October 25, 2016 | Liz Austin

The Jefferson Commons redevelopment project revitalized a former food desert in the Gate District, bringing 80 new jobs and a grocery store to the neighborhood.

When we completed our Jefferson Commons redevelopment project three years ago, we knew that, if properly utilized, the space could provide convenient retail options and much-needed employment opportunities to local residents.

The 56,000-square-foot Gate District site — once home to a Kroger grocery store — is located in a nationally recognized food desert, or an urban area with a marked dearth of healthy fresh food options. Our $8 million investment sought to address this deficiency, enacting positive change in the neighborhood by establishing a designated space for affordable grocery and retail shopping.

save a lot market

Building a Community

We began our renovation with the goal of expanding the commercial options available to local residents. To that end, we hosted regular community meetings within the Gate District neighborhood to select the specific retailers that would establish their businesses in Jefferson Commons. We’re happy to say that these meetings were a success, and several of the original attendees have since taken jobs at Jefferson Commons retailers.

Furthermore, the Gate District’s unemployment rate is 7% higher than the national average, and we recognized Jefferson Commons’ potential to provide much-needed job opportunities while stimulating the local economy. In pursuit of this aim, we hosted health and job fairs during renovation to engage low-income and minority groups in the community.

The current tenants in the refurbished main building are Save-a-lot Market, H&R Block, Fit City, and Upscale Beauty Supply. We also constructed an out-lot building on the site, which houses Subway and Wing Zone. With approximately 80 new positions created for Gate District residents, Jefferson Commons has certainly been a success — and as additional retailers move in, these numbers will only grow. After eight years of vacancy, the site is now a thriving center of commerce for the Gate District.

As with all of our projects, the redevelopment of Jefferson Commons involved highly methodical and thoughtful planning, and we’re confident that the site will continue to give back to the local community for years to come. Our high quality workmanship speaks for itself: in 2013, the project was recognized as the City of St. Louis Development of the Year.


In order to benefit future generations of Gate District residents, we redeveloped Jefferson Commons in accordance with a rigorous sustainability platform. The building is retrofitted with a 99Kw rooftop solar system, which generates more than 16% of the building’s energy needs. Additionally, the outdoor areas within the Commons have been landscaped with native plants to minimize the need for frequent watering. We’re proud to say that this attention to green building practices has earned the site LEED certification.

Of course, we did not sacrifice aesthetic details in our pursuit of sustainability: the Commons’ new, improved façades feature sleek metal transoms and components, and LED lights now illuminate the parking lot. Stylish renovations that also benefit the surrounding community and environment: consider it the Green Street touch.

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