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ST. LOUIS – Webster University announced Tuesday it has purchased the old Arcade building across the street from the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis, and will use it complete the redevelopment effort of Old Post Office Square in downtown St. Louis.

A spokesperson for Webster University says the school will be the anchor tenant of the Arcade building, and will occupy the most historically significant part of the structure. When the redevelopment of the Arcade is complete in 2016, classes will be held in both the Arcade and the Old Post Office buildings. The school will also celebrate its 100th anniversary that year.

The first two floors of the building will be transformed into offices, classrooms, a café, and an art museum. A small auditorium will also be built inside the Arcade. Nearly 300 artist lofts and market-rate apartments will occupy the remainder of the building. Dominium Development of Minneapolis is the lead developer for the site.

"This is a very big building so this redevelopment is a very big step forward for Downtown," said Mayor Francis Slay. "I am also very pleased that this marks the completion of the Old Post Office Square. As an added bonus, Webster University is expanding its downtown footprint. This was a very tough deal. It took relentless people with vision, creativity and patience to get it done. But, it is worth it. This project will put people to work, and bring the Arcade back to life with living, learning, entertainment and other vibrant activities."

In the early 20th century two buildings were joined together to create the Arcade. The first building, the Wright building was finished in 1906. In 1919 the Arcade was built around the Wright building, and then the two were joined together.

In 1980 the Arcade was designated as a city landmark. In 2003 it joined the National Register of Historic Places.

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