Do The Math: The Grove is a Great Success!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Reddit0Share on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someone

If this kind of analysis excites you, it’s similar to what a firm called Urban3 out of Asheville, NC led by Joe Minicozzi does. We’re trying to get them to do an analysis of St. Louis. That takes considerable funding. If that’s something you’re interested in helping with please email me at richard at

We’ve seen the dramatic turn around of the Grove area along Manchester Ave from Kingshighway to Vandeventer in recent years. Federal, state, and regional policies and spending had undermined this and many other neighborhoods for decades leaving it nearly worthless. There has been significant private, institutional, and public investment in the corridor. Let’s see how the area’s value has grown over the years. Let’s do the math!

The Grove Assessed Value

Acreage is for Non-tax-exempt properties
2000 $1,064,320 on 15.8 acres or $67,362 per acre,
2005 $2,038,730 on 18.4 acres or $110,800 per acre
2010 $2,716,150 on 17.9 acres or $151,740 per acre
2015 $5,974,220 on 18.0 acres or $332,455 per acre.
Nearly a 6 fold increase over 15 years.

Grove Assessed Value

The biggest public investment in the infrastructure of the The Grove was a lighting and streetscape project in 2010. Design and construction cost $2.3M, almost entirely paid for by Federal stimulus funds. The project improved the bike and walkability of the street. The return is a poster child for spending to incrementally enhance a place.

The best is yet to come with the addition of a 20-unit apartment building at 4321 Manchester and Green Street’s Chouteau’s Grove development at Sarah. Both received 10 year tax abatements. In the meantime their presence will add activity and commerce to the strip. The lots at Kingshighway and Manchester are owned by the Science Center. One hopes they would be receptive to developer interest. And while many commercial buildings along Manchester Avenue have been returned to productive use, close to half remain vacant, or used for storage. Further investment will only add to the already positive economic impact.

The turnaround of The Grove and the greater FPSE neighborhood has been a great success. Luckily large-scale land clearance and urban redevelopment didn’t occur here. Its fine-grained development pattern means more people have participated in that success. Numerous rehabs have been aided with the state’s historic tax credits.

Its synergy with the great things happening nearby at Cortex, CWE, BJC, etc can’t be overlooked of course. Other nearby neighborhoods like Fountain Park (FPSE used to have the same stigmas) should be similarly cultivated.

{Produced by the Landmarks Association of St. Louis}

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Reddit0Share on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someone
  • Guest

    The Grove does not stand a chance in remaining how it was. This neighborhood is really on the move with major changes going on in it, and all around it. Textbook gentrification. Oh well? I said it. It is very interesting around this neighborhood now, tons of yuppies and hipsters moved in, along with original residents (lots of old poor folks).
    The money is now flowing and not slowing down anytime soon. Midtown and CWE already look like boomtown.
    Think Cortex, WU Med, SLU, Shriners Hospital, BJC, CID, Botanical Gardens planned SSM Complex at Chouteau and Grand, a planned metrolink stop within walking distance, Ikea, etc. Progress all around in the billions.
    The Grove is now being transformed.
    Live, Learn, Work, Play, all with no car needed. Uniquely special for our region.

  • Resident of the Grove

    Really proud of how far this area has come. The street lighting is still a HUGE disappointment. Wrong type of lighting all together!!! At least with the old lighting you could actually see the building facades at night? The new lower granitoid poles with capped fixtures on top, do nothing for the beautiful streetscape that is Manchester. They got it wrong.

  • kjohnson04

    I’m a going to be naysayer from the point of view of a Botanical Heights resident. I would appreciate the new housing utilize the existing plats (no combining.) We just lost two addresses on the 4100 of McRee for two houses (one refurb, one new construction.) If I wanted to live in the suburbs I would. I’m increasingly disappointed with UIC suburbanizatiion strategy. They spacing between buildings its out of character with the neighborhood.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I’m completely sympathetic with this viewpoint. However, I don’t think I’d characterize it as suburban. The ~25ft wide city lots are very tight, even for an urban setting. That said, UIC is squeezing in five home on tight lots on Gibson in FPSE. My view is that the city needs much more housing diversity. As long as UIC doesn’t start adding front-facing garages, building single-story homes, or putting homes of 75-100′ lots, then I think it’s OK.

