ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A nonprofit has started construction on a project to transform an abandoned strip mall into a development for north county residents to connect with jobs, child care, workforce development and services ranging from finances to health care.
Refuge & Restoration broke ground last week on the $16 million R&R Marketplace, at 10148 W. Florissant Ave., in Dellwood.
Formerly known as Springwood Plaza, the shopping center has been vacant since a Schnucks grocery store at the site closed about 15 years ago. The entire shopping center, totaling 90,000 square feet, is to feature facilities for early childhood learning, workforce development, coworking and innovation, and banking. The largest space, the former Schnucks store, is to become a "multiplex" that houses a church and tenants including health clinics. Partial opening is expected in mid-2022.
The leaders of the nonprofit, pastors Ken and Beverly Jenkins, said they started working on the project before 2014's Ferguson unrest, which took place nearby. Clayton-based commercial real estate company Summit Real Estate Group has been involved for the past two years, they said.
The Jenkinses said R&R’s anchor tenants should create more than 100 jobs within a year of opening, while connecting local residents to an estimated 2,000 jobs within five years.
The nonprofit closed on the $3.5 million purchase of the property Sept. 27, buying it from Chicago-based RMS Properties. To finance the multi-phased project, the nonprofit has leaned on grants and donations, they said, plus New Markets Tax Credits from the state of Missouri. Refuge & Restoration will collect rent from some tenants, helping its business model, Beverly Jenkins said.
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