The McRee Town neighborhood (recently rebranded Botanical Heights) has seen an incredible transformation over the last couple of years. Its positive trajectory has a lot of momentum thanks to the pioneering local design/build firm UIC. Their redevelopment provides an excellent example for other areas of the city.
The above intersection, virtually abandoned just a few years ago, is now seeing new life and gaining popularity thanks largely to sister establishments Olio and Elaia (I haven’t tried the restaurant but Olio’s cocktails are top-notch). Situated in between Shaw’s Garden and the rapidly gentrifying Forest Park Southeast neighborhood (Tower Grove Ave is still rough there), McRee Town’s new-found spotlight improves outlook for the Tower Grove Avenue Corridor and adjacent areas.
New housing and commercial space in the form of ground up and rehab construction is coming online in the immediate vicinity of this intersection. Union Studio, SLAM! Agency, La Patisserie Chouquette, DTLS, and City Garden Montessori have all moved into the neighborhood over the past couple of years, and residential demand is increasing.
Relatively rare in the City of St. Louis, single family home construction by UIC has been completed at an aggressive pace.
Multi-Family residential has also been recently developed at the Tower Grove Mews.
St. Louis’ lack of connectivity between its destination neighborhoods is possibly our biggest hurdle to overcome. The interstates, stroads, superblocks and Schoemehl pots that isolate us will not disappear overnight, but evidence of progress in areas like McRee Town both inspire and motivate the entire region.
For more photos of McRee Town over the past few years see my flickr photo set here.