‘Unique’ U City development brings Dierbergs and restaurants to residents, pours money into low-income neighborhoods

A new development, years in the making, is beginning to take shape in University City.
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOV) - A new development, years in the making, is beginning to take shape in University City.

University City is looking to add options that don’t exist in the city now, that includes a Dierbergs, plus fast food joints like St. Louis Bread Co, among other businesses.

It’s a huge development, $211 million, with even loftier goals of revitalizing areas miles from where it stands.

City Manager Gregory Rose said it’s an area that has been static since the 1990′s.

“I was able to see what Olive Boulevard looked like then and when I returned five years ago, it hadn’t changed a lot,” said Rose.

But now, it’s changing fast and will continue to move once the city council approves the project and the $34 million tax breaks associated with it. Other expected businesses include Chick-Fil-A, Raisin Canes, Chase Bank, First Watch and Chipotle.

Rose said the development first came about seven years ago, and a city council vote on the project is expected in early May.

Rose said it will give residents more food options and help the city coffers with needed tax money, but it’s not just any ho-hum development.

“It’s unique not just to Missouri but really throughout the nation,” said Rose.

What’s specifically different about this project is the city is taking some of the profits. Rose said it would be around $10 million and will reinvest that money into the third ward. That ward is a heavily African-American area, with 20% of residents living in poverty, according to city statistics.

“We want to have a place for people to look at to live,” said Patricia McQueen, a member of the University City Third Ward Revitalization Task Force.

McQueen will help determine how and where that money will be spent.

She said they’re still working out goals and their direction.

“What do we actually want to see?” asked McQueen.

But she personally is looking at housing, reducing vacant housing and sprucing up neighborhoods in the third ward, ultimately aiming to make the whole city stronger.

“Cause we feel like the third is like a canary in the mines. The way the third ward goes, the whole University City goes,” said McQueen.

Once the council gives final approval, Rose said Dierbergs should be up and running in two years.

He also said a normal Dierbergs store receives about $30 million annually, meaning plenty of new tax dollars for the city to use.