December 7, 2016

Arcade Building renovation key in Webster downtown location

In downtown St. Louis, inside a building along Olive Street built over a century ago, renovators work to make a 20- year project come to fruition. The concrete structure known as the Arcade Building will be Webster’s newest addition to the downtown campus.

Webster’s new Gateway Campus extension to the current downtown location may be open by late 2015 to mid- 2016, a university spokesperson said. The campus will be the final piece of the university’s 20 year project to redevelop the Old Post Office area of downtown St. Louis.

The Gateway Campus, also called the Arcade Building, is a project that came as a result of a partnership between Webster and Dominium Development, an apartment management company. In total, the project is estimated to cost around $116 million. Though the university’s participation in the renovation is projected to cost around $6.1 million. The downtown campus add-on is what President Elizabeth Stroble called, in a press release, the next step in becoming a partner of the St. Louis area.

“Webster University has been the university anchor for downtown St. Louis for 40 years. This expansion marks the next phase of our partnership with the city and those who live and work downtown,” Stroble said in a press release on the Arcade project.

The building is a 19-story concrete structure located across the street from Webster’s Old Post Office location.

Webster signed a lease on the Old Post Office in 2004 that extends through 2019. The Old Post Office location was the launch site of the downtown campus that began what Stroble said is a main goal of the university.

Dominium plans to redevelop the Arcade Building and reestablish it as a landmark downtown.

“Returning the Arcade to its rightful place as a major center downtown is both a challenge and an honor,” said Dominium Development’s Jeff Hugget.

Inside the Gateway Campus:

12 classrooms

Art museum

Auditorium

Private offices

Coffeehouse

More than 200 studio apartments

Gateway Campus Programs:

Cybersecurity program

First responder courses

Master of business administration program and several other business courses.

Proposed lecture and performance series have also been suggested for the new campus.

In a press release, Provost Julian Schuster said the new campus will give Webster students a new path to success.

“To help our students succeed, we must expand their access to all levels of education,” said Julian Schuster, Webster’s provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “The Webster University Gateway Campus will serve as just that – a gateway to a myriad of opportunities discovered through pursuit of education.”

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff Jeff Rainford said the deal took nearly four years, according to a  St. Louis Business Journal article. He said several deals were proposed before an agreement was found.

“Thriving cities and thriving universities go hand in hand; we sustain each other,” said Webster University President Beth Stroble in a Webster Today article. “In this centennial year, we are reminded of our history and pleased to be investing in the historic Arcade Building as the downtown home for our expanding Gateway Campus

In 1980 the structure was named a St. Louis landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Stroble said the university’s relationship with the city of St. Louis will continue to grow in the future. She said the new campus is a step in the right direction towards that goal.

“Just as St. Louis has evolved into a thriving metropolitan region, Webster University has grown from five students and a single building, to serving 60 cities in eight countries on four continents. We have a clear focus on what’s next for us, for St. Louis and for the the world in our next century,” Stroble said.

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