St. Louis Public Library & Confluence Academy*

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis is home to one of the top public urban libraries in the nation. In part due to the well-utilized public library and its economic impact across the region, the Library Board developed a transformative $70 million Master Plan to renew and restore the Central Library as well as improve the surrounding neighborhood.

One of the first steps in the Master Plan, restoring the best of Cass Gilbert’s original design while updating the Library and its adjacent buildings, was to reuse one of the Library’s vacant adjacent buildings as library office space and as the new home for Confluence Academy, the area’s first college preparatory charter high school. MBS Urban Initiatives’ investment in the library project resulted in the conversion of this vacant downtown building into a complete high school with modern amenities, cutting-edge technology and space to grow.

MBS Urban Initiatives’ $12.72 million investment into the Confluence Academy phase of the project helped to leverage additional public and philanthropic dollars to offer extremely advantageous rates and flexible terms. The equity generated from the tax credits filled a crucial financing gap and helped this phase of the project become one of the first to move forward in the master plan. The investment also catalyzes the full redevelopment plan, expected to bring $300 million in new development to the neighborhood, including housing, retail, commercial space, and social services.

The benefits of this financing are significant: it helps turn a nonperforming asset for SLPL into a revenue generating one, while providing critically needed educational opportunities for low-income students in grades 9-12. An estimated 550 high school students, 75% of which come from low-income neighborhoods, will be served by the school.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.