Like many low-income communities across the country, the City of Pagedale in North St. Louis County, Missouri has long lacked access to community amenities and resources like healthy food, mainstream financial services, health care, behavioral health, affordable entertainment, and spaces for residents to build community.
The community has been under redevelopment since 2009 when Beyond Housing began working with the City of Pagedale to better meet the needs of residents.
To discover these needs, Beyond Housing conducted a community engagement effort with residents and stakeholders using its signature “Ask-Align-Act” methodology. This established community-led goals for economic development initiatives. In 2009, the City of Pagedale passed a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) ordinance, making Beyond Housing the Master Developer for the TIF district to create the Pagedale Town Center.
Since then, the Pagedale Town Center has seen over $50 million in development, primarily for commercial buildings but also for community spaces and housing.
“There was no grocery store. There was no sense of community,” said Zeina Sparks, long-time Pagedale resident. “Now it is a complete transformation. I cannot express how proud I am of the community and what it is doing.”
In 2010, Beyond Housing used TIF and New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) to build a Save-A-Lot grocery store—the first grocery store that Pagedale had seen in over 40 years. The store has had steady growth in sales, and shoppers are saving about $960,000 annually since opening.
In 2012, the community’s only full-service bank, Midwest BankCentre, was completed to assist residents without bank accounts or lending options. Previously, residents relied on payday and title lending to meet their needs. The bank met their depository targets two years earlier than expected, leading Midwest BankCentre to work with other community development organizations in the region to bring banks to other low-income communities.
Also in 2012, Rosie Shields Manor, a 49-unit senior apartment complex located next to the grocery store, was completed using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). The building is extremely popular and has a long wait list.
To address the need for affordable entertainment, the 24:1 Cinema was built in 2015. The four-screen, 350-seat movie theater offers a family-friendly place for socializing and entertainment within the community. In 2018, the cinema saw $800,000 in sales and provided four new full-time jobs—many of which are filled by students at Normandy High School enrolled in the Viking Advantage college saving program. This allows students to earn money for college, which is matched 3:1 by the program.
The community has also seen new developments through the Pagedale Town Center Commercial Building (2015), constructed to house the primary health care organization Affinia, a mental health facility operated by BJC Behavioral Health, a Red Dough Money and Excel Center offering a payday lending alternative and financial advising, and the 24:1 Café/Coffee Shop (2018) which was decorated by residents and students at Normandy schools and built to bolster place-making opportunities.
This redevelopment is still in progress, and Beyond Housing is working to close a financing package for construction of a new retail and commercial building with subsidized rates for local, independent businesses. With this construction, the project site at the intersection of Page and Ferguson will undergo major remodeling to reduce the number of traffic lanes and increase on-street parking to help the area feel more walkable.
The Pagedale Town Center has been a transformation in every way—turning vacant lots and abandoned buildings into attractive structures that meet residents’ needs, and instilling pride, optimism, and a renewed feeling of community for Pagedale’s long-term residents.