.5 miles east of the Delmar Loop, is a growing mecca of makers, artists, designers and entrepreneurs. Nearly three years ago, fellow artisans Auer and McKelvey quietly began acquiring, rehabbing and redeveloping derelict buildings and homes with the mission of creating spaces where solopreneurs can accomplish the district’s goal to “live, make and sell.”

Third Degree Glass is located at 5200 Delmar Boulevard in the heart of the district.

“Reinvigorating this area is our goal,” Auer told the CREW St. Louis audience. “What I found when I unintentionally stuck my nose into the development world three years ago was the disparity in property values. Everything is so segmented. There is a lot of overlap that isn’t happening here in St. Louis,” he added.

With Washington University in St. Louis as the facilitator, Auer, McKelvey and other Delmar area proponents including Maxine Clark began meeting to talk through strategies for increased safety, beautification, placemaking, public art and infrastructure improvements.

“We’re concentrating intently on the stretch of Delmar between Union and Kingshighway,” said Auer. “Where this goes next, I’m not sure.”

Where it has already gone is the revitalization of all existing buildings in this section of Delmar, with vacant land the next target for redevelopment. Auer told CREW St. Louis listeners that his home is in the district and that he’s committed to a long-term vision.

“Jim McKelvey continues to put his money where his mouth is and is making real investments in an area of the city where there’s no guarantee of return,” said Auer. “Even now, we’re sustaining 36 local artists who got their start here. Our goal is to be thought of as the center (of town) and not the edge. There’s no reason that everything to the north of Delmar shouldn’t be as important as what’s to the south of Delmar. Our goal is to do good things rather than talk about what divides us.”

Construction Complete on New $2 M HopCat Restaurant in Delmar Loop


Construction is complete for the new $2 million HopCat restaurant and craft beer bar in the Delmar Loop in St. Louis, Missouri, with Knoebel Construction serving as the general contractor. The new 8,580-square-foot location features seating for 245 guests, draft bar, an outdoor beer garden that seats 100 guests and event space. The developer was BarFly Ventures and the architect was Cuhaci & Peterson.

The construction project consisted of renovating the historic building while preserving as much of the original structure as possible, including wood beams and exposed brick.  The entire roof structure was rebuilt and all utilities were upgraded, which required trenching open the adjacent street and sidewalk on busy Delmar Blvd.  Windows on the second floor had to be removed to install the commercial kitchen equipment.

HopCat is an award-winning beer bar founded in Michigan in 2008. There are now 17 HopCat locations across the United States.  Each location features a custom interior design and a beer menu showcasing local craft brewers.  The new St. Louis HopCat features more than 40 Missouri-made craft beers and ciders daily.

Knoebel Construction, Inc. is a national general contractor specializing in retail center, multi-use, restaurant, grocery, healthcare and retail store construction. Projects range from major regional shopping centers to local restaurants.For more information, visit or call (636) 326-4100.

Echelon Constructors Completes $2 Million Flagship Store for Big Shark Bike in Richmond Heights


Big Shark Bike has opened a new store at 1155 S. Big Bend Blvd. in Richmond Heights on a site that had been vacant since 2011 following the demise of well-known music system/home theatre retailer, Hi-Fi-Fo-Fum.

Overseeing the $2 million project was Maryland Heights, Mo.-based Echelon Constructors. Echelon initially sourced the location for Big Shark, then collaborated with developer Hany Abounder of Third Man Development to demolish 65 percent of an existing 20,000-square-foot structure and re-work the site to create parking for 22 vehicles. Next, Echelon gut-rehabbed the remaining 7,000 square feet of space, completing interior finish and system installations within a fast-track 45-day schedule.

The interior of the shop exhibits an open architecture theme, with exposed ceiling beams and a wood deck. Project architect was Klitzing Welsch Associates.

The Big Bend store replaces a location in the Delmar Loop that Big Shark closed in January. The retailer also operates stores in Chesterfield and Downtown St. Louis.