ST. LOUIS – To get the part, you must dress for the part. It only makes sense as the Garment District Redevelopment is unveiling their next phase for downtown St. Louis.
“When the Downtown Now plan was done back in the year 2000 we had over 150 empty buildings in downtown,” says Missy Kelley, President & CEO Downtown STL Inc. “Now we have less than two dozen. So, we are at a point now where we can really start focusing on different districts and really creating a place that draws people of specific interests but also general enough.”
The groups involved in Tuesday morning`s announcement envision the former Garment District coming back as a manufacturing hub and home for creative people and businesses.
“The incubator was really the first place that was built out in the Garment District,” says Kathleen Bibbins, Executive Director St. Louis Fashion Fund. “We partnered with the other entities to pick the firm that is going to build out the plan.”
St. Louis based Tao + Lee associates along with New York-based Martinez + Johnson, part of the team which lead New York`s Garment District revitalization, have been chosen to lead the development of new architecture along Washington Avenue from Tucker to 18th.
“What we`re doing is starting off with stakeholder interviews and every imaginable stakeholder from existing businesses owners, residents, the fashion fund city agencies,” says Steven Stainbrook, Director Planning Martinez + Johnson.
“We have this opportunity to have entrepreneurs working in the area and bringing back manufacturing of garments in this area,” says Otis Williams, Executive Director St. Louis Development Corporation.
In July public open house events are planned for the Garment District to get input from the downtown neighborhoods, businesses and residents.
“The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District is committing $100,000 for this plan,” says Kelley. “So, this funding or plan will include a funding plan so that the vision is activated.”
“So, it`s a two-pronged approach getting the policy right and the public space to attract people,” says Stainbrook.