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Lafayette Square: From Food Desert to Oasis

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Lafayette Square is St. Louis’s first historic district (1972), added to the National Register of Historic Places (1973). (Credit: lafayettesquare.org)

Lafayette Square is St. Louis’s first historic district (1972), added to the National Register of Historic Places (1973). (Credit: lafayettesquare.org)

debbie-monterrey Debbie Monterrey
Debbie Monterrey, who joined the KMOX staff in 2003, began her radio...
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by Debbie Monterrey dcmonterrey@cbs.com

Ten years ago, the old City Hospital complex right outside Lafayette Square looked like a horror movie set. There was a grocery on Jefferson, but it was dingy and depressing in a complex that was crumbling.

How things have changed in a decade!

Last week, I attended the grand opening of Fields Foods. It is the first time in my life I ever cared about a grocery store opening! The store is gorgeous, with lots of local products and produce. It’s classy and upscale.

(from Facebook)

(from Facebook)

Fields Foods is co-owned by developer Chris Goodson, Jeff Randol, Sr. and Jeff Randol, Jr.

That decrepit old Foodland on Jefferson had been boarded up for years, but the whole complex got a make-over. There’s now a Sav-a-Lot Market, along with a fitness center, Family Dollar and Subway, among other businesses. What was once an eyesore has been transformed by UIC. Two groceries are now open where once there was none.

Sav-a-Lot opened in the refurbished complex on Jefferson at Lafayette.

Sav-a-Lot opened in the refurbished complex on Jefferson at Lafayette. (Credit: urbanreviewstl.com)

Chris Goodson, whose company, Gilded Age, transformed the horror movie lot into The Georgian (luxury condos), Climb So Ill (designed by UIC), the Palladium (run by Butler’s Pantry) and more to come, is also responsible for the Walgreens in Lafayette Square.

Goodson, who lived in Lafayette Square for years, knew the neighborhood needed a drug store and pitched Walgreens numerous times to build on his vacant lot across from the Georgian. The drug store chain was very hesitant. But now, it’s among their busiest locations.

There are numerous people responsible for the revival of this Victorian neighborhood that surrounds the first city park west of the Mississippi. It’s residents are passionate about its history and its future. Visiting can feel like going back in time

Lafayette Square is St. Louis’s first historic district (1972). In 1973, the U.S. Congress added it to the National Register of Historic Places.

The former City Hospital is now luxury condo development, The Georgian.

The former City Hospital is now luxury condo development, The Georgian. (KMOX file photo)

Can’t wait to see what the next decade brings to Lafayette Square!

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