Mid town continues its growth all the time and it seems that the Chaifetz Arena, home of Saint Louis University’s Billikens, is one of the main catalysts.  According the blog on sauce magazine’s website a new establishment called “Field House” opened last week.  They are open daily with the kitchen open til 1AM, something students will love.  The restaurant is located at Theresa and Locust in the new PW Shoe Lofts which is just north of SLU’s campus on the east side of Grand Ave. PW Shoe Lofts has some great pictures of SLU’s campus from elevated viewpoints on their website, presumably from one of the top floors of the building.

Sauce Magazine Field House Blog Post

This area was once known as “Auto Row” because of all the car dealerships that lined Locust.  These dealerships were not the huge lots with multiple locations  that we associate with current dealerships owned by car families that are household names in St. Louis like Sinclair, Londoff, and Suntrup.  These businesses were located in an urban setting with modest showrooms in 1-4 story commercial buildings.  Now these auto row buildings are undergoing renovation and becoming lofts and mixed-use buildings patronized by students, faculty, and visitors to SLU’s campus.

Nothing has brought more new traffic to Midtown recently than the Chaifetz Arena.  It attracts thousands of people several nights a week for basketball games and concerts.   Because of the influx of traffic a myriad of new restaurants and nightlife options are springing up east of Grand Center in this Midtown Alley area that not long ago was almost completely commercial and industrial.  All of the life around Saint Louis University was once west and South of campus moving toward the newly revitalized Gaslight Square and Central West End neighborhood to the west.  A row of college bars have always been the mainstay for students on Laclede Street on the south border of the campus.  Since Chaifetz was built a little over 2 years ago all this has changed.  There is now life north of campus and with all of the great things that going on in Grand Center there seems to be life all around the campus.  There are restaurant and nightlife options in all directions from campus and now the neighborhood is beginning to attract residents who aren’t necessarily students.  SLU has partnered with the Lawrence Group to build Hotel Ignacio, a boutique hotel in Midtown Alley.

As a SLU grad its amazing to see all the growth around campus.  Just 5 years ago there was no pulse to the part of campus on the east side of Grand.   There was no on campus arena and 95% of students that lived on campus lived on the west side of Grand.  I would venture to guess that ratio still holds true with regard to students living on the west side of campus.  However, there are now off campus options to the north and east of Grand and Lindell where there used to be literally nothing.  Something SLU needs to consider as their enrollment grows is building on campus housing on the east side of campus.  This side of campus had only academic halls and biggest parking garage on campus 5 years ago.  Now with Chaifetz built this part of campus doesn’t feel as empty, but with students living there campus would feel more balanced and growth in the Midtown Alley area would come easier as patrons would be closer.  Fr. Biondi may be a controversial figure but he’s certainly a talented real estate developer and I’m sure that his vision is not yet complete.