By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
A CREW-St. Louis virtual audience learned June 8 of the continued progress being made by Kingsway Development and Ballast CRE to attract private investment and public incentives to redevelop a 207-acre area along Delmar just north of the Central West End.
For six years, Kingsway Founder and CEO Kevin Bryant has been planning and advocating for residential and commercial redevelopment in an area known for blight, neglect and crime.
“Over the past 18 years, multiple developers have failed the people living and working in the community north of Delmar while the community south of Delmar continues to thrive,” said Bryant. “We’re working hard to change that, and we’re seeing progress.”
The Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods are the starting point for Bryant and Ballast CRE Founder and CEO Brian Pratt. Together the two are actively bringing several projects to the fore, including a 200-unit market rate housing development known as The Bridge and adaptive reuse of a 30,000-square-foot, 2-story warehouse. The warehouse redo, dubbed Elevation, is expected to break ground in August.
Over the past several years, Bryant has gone door to door, parcel to parcel, educating and encouraging residents and energizing them to help him overcome negative perceptions of the area north of Delmar.
“We’ve moved from a community that had given up on itself to one that is believing change can occur,” said Bryant, noting that Fountain Park was once a progressive community where prosperous African Americans lived.
Another project in the works sits at 4731 Delmar Boulevard, a $6.3 million rehabilitation project that will serve as a performing arts center.
Kingsway Development is partnering with Washington University in St. Louis, Gateway Mortgage, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America and others in creating an educational platform for the housing board so community members may participate.
Plans for single-family residential development along the stretch just north of Delmar include infill as well as construction of new blocks of homes featuring five distinct housing elevations to blend with the area’s historic character.
The comprehensive strategy includes continuing development several blocks westward along Delmar to eventually meet up with Delmar Divine, the redevelopment project spearheaded by Maxine Clark and being built by Clayco in the 5500 block of Delmar.