has reached a deal with Levy Restaurants
to bring a high-end destination restaurant to the Central West End.
"I have known Larry Levy since our days together at Ladue High School
, and I know that working with the company that he founded, Levy Restaurants
, will be an integral piece in making our vision for Maryland Plaza
a reality, creating a place that is a destination," Ted Koplar
has come up with the Maryland Plaza refurbishment, which we think is just in a spectacular spot."
is overseeing a $20 million retail, office and entertainment redevelopment of Maryland Plaza
, between Euclid and Kingshighway.
St. Louis approved $3.8 million in tax increment financing for public improvements for the project.
When Koplar approached WET Design about a year and a half ago, he set two conditions for the new fountain: one, that it be more attraction than a landmark; and two, that it be pedestrian-friendly.
The old fountain was not accessible to the public unless you crossed the street to get to it - and not too many folks did that.
"We had a fountain there," Koplar
: "When you come to the Central West End, it's going to be really special."
"Chase Park Plaza certainly has an emotional attachment," says Edward (Ted) J. Koplar, president and CEO of Koplar Properties.
"But the whole idea of that neighborhood, knowing what it was and what it could be, was very intriguing."
has recently closed on the former Greenberg Van Doren Gallery Building and the Medical Arts Building, which line up neatly with the former Saks Building he
inherited in the 1970s.
The properties are located on the south side of Maryland Avenue, between Kingshighway Boulevard and York Street.
envisions trendy, street-level retail in all three properties, topped with two stories of high-tech office space.
Before solidifying the $20 million redevelopment plans, Koplar
visited similar developments in other cities.
discovered that developers and builders across the nation were trying to recreate the feel that already existed in the Central West End.
"The beauty about the Central West End is that we already have what they're trying to build," Koplar
"It's just a matter of reshaping and recreating an ambience that was once there in the past.
We've just got to bring it back again."
Edward (TED) J. Koplar, president and CEO,
, in front of the former Saks Building
Sam Koplar, Ted Koplar's
son, is vice president of business development for Koplar Properties
"If this street is in its current condition, it's going to be awfully hard to (create the kind of conditions we need)," Ted Koplar
The street's trademark fountain will be torn down and replaced with a new, grander one, closer to the sidewalk.
The uneven and virtually undrivable cobblestones of the street will be replaced by colored granite pavers.
"This is going to be a community street," Koplar
"There will be somebody who is totally devoted to promotions and happenings.
Whether we bring in choral groups, or ice carving championships, street entertainment...there will always be something happening."
has attempted to develop the property for years, but was held back by a dearth of parking.
also has his
sights set on developing housing in the neighborhood, as well.
Phase II of his
plan involves the properties on the west side of York Street-which he
has already purchased.
recently reacquired the Lindell Boulevard building in which his
former television station, KPLR-TV (Channel 11), was located, along with the apartment building next door.
The new Maryland Plaza will change that, Koplar
thinks, and he
says people from the entire region will take note.
"We hope it will be a destination," he