By Bill Raack, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – Schnucks Markets is opening Culinaria Tuesday on the ground floor of the Ninth Street Garage at the corner of 9th and Olive Streets. The 27,000 square foot facility is the first of its kind downtown since 1985.
Kevin Farrell with the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis says the new store is a big step for the downtown region - and it's 12,000 residents.
"No question that a full service grocery story has something that's been very much at the top of their list. And actually the number two item was a pharmacy and so having Schnucks with a full pharmacy really allows us to sort of check off number one and two on the list of things that residents wanted downtown," Farrell said.
Earlene Bell, president of the Downtown St. Louis Residents Association, says she feels like it's Christmas in August.
"Everybody is just so excited, Bell said. "I didn't realize people would be so happy about a grocery store but food is very important and we've got quality, quality services here."
In addition to offering basic grocery items, Culinaria will also emphasize prepared foods for nearby loft residents and office workers. There's also a pharmacy and a wine bar.
With the opening of Culinaria, City Grocers -- a small market that's been open downtown since 2004 -- will close later this week and re-open next week as a restaurant.