Demolition Starts for the University City TIF

The demolition of the mid-Twentieth Century strip malls, a former synagogue and a church has commenced along Olive Boulevard just east of I-170 in University City. Olivette has also started on its own development to the west of the interstate.

Below, the former St. Andrew Kim and before that St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church has been annihilated, with basically no trace of it ever existing.

The famous Nobu’s is vacant, with large holes punched in its roof. The owner is going to relocate to a new location, which at least a few businesses have been able to do.

Jeffrey Plaza, the famous incubator of many immigrant businesses for decades, is slowly emptying out, obviously waiting for leases to run out. I will not claim that this building is one of the Great Works of Western Architecture, but I will state what the people who have built dreams inside its walls and behind those plate glass windows have changed St. Louis for the better. Where will the next Jeffrey Plaza be? I don’t know, but I have a feeling that hardworking immigrants will find it without the government’s help or handouts.

One thing I will predict, and I know I will be 100% correct about: the giant corporation getting handouts in corporate welfare from University City will almost certainly bail on their hapless civic toadies in ten years when the TIF expires. Trust me, in a decade you will start reading newspaper articles about how they’re in negotiations with the government of Overland about the handouts they’ll be getting to build a new CostCo at the intersection of Page Avenue and I-170. If you don’t believe me, I have a bridge to sell you.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Brandon Otto says:

    I used to work down the street from the 170-Olive intersection, and I used to frequent Pho Long and the East East Market in Jeffrey Plaza, but I hadn’t been back there since before COVID, I think. I recently stopped at Pho Long (which moved a couple blocks east of its old spot), and it was so depressing seeing the massive construction sites, with all the old buildings gone. The building that used to be Simba Ugandan Restaurant is still there, but abandoned (Simba is now selling its food at The Field Box, a sports bar in St. Charles).

    At least a few residents have survived: besides Simba and Pho Long, the Jamaican restaurant that was in Jeffrey Plaza is now across the street from Pho Long, and it looks like East East Market is now on the Chesterfield portion of Olive. St. Andrew Kim might have moved to Chesterfield as well, but online information seems iffy on that.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Thanks for your insights on the area. I patronized several restaurants on that strip over the decades but didn’t know if very well.

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