Pagedale, one of St. Louis County’s many municipalities, sits just north of University City. Recently, a new movie theatre opened there, called 24:1 Cinema. It is named for the 24 municipalities that feed one school district: Normandy.
The new cinema is owned by 24:1 Land Trust, a part of of Beyond Housing, which is working to add many other features to the community, such a bank. The group previously opened a grocery store in Pagedale in 2010. Chris Krehmeyer, the president and CEO of the community development organization Beyond Housing, joined “St. Louis on the Air” on Monday to discuss the movie theatre as well as the other Vision 24:1 initiatives going on in the area.
“The reality is that what the cinema does, because it is down street from the Save-A-Lot we built 5 years ago, catty-corner from the four-story senior building and full-service bank we built 3 years ago and soon, across the street, there will be a coffee shop and a financial advisement facility as well,” Krehmeyer said. “The idea is that we’re building momentum of a place. We’re saying ‘Yes, you get the basics: you get food, you get shelter’ but the fabric of a place is not just the basics, it is something else, like entertainment.”
Krehmeyer said that the theatre is operating on target with revenue goals, despite the fact that its tickets to first-run movies such as “Spectre” and “Peanuts” are sold below market value: $7.50 for adults, $4.50 for kids.
“They can stay in their community and leave their tax dollars in the community,” said Krehmeyer, because the developments in that area are part of a Tax Increment Financing initiative.
Krehmeyer said that the grocery store is also making money and that sales have averaged a five to six percent increase annually. “Yes, there is a profit to be made,” Krehmeyer continued. “And when that profit comes back to us after it cycles through all the different places it cycles, we’re going to reinvest it into the community.
“Same thing with the movie theatre—if our projections come true, and we feel confident about the projections, it is going to generate revenue over time and that revenue will be reinvested in the community. That’s the sole purpose why we wanted to be in charge of the TIF because we believe there was revenue and profits to be made and we wanted it to be us, because we would put it back in the community.”
Krehmeyer hopes that what Beyond Housing is doing in Pagedale will be a blueprint for what other municipalities in the 24:1 area could do as well as the Normandy Schools Collaborative. That’s not without challenges, though. Bringing the Pagedale project to scale, expanding work into early childhood education and getting Normandy’s accreditation are just a few of those challenges.
“If we’re going to make this community better, if we’re going to believe in this idea that home matters, we have to focus not just on one thing but on all things that make up the fabric of a place,” Krehmeyer said.
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"St. Louis on the Air" discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter and join the conversation at @STLonAir.