      • John R.

        I don’t see anything wrong with single-story homes per se; I think a modern variation of the flounder with universal design and aging-in-place in mind actually would be a nice addition to the market.

        • kjohnson04

          Single story homes are fine, but when the space between them is large enough to park cars between them, or some cases an entire building, some oversight is necessary. iI would love for some of these gaps to be filled with half-flounder homes; the would give the street line a variety that we’re lacking at present.

          • John R

            No doubt…. I think low-maintenance, affordable modern flounders with a good site plan can fit very well as a piece of the Saint Louis infill puzzle.

          • onecity

            I’m going to bring up lighting. In looking at city real estate, the one major bummer is the amount of natural light the platting tends to allow. Having an extra 7 or 8 feet of space on the sides of a building (40-45 ft lots compared to existing 25-30 ft) is HUGE for improving indoor natural lighting. As a person with a tendency toward SAD, I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

      • kjohnson04

        I agree..but there tends to be a slippery slope on this. I’m half expecting one house to appear on the corner of Blaine and Klemm. a fallow piece of land that one point had very savable multifamily building on it.

  • Not Buying It

    There may not have been large scale land clearance but much more insidious tactics were used during this time frame to “turnaround” the Grove. A recent report for the Affordable Housing Task Force “The Right To Stay Put: City Garden Montessori School and Neighborhood Change” examines the shift in demographics along with the qualitative data from 2000-2010. To put it lightly – it’s not such a pretty picture. So before you go jumping up and down with glee over the Math think about all of the displaced people and families at the hands of the thirsty developers, the “community development corp” Park Central , and Alderman Roddy – who personally campaigns to drive out black people from Forest Park Southeast.

    • rgbose

      Can you upload or link to a higher resolution version of that?

      • Not Buying It
        • kjohnson04

          I haven’t had a chance to read it gross detail, but the report is troubling. it suggests that we’re a crossroads.

          • Not Buying It

            The demographics listed are 5 years old. I would put the population loss at around 45-50% and sinking. Especially with the policies being written by Alderman Roddy to chase POC out.

  • Amy Gill

    Do you promise? Cause I will be waiting:) Amy Gill

    • Alex Ihnen

      From just what I’ve seen in the last couple days in The Grove, not sure anyone would bat an eye. This is a fun place.

    • John R

      Amy, if you promise not to giggle!

  • John R

    If all the older buildings on Manchester that have current building permits issued indeed get rehabbed and leased well that in itself will be a tremendous boost even without the infill. And if you see someone streaking down the Grove in celebration of the corner building @ Tower Grove & Manchester finally get rehabbed, that very well may be me!

    • Michael B

      Some of those older buildings are far cooler looking than the new infill, and that’s coming from someone who really likes most of the new infill. In addition to the one you mentioned, buildings like the one across Manchester from Soho, the one across from Manchester Food Market, the one between Melroy’s and City Greens, the ones to the right of Grove Properties, and the ones that say “Kampe Supply Co” and “TomCraft Co.” across from O’Shay’s (sorry I don’t know the addresses without walking by): all of these have cool architecture that is true to the neighborhood character, and would look stellar if they were only moderately rehabbed. Of course I don’t know what they look like on the inside, but to see those buildings in use again would be a wonderful sight and a huge boon to an already booming neighborhood.

  • Daron

    I wouldn’t credit tree removal and new badly designed sidewalks too much. Bright signs, pop-up stores, shakespeare, and businesses willing to water the new trees the city abandoned should get a lot more credit. Murals, big anchors like Urban Chestnut, and a whole lot of renovations did more.

    • rgbose

      I wasn’t trying to. The purpose is to point out how little infrastructure investment it might take to help a place as a contrast to the massive infrastructure subsidies it takes to activate an auto-oriented low-productivity entirely shiny and new place on the edge of the region that too many perceive as success.

  • Michael B

    Love seeing this type of analysis. It’s great to put cold numbers (or hot numbers in this case) behind the hype about The Grove. With Cortex finally starting to resemble its plan, multiple cranes on the horizon in midtown and the CWE, and continuing development on the Vandeventer and Kingshighway ends of Manchester, I could not be more excited about the direction of this great neighborhood.