For married pastors Ken and Beverly Jenkins, the road to rehab winds its way through streets once blazing with rage after the police murder of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, past a thrift store and chicken restaurants.
It ends with a life-size emblem of retail divestment – Springwood Plaza, formerly anchored by Schnucks.
Estimated at more than $ 16 million, much of which has yet to be collected, the couple, who are also co-pastors of the Refuge and Restoration church, described the development as the biggest project in the world. history of the nonprofit organization. It is also the largest private investment in Dellwood history, said Mayor Reggie Jones.
By mid-2023, more than 15 years after Schnucks packed and moved about three miles away, the nearly 90,000-square-foot center on West Florissant Avenue is expected to be the site of more than 100 jobs. The Jenkins want to see long-empty storefronts transform into a childcare center, workforce development center, innovation center, health center, bank, restaurant and more. into a church for the 300 or so members of the Jenkins herd.
The couple’s seven-year journey to get their vision off the paper and on the ground was marked by potholes and man-made roadblocks. It progressed through their faith and their ability to see things that are not there.
“When you look at our community, and it was [revealed] a bit during the Ferguson troubles and even more discovered during COVID, we don’t have access to a lot of basic services, ”said Ken Jenkins in an interview with The St. Louis American. “For example, if you live in North County, there are very few primary care physicians. Most people in our community go to emergency care, to the emergency room, to the hospital. We’re running out of banks… so you’ve got a banking desert, and we’ve got payday loans out. [nearly] every other block. We have very little choice for grocery stores.
“So it’s really about fairness, equitable access,” he said, explaining the couple’s “God’s vision” for the project, “that we have the same opportunities here in North County. than anywhere else. “
Jones, who has served as Mayor of Dellwood since 2013, called the development a “big step [in the] the continuation of the march towards the reconstruction of the city ”, after protesters expressed their anger at Brown’s gunshot death in 2014 from storefronts along Florissant.
The association bought the center on September 27 for $ 3.5 million from RMS Properties, based in suburban Chicago. The sale came at least four years after the Jenkins offered $ 2.5 million for the largely vacant center, according to documents reviewed by The American
The Jenkins said having to increase the supply was disappointing and somewhat surprising. A broker said The American he had had difficulty renting the property, with its core of 46,558 square feet
In a 2017 email, an executive at commercial real estate company Hillikercorp said that “their unofficial asking price is $ 2.5 million,” but added, “I’m very skeptical, it’s almost reasonable. .
Daniel Shoffet, a representative for RMS, said he “was not going to speak officially” to discuss the sale and hung up.
Several stakeholders on Tuesday described the owner as difficult to deal with.
Ken Jenkins, who is president of the nonprofit, said he believes there is a larger problem at play.
“We started to see that there was a civil rights issue,” Jenkins said. “Ownership in our community is often overpriced. Even if you got 90% loan from the bank, you still can’t get it. So in essence our community is excluded from ownership… in the community. “
Karen Robinson-Jacobs is the St. Louis American / Type Investigations business reporter and a Report for America body part.