The stretch of Manchester Avenue from Vandeventer Avenue to Kingshighway, now known as The Grove, is hopping around the clock with more than 20 restaurants and bars, live music venues, rehabbed office spaces, an art gallery with an international reputation and residential development.
Among the neighborhood’s many commercial spaces are Atomic Cowboy, featuring Tex-Mex cuisine and a cool retro ambience; The Gramophone, which books a stylistically diverse mix of music from hip hop to Delta blues; Newstead Tower Public House, a gastropub serving food that is a step above the more basic pub grab; and Sweetie Pie’s at The Mangrove, where Robbie Montgomery, a former backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner, cooks up wings, chops, steaks, macaroni and cheese, and peach cobbler.
Matt Strauss’ edgy White Flag Projects nonprofit gallery at 4568 Manchester showcases work by progressive international, national, and local artists.
In 2008, Sitelines, a full service construction firm, restored Forest Park Hall, building in 1908, into office space. State and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits were used on the $2 million project.
After spending its first five years renting office space in Maplewood, Space, an architectural design studio, recently purchased and renovated a 7,500-square-foot building that was deteriorating and vacant for more than 10 years into a new home that is showcasing the latest trends in sustainable design. Mayor Francis G. Slay presented a Spirit of St. Louis Award to Space for investing in The Grove.
The company’s public-private financing package included assistance from the St. Louis Development Corp. (SLDC) in the forms of revolving loan funds and a Small Business Administration 504 loan for purchase and renovation costs, furniture and equipment. Space also received historic tax credits, Brownfields tax credits, and SLDC’s façade improvement program.
In the surrounding blocks, husband-and-wife development team Amy and Amrit Gill of Restoration St. Louis have rehabbed more than 60 formerly vacant buildings into affordable apartments.
The Washington University Medical Center and the Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance have also made significant investments in The Grove, formerly known as Forest Park Southeast.
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