It’s been a while since I last wrote about Grand Center, and since then a lot has happened. The neighborhood has been improving at a remarkable pace, with a lot more investment than we’re used to seeing around the city. KWMU’s new home, UMSL at Grand Center just opened, and the building is a great addition to Olive Street. I haven’t seen any signs of work on the proposed plaza behind this new building but hopefully it’s still in the pipeline.
Just across Grand, the Metropolitan building renovation is a big project that will dramatically improve the look and feel of Grand Center’s center. The Metropolitan Artist Lofts, as the project is being called, are scheduled to open September 1st and I’m getting excited. As one of the largest buildings in the neighborhood, and one that has had a few failed attempts at rehab, the reopening of the Metropolitan Building will be a major psychological boost to Grand Center. The activation of this building should also help to link Grand Center with SLU and Midtown Alley given its placement at the intersection of these three districts.
Just a couple blocks up Grand is another new sight. The Grand Center Public Art area finally has its third installation. Entitled “A Chromatic Confluence,” this colorful, interactive sculpture is quite unique and worth checking out.
Particularly fitting is that this art installation is right across the street from the Grand Center Arts Academy. Already home to Cardinal Ritter High School and Clyde C. Miller Career Academy (not to mention SLU), Grand Center is really establishing itself as a neighborhood that values education.
Another new addition to the neighborhood that this blog has reported on in the past is Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust. Located on Delmar about halfway between Grand and Spring, the restaurant is a little bit isolated by parking lots and an abandoned building or two, but that doesn’t seem to be discouraging any business. Riding off the success of the TV show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” (which really shines a positive light on the city of St. Louis in my opinion), as well as their delicious food, this new location looks like it’s going to be an attraction of its own.
Grand Center has had an ambitious list of projects queued up, but after seeing so much recent success I am confident that we will see many of them come to fruition.
Just for fun, here are some more photos I’ve snapped around the neighborhood in recent weeks: