People: Joe Edwards’ decades-long commitment to the Delmar Loop

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Since 1972, the Delmar Loop has been transformed from a modest neighborhood with only a few buildings to an exciting and location for all kinds of entertainment and activities. 

Beginning with Blueberry Hill, a local restaurant and music club, Joe Edwards was determined to find success. 

“All I knew was that within a week of opening Blueberry Hill, I realized that if I didn’t work on the Delmar Loop, in general, I wouldn’t succeed,” Edwards said.

Prior to the opening of Blueberry Hill in 1972 and the countless entertainment options that followed, the Delmar Loop had been a desolate place. Edwards, however, was able to see the potential in it for three main reasons: the lower real-estate prices, the cool architecture and Washington University. Next, he decided to approach the community.

Businessman Joe Edwards, who is credited with transforming Delmar Beoulevard, poses with the Loop Trolley. Contributed photo from Blueberry Hill.

“That’s when I started to try and get with the few merchants that were here and City Hall,” Edwards said. 

After numerous meetings, little by little, the area was transformed as planters and dusk-to-dawn lights helped to make the area cleaner and safer. Following this, Edwards began investing in other properties to bring new life to the area, including The Pageant, a concert venue.

“When I built that in 2000, it was a big game changer as far as getting people to go across Skinker to the East,” Edwards said.

Thankfully, younger generations were more willing to try out the new venue and take the risk, but the music drew many guests. 

In addition to The Pageant, there have been other revitalizations, including the Moonrise Hotel and the St Louis Walk of Fame. 

Even with the current success that he has had, Edwards hasn’t stopped with a new development that is looking to be finished soon.

“I’m building a new place right across from The Pageant that should open this summer called Magic Mini Golf,” Edwards said.”

The new attraction will include 18 holes of indoor miniature golf, two lanes of indoor shuffleboards and small five-car Ferris wheel from The Muny, according to Edwards.

To Edwards, it is important that the spaces created are able to be enjoyed by all, meaning the activity doesn’t require you to be good at it.

Guests enjoying themselves inside Blueberry Hill. Contributed photo from Blueberry Hill.

“I just like that people can put their trouble behind them for a couple of hours,” he said.

In addition to the diversity in entertainment, there are also many cuisines offered. Former executive director of the Delmar Loop, Rachelle L’Ecuyer, comments on the diversity of food selections in the Loop.

“There’s almost 20 different countries represented in the food that’s offered in The Loop.”

Some of these options include immigrant-owned Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Mediterranean restaurants. Outside of food, L’Ecuyer even mentions the many minority owned businesses.

  L’Ecuyer, who has focused on real estate development and economic development throughout her career, would find the Delmar Loop to be “one of the perfect examples of… a business district.”

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Rayna Friedman
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