Delmar Loop Improvements - Getting in the Loop
A sold-out crowd of 100 CREW-St. Louis members and guests gathered for an in-depth look at past, present and future of the Delmar Loop and its new Trolley system.
Held on May 9 at Delmar Hall in The Loop, Joe Edwards, businessman, developer and civic leader, started off with a chronological summary of the Delmar Loop history and how the area has evolved to its current condition with Edwards' immense participation.
One of the historical improvements discussed was the Moonrise Hotel, a four-star, diamond hotel with a rooftop terrace that holds a massive, rotating moon. Edwards also discussed the emergence of the St. Louis Walk of Fame, 140 brass stars of famous St. Louisans situated along the sidewalks of Delmar Boulevard. Edwards praised the St. Louis Walk of Fame for promoting the prominent role St. Louis has played in shaping our nation's culture.
Another example is the Tivoli Theatre, which closed in 1994. Edwards bought the historic structure and spent more than $2 million in renovations. As a result, the restored Tivoli Theatre reopened in 1995.
Furthermore, Edwards emphasized the impact and influence of music on the Delmar Loop, including three concert halls: The Pageant (2,000+ capacity), Delmar Hall (800 capacity) and the Blueberry Hill Duck Room (340 capacity).
"Delmar Hall was a great venue for the event and is the best concert venue I've been to in St. Louis!" says Julie Havens with Wells Fargo.
Anne Zanola, Vice President at Colliers International, notes, "It was great to listen to Joe Edwards speak about the history of the redevelopment of the Loop and the strategy put in doing such renovations. His passion for the neighborhood is apparent and contagious."
Joe Edwards went on to discuss future developments for the Delmar Loop. For example, Everly On the Loop is a 14-story, mixed-use development currently under construction in the East Loop. The $66 million project is projected to be completed this fall and will include 209 apartments plus roughly 4,500 square feet of ground-level retail.
Edwards also explained a few proposals for the Delmar Loop area, including a Ferris Wheel at the former Church's Chicken site along with a $26 million three-story, mixed-use building containing 25,000 square feet of office space plus 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail.
"Since I went to Washington University for undergraduate school and lived near the loop, I'm a longtime fan of Joe Edwards. His presentation at the CREW luncheon did not disappoint," Julie Havens continues, "I'm encouraged by his commitment to the Loop and the revitalization of underserved areas in St. Louis."
Following Joe Edwards, Kevin Barbeau, Executive Director of the Loop Trolley Project, provided an in-depth look at the project. Edwards has championed for the trolley for two decades. The 2.2-mile fixed route connects neighborhoods from Delmar Loop - "one of the 10 great streets in America - to Forest Park. It also harkens back to the area's nickname. The Delmar Loop got its name over a century ago from streetcars that came west and "looped around" before connecting to other areas.
Electrically powered, the Loop Trolley system will run two cars at the same time with a third to be equally in rotation with other cars. The first two cars were recently shipped to St. Louis from Portland, OR, and are currently in the beta phase. With Barbeau still waiting on the final, third car, the roughly $51 million project is scheduled to be fully up and running late this summer.
"The trolley is already bringing in business to the area, especially along DeBaliviere Avenue," Havens notes.
"It was great learning about the status of the trolley project from Kevin Barbeau," Zanola says. "Overall, the Delmar Loop Improvements Lunch was very interesting!"