How did St. Louis’ downtown attract $2.5 billion?

It started with public-private leadership. City officials, business groups, banks and nonprofits formed a public-private partnership, Downtown Now! in 1997 to develop a 5-7 year plan to revitalize downtown St. Louis. The City of St. Louis officially adopted this Downtown Development Action Plan in December of 1999, directing $1.5 billion in public (one-third) and private (two-thirds) investment into four clearly distinct areas (see image).

What makes this work in the real world is that the City focused on specific key sites and projects rather than just general policy, codes and street improvements. They secured key downtown properties for RFPs to serve as model, anchor projects for the rest of the area, and provided developers with historic tax credits that allowed some to reduce their development costs by almost half (25% of the project’s value).

Well, it’s ‘5-7 years’ later, and as described in the previous two blogs, the plan is not only being implemented, it’s overachieving with $2.5 billion in new investment.

I guess they realized there really was a market for this stuff. We all knew that huh?