October 29, 1997
The groundbreaking marked the start of the first new retail center to be built in North St. Louis since World War II. The celebration was accompanied by the music of student drum and brass performers from the nearby Central Visual & Performing Arts High School.
"We are delighted to begin construction of this project and show our vote of confidence in the city of St. Louis through this significant investment," Schnuck said. "Schnucks City Plaza will bring shopping convenience, selection and services to a neighborhood that has been underserved. We're proud that our development also will create construction jobs and about 250 jobs for area residents." Mayor Harmon added, "It's an exciting sign of progress to finally see the dirt turn for this project. Schnucks deserves praise for its commitment to the city and for sticking with this project. Schnucks' investment promises to be an economic catalyst for North St. Louis."
Last week, Schnucks awarded construction contracts totaling $6 million for first phase construction to a team led by Wellington/CPM, Inc., a local minority-owned general contracting firm. More than 50 percent of the construction contract volume will be performed by about 20 minority-owned construction firms, well in excess of project bid goals.
"We hope our decision to select a team led by an African-American general contractor will encourage the growth and progress of other minority-owned firms," Schnuck said. "The Mayor's Office and the St. Louis Development Corp. were very helpful to our efforts."
"By creating jobs in the community, we feel we can play a part in the neighborhood's resurgence," Schnuck said. "In addition, we hope our investment and presence in the neighborhood will encourage other businesses to join us in serving local consumers."
The project's groundbreaking follows a redevelopment effort initiated several years ago by the St. Louis Development Corp. in cooperation with 20th Ward Alderwoman Sharon Tyus. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the site redevelopment plan in February 1995 with legislation introduced by Tyus. The redevelopment plan was prepared by the St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA). In May 1995, Schnucks was selected by LCRA as the site's developer.
The site was formerly used as the parking lot for General Motors' employees. In addition to the 62,000 square foot Schnucks Supercenter and 18,000 square feet of retail space, two additional buildings are slated for development on two parcels near the intersection of Union and Natural Bridge. The DESCO Group of St. Louis is marketing one parcel for development as a sit-down restaurant. The other is being marketed to a variety of other businesses and services.