Maxine Clark’s latest venture got started with a wrong turn. While driving around the West End neighborhood, where the Build-A-Bear Workshop founder opened up a KIPP school, she took a right turn instead of a left. She drove past the building that once housed a St. Luke’s Hospital and then a Connect Care, on Delmar. It closed in 2014. There was a for sale sign.

“I thought, What is going to happen to this area?” says Clark, who left Build-A-Bear in 2013 to focus on her work in improving public education. (She also runs the Clark-Fox Family Foundation with her husband, Bob Fox.) “Here we just [opened] our school, and we have a lot of kids here. What are they going to do with this building? It’ll be like a lot of buildings in St. Louis—it’ll just stay empty for a while.”

Full Story