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First Project In McKee’s Northside Regeneration Project Completed

The 20,000 square-foot grocery store will sell produce from family farms through a partnership with the Good Natured Family Farms' cooperative alliance.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 3:45 p.m., April 2 with the City of St. Louis reissuing building permits for Northside Regeneration's planned urgent care facility — The GreenLeaf Market at the intersection of North Tucker Boulevard and North 13th Street will open this month.

It is the first project developer Paul McKee has completed in has massive Northside Regeneration plan after more than a decade.

The market will open April 13. Across the street, the ZOOM convenience store and gas station opened in October. The two buildings mark a total investment of more than $20 million and the creation of 72 jobs in north St. Louis.

McKee said the project serves as a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the area, which will eventually include the new $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West headquarters.

“Look around, you’ll see, you’ll see 60 percent of them are people of color,” McKee said Monday during a ribbon cutting for the grocery store. “And the majority of them come from the community as well. It’s a big deal to us today. This is their market.”

Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard represents that area of the city. She says the project, especially the grocery store, fills a need for economic development and healthy food options in the area.

“We are currently residing in a food desert," she said. “It has been a community that experienced 60 years of disinvestment. We haven’t had a grocery story in a generation.”

McKee’s overall plan for the north side was thrown into question last summer. The city of St. Louis claimed the developer was in default and moved to sever the agreement.

“Everything has its process,” McKee said, adding the project, originally announced in 2016, probably should have been completed sooner.

“It’s the end of the beginning, and it’s the beginning of a new day,” he said.

The grocery store is expected to open April 13.
Credit Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio
A ribbon cutting and special tour of the store took place Monday, April 1. The store will open to the public in a couple of weeks.

The project is partially funded by a one-percent community-improvement district sales tax and $2.8 million dollars in tax-increment financing.

McKee re-submitted a request for permits for a three-bed urgent-care center in the former Pruitt-Igoe housing site. The city approved those permits Monday, according to building commisioner Frank Oswald. McKee also said 500 new residential units are under construction.

Congressman Lacy Clay also attended the ribbon cutting, calling it a huge day for the neighborhood.

“We are bringing needed services,” the Democrat said. “When you think about the neglect, the lack of economic activity for most of my life in this part of this city, it’s long overdue.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included a claim from Northside Regeration that GreenLeaf was the first grocer to open in north St. Louis since 1968. Others may have opened more recently, including the Schnucks at Natural Bridge and Union in 1998.

Follow Wayne Pratt on Twitter: @WayneRadio

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Wayne is the morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.