Where’s Your CREW

November 17, 2020
Written by: CREW-St. Louis

A New Home in an Old Building: CREW-St. Louis Takes a Virtual Tour of Square

In August 2018, Jim McKelvey, via StarLake Holdings, committed to purchase the building at 900 North Tucker – the longtime home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Post-Dispatch was initially set to remain as a tenant on the top two floors. The purchase closed in September 2018.

The Post-Dispatch then decided to renovate and move to a vacant building a block away. StarLake Holdings became Starwood Group and in July of 2019, payment company Square announced it would relocate its St. Louis offices from the CORTEX district to 900 North Tucker. Not really a surprise since lifelong St. Louisan McKelvey is a co-founder of Square, along with his Bishop DuBourg High School buddy, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

Once the Post-Dispatch moved into their newly renovated building a block away, work began on the old building and a transformation began to unfold on the building’s north side. A new, main entry was in the plans – moving from Tucker (to the west) to Cole Street (to the North) in what Jim McKelvey now describes as a “symbolic repositioning to recognize the untapped potential of the largely African American population to the north side.” Additionally, the building was set to become the anchor to the start of a new financially focused innovation district for the City of St. Louis.

On Sept. 15, CREW members were treated to a video tour of the building and discussion led by John Berglund, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at the Starwood Group, on the progress of the 900 North Tucker renovation and how the building will tie into the larger NOW (North Of Washington) Innovation District planned for the area.

Panelists included Patricia Hagen, Ph. D., President/Executive Director of T-REX, John Warren, Director, Cushman Wakefield, and Brian Matthews, Cofounder & General Partner, Cultivation Capital.

The NOW Innovation District will join T-REX, which John Berglund called the “cornerstone” of the downtown innovation district. T-REX is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 that currently houses more than 200 start-ups. Hagen said more than 5,000 jobs have been created because of its partners’ activities within T-REX and the support T-REX offers start-ups and anchor tenants that are expanding in St. Louis.  

A longstanding partner to T-REX and managing more than $200 million in investments, Cultivation Capital has invested in 105 companies, 75 which are in St. Louis. Matthews indicated that there are more than 3,000 employees in their portfolio, 2,000 of which are graduates of local universities and now work in St. Louis. Matthews stressed that capital is “really important to keeping talent from our great universities here in St. Louis.”

In a final comment from Warren, he noted that spaces like what Square is building downtown – “truly exciting spaces to work, with interesting environments” – will be the backbone destinations that support continued innovation in St. Louis. Something those of us in the commercial real estate industry support 100 percent.

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