Planning A Bright Future for this River Town

Laura Wyeth/The Wyeth Stover Team, BHHS Stein & Summers Real Estate, and the Future of Downtown

Laura Wyeth has many fond memories of downtown. “Our father was an attorney at St. Joseph Light & Power for 28 years. We would come down to have lunch, or go to the dentist, visit dad in his office and then go shopping. You could go from shop to shop, looking for just
the right thing. There was a lot of traffic, the sidewalks and stores were full. We want to see that again.” Beautifully crafted Buildings stand quiet, ready to be useful once more.
With Mosaic renovating the German American Bank and relocating 220+ employees from the Belt to downtown, and individuals rehabbing once empty, deteriorating buildings (Rick Gilmore/Paradox Building on 6th St has a main floor venue and 12 market rate loft apts that rent $995-$1,200/mo), Marcia Hayes moving the Ground Round restaurant from the Belt Hwy to the corner of Edmond and 7th, Winston Bennett brought the Kirkpatrick Building to life (filled w/ retail, restaurants
on street level and upper floors filled with office space) as well as working on the Trail Theater, Pat and Terri Modlin buying the building at 8th and Felix, rehabbed the 2nd floor (Room 108) to amazing concierge venue space including roof top bar) are just a few examples of how the revitalization has made downtown a living, breathing, historical district of our city.
THE BEGINNING:
Laura (Stover) Wyeth and Lynne Stover (Dempster) were born and raised in St. Joseph. They have raised their families here and are committed to making St. Joseph the best it can be. They have sold real estate together since 2002 including many historic homes and historic and commercial buildings down town. The Wyeth Stover Team has been working for over a decade on downtown revitalization long before it was considered “cool”, long before the improvements that are currently changing the face of the city, changing how it looks to the people who live and
work here, changing a downtown that has begun to draw out of towners, looking for something unique, whether it be a freshly made crepe or a great cup of coffee. “For the Wyeth Stover Team, it really began with the 2006 sale of the United Building (Rep the seller)” Laura Wyeth said. “That was before anything was really
going on downtown. People would ask why we would waste our time – that it was never coming back. Lynne and I always had a vision of downtown revitalization, not to be the downtown of old with big department stores, 20 shoe stores…but an arts and entertainment district with people living and working downtown and supporting the local shops, restaurants and Arts. Since the sale of the United Building back in 2006 we have been involved in many of the sales of buildings that now are in use, whether it is office, retail or restaurants, it is one way we can support the community we care so much about.
THE VISION:
We have always been big advocates of downtown revitalization and have always been optimistic for the comeback we see now.. We were honored this year by the real estate community receiving “Keeping
the Dream Alive” award for our efforts downtown.”
Over time, the sales and improvements to our neighborhood have doubled and tripled in scale. From my apartment window atop the Townsend and Wall Building on Francis, an icon of downtown that once servedas a department store that clothed the community, I can see the changes, old parking garage at 8th and Felix knockeddown to make room for a new one, larger, better lit and aesthetically pleasing one,
as well as the street level retail space. I see stores and restaurants coming downtown passing up the Belt Highway.
“Lynne and I are not just here to sell buildings or lease space. When we sell a building we hope that the new owner
will rehab it, put in a small business and add to the community. “ Wyeth spoke w/ a smile on her face. “We love what we do, we live St. Joseph and we don’t stop with a sale closing or a lease signed. We support it by volunteering, getting the word out on social media, frequenting the businesses and restaurants.. and updating the public on progress of different projects.”
As she speaks, it is clear that she believes in downtown, believes in the City of St. Joseph, and all that reside within.
She wants people to know that she and her sister, Lynne Stover, are there, behind the door of an empty storefront, or
vacant building that could be converted to market rate apartments or a boutique hotel. She believes St. Joseph is a city of possibilities waiting to be taken, chances wagered on a City with nothing but brightness in its future.
The Wyeth Stover Team, BHHS Stein and Summers Real Estate, has big plans for the Light & Power Building located
at 520 Francis St. “The building is under new ownership. We have 5 floors of prime, professional office space here with a variety of options: single offices, suites or an entire floor. Shared reception will be offered, furnished offices or unfurnished. The parking lot across the street will offer private parking. Lynne and I will have a marketing/leasing office in the building.
We have started leasing with the main floor (Tuning Fork Magazine will have a suite of 3 offices and a reception area beginning in April ) and we have leased offices on the2nd floor. Our big push will be in April where we will have a Chamber ribbon cutting and reception. Wyeth continues “All of our listings are important to us and we give 110%. This one has sentimental value as we know our father who passed away in 2011, would be happy knowing our involvement and having an office where he spent many years as an attorney.
THE CONTINUING PLAN:
Wyeth has big ideas for downtown in general. “Lynne and I want to make downtown a destination, a place to spend
a day, an evening or a weekend. We want people to have breakfast downtown (fresh crepes at Brioche French Bakery and Cafe, shop at Nesting Goods or Dizzy Door. Have lunch at Geneo’s Pizza, Bad Art Bistro, Longboards Deli Wraps or grab coffee at Cafe Pony Expresso or Mokaska.”
Pick up some vintage attire at The Lucky Tiger or something new from Mod Podge or Wild Layne Boutiques. Pampered and Polished Salon is a great place to get a manicure, pedicure, hair
and eyelash tinting and extensions. In the evening, have a smart cocktail at Ostrea Oyster Bar or The Tiger’s Den before the Symphony or a show at the beautiful Missouri Theater. The Ground Round is a classic place to meet for Happy Hour and if you are craving delicious Cuban fare, 1785 is the place to go. You can also check out a band and grab a beer at the Rendezvous. Warm weather means live music in the park, or on the patio at Bad Art Bistro or Jake’s Steakhouse.
Wyeth continued “There’s so much going on here, so many fine businesses and others on the way (Manic Snail handmade gift cards, wrap and party supplies as well as Felix St. Gourmet Wine and Cheese) and others on the way. The Wyeth Stover Team has big plans for First Saturdays May 5th. The Apple Blossom Parade ends at 8th and Felix. We are promoting Discover Downtown to encourage people to walk around and see what is new. The stores and
restaurants will have all kinds of things going on and Lynne and I are volunteering to do what we did at Christmas with pop up storefront displays in empty spaces as well as help any current businesses that request it. We want people to not only see what is currently here but what could be. To show that St. Joseph and downtown have a very
bright future.
Our downtown has every resource, every chance to become a place like Westport in KC, The District in Columbia,
or The Market in Omaha. Downtown St. Joe is growing and changing, reshaping how some in the city may see it, all coming along how Laura Wyeth and her sister, Lynne Stover, city council elect/business owner Brian Myers, the Downtown Association, First Saturdays group, and other like minded individuals such as Larry Buck, BHHS Stein and Summers realtor, St. Joe music legend and long time downtown advocate, and other like minded individuals, that have the best interests of downtown at heart; ones that strive and work towards a downtown, a city, that could become a shining example of what could be done when the community gets behind something they love, something they believe in, utilizing the classic architecture as a way to take Downtown into the future while preserving the past.
We want to see the downtown area grow and change. We want the people to take pride in who they are as a society and be there as we grow ever closer to the gem that is ready to shine.

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