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Laclede's Landing developer revives historic St. Louis coffee brand

"My commitment is to continue partnering with local St. Louis businesses to either do products or promotions."
Credit: SLBJ
Davis Messner

ST. LOUIS — When David Messner of New Legacy Development Partners acquired 710 N. Second St. on Laclede's Landing, he acquired a building with a robust history that once housed a storied St. Louis company.

Now he's reviving the building's legacy by relaunching its namesake business, Old Judge Coffee. He acquired the Old Judge Coffee trademark from Todd Darr, and Messner has partnered with St. Louis-based Dubuque Coffee Co. to create Old Judge's own coffee profile using Dubuque's beans and roaster. Messner also teamed up with St. Louis' Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Co. to create an Old Judge hot chocolate blend using Bissinger's chocolate.

Both are now available direct to consumer through Old Judge Coffee's website. Eventually, Messner wants to bring Old Judge Coffee to grocery and retail stores, and open a cafe somewhere on the Landing. Investment costs and revenue projections of the brand were not disclosed.

"I think the product will speak for itself," Messner said. "My commitment is to continue partnering with local St. Louis businesses to either do products or promotions."

The Old Judge Building on Second Street, which New Legacy bought for $2.1 million in 2019, in the downtown St. Louis neighborhood of Laclede's Landing was named for the Old Judge Coffee brand that was delivered to customers via river barges and horses beginning in the 19th century. Old Judge Coffee's revitalization is an example of what Messner hopes to accomplish for the Landing: build business, add jobs and preserve legacies unique to the region.

He joined with Advantes Group's Brian Minges a few years ago to form New Legacy Development Partners, which is focused on transforming Laclede's Landing into a 24/7 neighborhood with residential, retail, office and more. Eventually, the duo hopes the revitalization extends further north along the riverfront.

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