The $13.9 million Big Brothers Big Sisters Building, formerly a Woolworth store, was McCormack Baron Salazar’s first non-residential development that used a combination of historic and New Markets tax credits.
The landmark 46,000 square foot art deco building is located at the corner of Grand and Olive Streets in St. Louis and serves as the entryway to the Grand Center Arts District. The Fabulous Fox Theatre, a converted historic movie theatre that stages musicals and concerts, and Powell Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony, are neighbors. Historically, the Woolworth store sat at the intersection of one of St. Louis’s busiest trolley connections and was the site of non-violent lunch counter protests during the civil rights movement of the 1950s.
The building had been vacant for many years when Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri choose this site for their 23,000 square foot new headquarters. They were joined by the Kranzberg Cultural Arts Foundation. Together, with McCormack Baron Salazar serving as turnkey developer, they were successful in recreating the space with an eclectic mix of office, cultural venues and art studios as well as street level retail/restaurant space. Also included in the mix are a cabaret and a black box theater operated by Grand Center Inc., and a satellite art and sculpture studio leased Craft Alliance, a St. Louis-based gallery and arts education center.
The impacts of the building have been measurable. Prior to the move to the new space, Big Brothers Big Sisters had never had a single “big” or “little” walk-in off the street to inquire about signing up. With the increased visibility in the new building, the organization welcomed over 600 walk-ins in their first six months.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.