New Kids on the Block

By Ettie Berneking
In Culture, Feature

The MX development aims to breathe fresh energy into Downtown culture.

 

Under the twinkling lights of Washington Avenue, nestled between Seventh and Sixth streets, new life is emerging this summer in the Mercantile Exchange District. A collection of creative minds and visionaries has been busy over the past two years, transforming this otherwise lackluster block of Downtown into a hotspot for retail, dining, theater, history and urban living. But, the work is far from over. As new tenants settle in and the papered-over windows are wiped clean, the masterminds behind this facelift hope to see a continued revival of the pomp and swagger of Downtown’s glory days.

Live it Up

At the center of the MX District stands the old Dillard’s building, now fully renovated into an Embassy Suites Hotel. One door down is the entrance to The Laurel Apartments, home to more than 200 luxury lofts. eat & play Across Wash Ave is where the bread and butter of the district lies. Pi Pizzeria is opening a new location in the MX Building, with Robust Wine Bar, Snarf’s, Takaya New Asian and more tasty delights moving in soon. And, because there’s nothing better than dinner and a show, the district will also be home to MX Movies, a luxury three-screen movie theater. Due to open in the fall, the St. Louis Cinemas theater will be equipped with a full-service kitchen, allowing movie-goers to order tasty finger foods from the comfort of their seats.

Mixed Merchants

After scouting the best boutiques around St. Louis, Nicole Benoist, director and managing curator of the MX Retail Collective, has pieced together a chic mix of apparel, home de?cor, gifts and paper goods. The 4,300-square-foot space will offer a highly curated retail experience, with plenty of potential for fashion shows and pop-up stores. To create a sense of community, retailers National Blues Muesum rendering will be displayed on an open floor—no doors or walls here.

Coming Attractions

The last piece of the puzzle will be the opening of the National Blues Museum, which promises to be as much of an experience as it is a history lesson. With a tentative 2013 open date, the museum will provide a national home for the blues, a tribute to the music genre that has defined St. Louis culture for decades.

 

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National Blues Museum

National Blues Museum

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Mercantile Exchange District

 

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