Despite crime sprees across Downtown West, developers and some residents remain optimistic

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - People toting their guns, leaving bullet fragments scattered across pavement and dozens of car break-ins. It’s action we’ve seen downtown and in Downtown West for the last year. However, with Centene Stadium and its surrounding new developments, many are hoping to see a change.

“I visited on vacation twice and fell in love with it honestly,” Bruce Wayne said.

Wayne moved to St. Louis this past summer and said he’s always had his eye on Downtown West.

“Just seeing the area and what it was turning into, I was like ‘this is an easy decision for me,’” Wayne explained.

Despite some residents flocking out of the city during the pandemic, developers and other neighbors made a pledge to stay and make improvements.

“In order for things to change, we gotta have people here who actually want them to change,” Wayne said.

Developer Matt Masiel, owner of Screaming Eagle Development, is one of the many people committing to that change, spending nearly $60 million to build new apartments in the area.

“The additional density will help with the crime as well as there are other properties being developed around here which should help with bringing people cause that’s what’s gonna change,” Masiel said.

Crime is top of mind for many across Downtown and for those investing. For Masiel, one of his buildings has already fallen victim.

“Somebody broke in, jumped over the fence, and was able to use a screwdriver to open the door,” Masiel explained.

He said he’s already made changes and plans to enhance security in his new builds as well. However, he and others said more police are needed too.

“We’d like to see maybe some more car presence or foot patrol or bike patrol,” Masiel said.

“I know it’s a touchy subject for people of color, but at the same exact time, I think it will help,” Wayne added.

Masiel and Screaming Eagle Development have already brought two apartment buildings to the area and are building a third on 18th and Washington. The new build, in the MacDonald Building, is set to be finished next May.