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BJC hopes to build bridges, help re-energize community as a Delmar DivINe tenant

July 30, 2021
July 30, 2021

As a tenant in the Delmar DivINe, BJC HealthCare will be helping to build a bridge. Not over a river or ravine, but across a divide that has long symbolized social and racial inequity in St. Louis.

Historically, Delmar Boulevard has been a dividing line between neighborhoods with a predominantly Black population and limited access to economic, educational and health resources, and predominantly white neighborhoods that are economically well-off and well-served.

The Delmar DivINe, at 5535 Delmar Boulevard — the site of the former St. Luke’s Hospital and closed Connect Care facility — hopes to bridge the divide by providing space for St. Louis-area non-profit and service organizations and several businesses, along with about 150 affordable apartments.

The Delmar DivINe, like the tech-focused Cortex district to the south, is intended to foster collaboration and innovation among the tenant organizations, and, crucially, to make their services more accessible for community members. The development is designed to be a catalyst in the surrounding area – building community, ending inequities and connecting a divided St. Louis.

BJC plans to open the BJC Career and Community Hub Connection Center at the Delmar Divine in December, says Terrie Hart, BJC manager for workforce diversity.

“The BJC Career space will be used for the community to explore BJC careers and apply for jobs,” Hart says.

“We’ll have rooms for candidates to use for their virtual interviews, and we plan to hold career workshops like resume writing, how to apply for jobs and professional presence.”

In addition, St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Raising St. Louis program will be utilizing the space as a “community hub” — the fourth such hub for the program.  

“We utilize the hubs as a gathering space for community programming,” says Greta Todd, St. Louis Children’s Hospital executive director for diversity, inclusion and community affairs. “We offer all kinds of classes and resources, such as mothers support groups, yoga, a father’s class, breastfeeding support, resume writing and fun events like Pancakes & Pajamas or Thanksgiving dinner. It is also a place that our parent educators or community health workers can meet with families if they are still building trust and are not yet invited into their homes.”

The space may also be used for video consults, eventually.

“We are looking forward to sharing the space with Career Connection, as jobs are often one of the top needs for the families we serve,” Todd says.

The Delmar DivINe and BJC’s involvement in the project was spearheaded by local philanthropist and Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark. Clark sits on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Board of Directors and its Nominating, Governance and Diversity Committee.

When Clark came upon the vacant Delmar site several years ago, she envisioned it as a place to locate organizations, businesses and residents who could help re-energize the area.

“The entire concept for BJC’s Career space was designed after Maxine proposed that it is often difficult to navigate while on our campus for those seeking employment with BJC,” Hart says. “We pitched what we envisioned BJC occupancy could look like and we have been planning towards ever since.”

The Delmar DivINe was originally slated to open in December 2020, but construction was postponed by the pandemic.

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