For a hype man, Brooks Goedeker is not an amped-up guy—not really ever, but specifically not on the November afternoon I’m riding shotgun in his Ford Explorer. We’re rolling east on Chouteau toward Grand (both wearing masks) and he’s making the case—in his slow, quiet way, and as an ambassador for Saint Louis University and SSM Health in their bid to lure private investment to Midtown—that sure, this industrial patch of the city may look bleak, but it could be The Next Big Thing in the city’s central corridor, that belt of prosperity between Forest Park and the Arch. Or, to use Goedeker’s phraseology: “It’s totally set up to succeed.”
That’s tough to refute, by this point in the day. We’ve just visited the Element Westin hotel (a $40 million project) and City Foundry ($346 million), on the north side of Highway 40, and then, on the south side, the Armory building ($55 million), Steelcote Lofts ($9.5 million), and the adjoining Mill Creek Flats site ($26.5 million). Right outside Goedeker’s driver’s side window, just across from the new $550 million SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, is the site of the proposed 14-acre Iron Hill complex ($335 million), which is expected to draw a big-box tenant—a huge deal to the many Midtown and downtown residents who bemoan the lack thereof. And running through this area, besides the MetroLink and the 70 Grand bus route, will be the future Brickline Greenway, a bicycle/foot path designed to connect the whole central corridor, with spurs shooting north and south.