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Huge entertainment venue will open at redeveloped Armory building in St. Louis

Armory 2.png
Green Street Real Estate Ventures
An artist's rendering of the Armory, a complex its developers say will be the largest indoor entertainment attraction in St. Louis.

A $60 million entertainment venue that developers say will be the largest indoor entertainment attraction in St. Louis opens Dec. 9.

The Armory will fill 250,000 square feet in a historic Midtown building that housed the 138th Infantry division of the Missouri National Guard in 1938 and was later the site of the St. Louis Tennis Club.

Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy food, drink and live music in an expansive space that will feature five additional event venues when construction is complete next spring. The complex will also include a St. Louis Tennis Hall of Fame.

“Hopefully when it’s done we’ll be probably the biggest attraction in the region outside of the Cardinals’ stadium. We have the space and program to achieve it,” said Jake Miller of Brick + Bev, which runs the Armory’s programming.

Brick + Bev is a newly formed division of Green Street Real Estate Ventures, which is behind the project. The firm has redeveloped several industrial sites for new purposes — including the Dorris Gear Co. manufacturing plant, which it transformed to a business park, and a vacant machine shop it converted into Rockwell Beer Co.

The Armory will employ 400 people when it is fully built. Many of the positions will be part time but call for 30 or more hours of work per week.

The historic building is located on Market Street adjacent to Interstate 64, a short walk from City Foundry STL, the $300 million redevelopment by Steve Smith’s Lawrence Group that includes a food hall plus office and retail space.

Leaders of Green Street Real Estate Ventures had planned to convert the Armory building into office space, President and CEO Philip G. Hulse said, but those plans fizzled after prospective anchor tenant We Work launched a failed IPO in 2019.

Instead, the building will be the centerpiece of an emerging entertainment district that will span Grand Boulevard to Vanderventer Street, Hulse said.

“We bought everything along that path and we’re going to revitalize this into a mixed-use entertainment district that will attract literally millions of people into the city,” Hulse said. “This is a building that everybody drives by every day, that has been kind of sitting there idle, waiting to be reborn.”

The Armory will include a two-story slide, one of the largest video screens in the city and equipment for dozens of games, including badminton, table tennis and horseshoes. Local cover bands will perform on weekends, and a 60-foot stage will accommodate occasional concerts by national acts. In concert configuration, the space has an audience capacity of 5,000.

The next phase of the development will open in February.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremydgoodwin

Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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