by Debbie Monterrey,

A century old building in the Shaw neighborhood of South St. Louis that’s gone from movie theater to pharmacy to convenience store to nuisance property is getting a new lease on life.

Wild Carrot Community and Event Space is set to open in March of 2018.

Over the century: Shaw Theater (photo courtesy of; convenience store (photo credit: Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development); Wild Carrot in progress (photos by Debbie Monterrey)

Laura Bunch managed an event center in Kansas City in an old Studebaker dealership. When she decided to open her own event center, her siblings living here encouraged her to seek out “untraditional spaces” in St. Louis.

“We have climbed through a lot of old buildings,” says Bunch.  “We have looked in a lot of neighborhoods.”

They finally decided they’d have to just move to St. Louis instead of driving here on weekends looking for a location. Finally, their general contractor, UIC, showed them an eyesore of a property on the corner of Shaw and 39th.

Laura Bunch outside Wild Carrot (Photo by D. Monterrey)

“We loved the history of the building. We needed a building with history and this used to be a theater in 1915,” explains Bunch.

Bunch and her husband, who originally settled in Benton Park, will live in the apartment on the second floor. She says the city “is so cool, we fell in love right away.”

“People who live in the city LOVE the city. They’re super passionate. There’s such a good range of people. You really have that community feel. It’s exciting to see the city grow. Especially this neighborhood.”

Photo Courtesy of Wild Carrot

Bunch isn’t the only one excited about the progress .

“As a 12 year resident of Shaw and director of Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC), [I’ve seen] the previous building suffer from long term and severe deferred maintenance and, over the past several decades, was an ongoing nuisance property,” says Sean Spencer, executive director of TGNCDC. “Wild Carrot will be a solid anchor at a highly visible location and a fine introduction to our neighborhood and city for those who visit for events.”

Come next summer, Bunch hopes to host movies for the neighborhood. Quite fitting, bringing the old Shaw Theater full circle.


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