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Defunct Hospital to Transform Into a Home for Neighborhood Investment in St. Louis

A truly ambitious, and thoroughly innovative development, project in St. Louis will adapt a former hospital facility to house numerous nonprofit and neighborhood investment organizations.
August 5, 2020, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Rachel Rice reports on a proposal to develop the former St. Luke’s Hospital, located on Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis, which shut down after bankruptcy in 2013, operating at the time as ConnectCare.

"But come fall 2021, the 500,000-square-foot building will begin its second life — housing apartments, offices, a cafe and a highly anticipated nonprofit collaborative," reports Rice. 

The project will be called the Delmar DivINe, named to counter the racial and income stratification that comes with the “Delmar Divide” moniker. [Maxine] Clark and Executive Director Jorge Riopedre anticipate closing on the project within the next few weeks and are completing leases with more than 20 different organizations and nonprofits.

Nonprofits such as the Mid-America Transplant Foundation and Humanitri are likely to be tenants, along with Washington University and the St. Louis Community Credit Union, all as part of a $100 million project that could transform a portion of the city near the Delmar Loop. Supporters say the project is precisely the kind of heavy investment needed to invigorate neighborhoods that fall just north of Delmar.

Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-a-Bear, came up with the idea for the project after working in the Cortex Innovation Community, which offers office space, capital, mentoring and networking opportunities to businesses, according to the article.

The project has already been delayed because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but initial phases of construction will focus on nonprofit working spaces and residential apartments before later phases build out more office space and services such as early childhood education. 

"The project is funded through a public-private partnership that includes a loan guarantee from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, new market and historic tax credits, and donations, including Clark’s own funding," reports Rice.

Additional coverage of Delmar Divine is also available in a more recent article by Amanda Woytus for St. Louis Magazine.

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Published on Monday, July 20, 2020 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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