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Brick City Makes

The DeSales Community Development Corporation and manufacturing trade group St. Louis Makes plan to turn the former Walsh & Simmons Seating building in the Fox Park neighborhood into a shared space for manufacturers. Photo by Jacob Barker of the Post-Dispatch

St. Louis's economic development arm is throwing its support behind a plan to turn a six-story Fox Park factory into a industrial space for growing manufacturers.

St. Louis Makes, a trade group focused on small to medium-sized manufacturers, and neighborhood organization DeSales Community Development, are partnering to turn the 90,000 square-foot structure on Texas Avenue into an incubator of sorts for small industrial firms.

The $12 million plan calls for rehabbing the structure that over the last century churned out hats, bar stools and restaurant booths. Small firms looking for flexible and affordable manufacturing space are the target. Rents are anticipated to run at about $9.35 a square foot when the building opens sometime next year. 

The city's Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority endorsed a plan to grant the developers 10 years of 95 percent property tax abatement followed by five years of 50 percent abatement. The Board of Aldermen still has to grant final approval.

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Jacob Barker is a business reporter for the Post-Dispatch. 314-340-8291