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Developer behind Square's new St. Louis home partners on downtown infrastructure project

The StarWood Group is redeveloping the Old Post-Dispatch Building into financial services firm Square's new office building
Credit: SLBJ
Looking south on Tucker Boulevard, this rendering depicts the renovated Old Post-Dispatch Building that will be oriented towards north St. Louis city in a symbolic gesture.

ST. LOUIS — John Berglund of The StarWood Group and building owner Steve Stone are teaming up for lighting upgrades in the first step of outlining a new innovation district in downtown St. Louis.

The duo are using their own money to replace 24 light fixtures, at a cost of roughly $2,000 each, around their buildings on Tucker Boulevard. The improvements are part of StarWood's efforts to launch a new district for downtown St. Louis called the NOW Innovation District, which seeks to bring more jobs and economic growth to the area north of Washington Avenue.

The StarWood Group, formerly known as StarLake Holdings, is redeveloping the Old Post-Dispatch Building into financial services firm Square's new office building. Stone owns the Globe Building, at 710 N. Tucker Blvd., that's home to several geospatial companies. Beyond the first 24 fixtures, Berglund and Stone have identified more than 200 additional lights that also need to be upgraded.

The new fixtures, supplied and installed by Ted Stegemen with Labyrinth Technologies, will help define the physical boundaries of the district and improve safety. The upgrades are meant to supplement Downtown STL's own infrastructure improvement plans, not replace it, Berglund said.

"We knew COVID was going to delay Downtown STL's plans," he said. "We didn't want to wait. We hope to continue to develop boundaries of the district and have others follow our lead."

“Downtown covers a large geographic area with a diverse set of public and private uses and needs," Stone said. "A generalized approach is critically important and necessary, but more specialized treatment of smaller areas within the larger downtown area is also needed."

Square, once it moves in at the former Post-Dispatch Building at 900 N. Tucker Blvd., will be an anchor in NOW, along with the T-REX building on Washington Avenue. Stone's Globe Building also will be a main source of activity, especially as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new western headquarters come online in north St. Louis less than 2 miles away.

Stone said that the district is an example of downtown stakeholders working to improve the area in partnership with public groups.

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