St. Louis, Missouri
Feature written in July, 2019
FHLB Des Moines Members: Enterprise Bank and Trust and Midwest BankCentre
Pagedale Town Center in North St. Louis County, Missouri has expressed a need for basics like healthy food, mainstream financial services, healthcare, behavioral health, affordable entertainment and spaces for residents to build community.
The community has been under redevelopment since 200 when Beyond Housing began working with the City of Pagedale to better meet the needs of residents.
To discover these needs, Beyond Housing conducted community engagement to find the needs and preferences of the residents and stakeholders with their signature “Ask-Align-Act” methodology. This established community-led goals for the development. In 2009, the City of Pagedale passed a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) ordinance, making Beyond Housing the Master Developer for the TIF district.
Since, the project 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 grocery store, Save-A-Lot – the first grocery store that Pagedale had seen for 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 Shield 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, 24:1 Cinema was built in 2015. The four-screen, 350-seat movie theater offers a family-friendly place for socializing and entertainment without driving to other, usually higher-income neighborhoods. 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 by way of the Pagedale Town Center Commercial Building (2015), constructed to house a primary health center operated by Affinia and a mental health facility operated by BJC Behavioral Health; a commercial space/wealth accumulation center, a space for Red Dough Money, a payday lending alternative and the Excel Center, a financial advising and education center; the 24:1 Café/Coffee Shop (2018), decorated by residents and students at Normandy Schools, built to bolster community building, sharing meals and meeting neighbors.
An ongoing effort toward housing development and home repair has been in progress to improve the housing stock and make the neighborhood more attractive to current and prospective residents.
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 to include dining and retail with subsidized rates for local, independent businesses. With this construction, the intersection of Page and Ferguson, where it will be built, will undergo major remodeling to reduce the number of traffic lanes and increase on-street parking to help the area feel more walkable.
The project has transformed vacant lots and abandoned buildings into attractive structures that meet residents’ needs. The changes have been a source of pride and community attachment for many long-term residents.