Marijuana Dispensary Uses Art to Create Lively Streetscape for Former Warehouse

marijuana dispensary

SWADE cannabis, a St. Louis-based medical marijuana dispensary, announced the grand opening of its third location on April 16, 2021, a gem etched on the bustling street of Manchester Avenue in The Grove. The long-vacant location has since undergone extensive renovations resulting in a 7,500-square-foot storefront, which includes contemporary fabrication and finishes plus state-of-the-art systems and security.

“Being the largest SWADE Dispensary to date, special attention was paid to all aspects of the design to highlight The Grove location as our flagship store and hiring local talent from beginning to end, only solidified our goal of creating a destination admired for heavy doses of nostalgia,” says Tom Muzzey, CEO of BeLeaf Medical. “This store is a dedication to the creative, vibrant spirit of St. Louis encapsulating a strong collaboration of local talent.”

SWADE cannabis, a St. Louis-based medical marijuana dispensary, announced the grand opening of its third location on April 16, 2021, a gem etched on the bustling street of Manchester Avenue in The Grove.

MIN+ Architecture was hired when the SWADE partners saw this once-empty warehouse as a prime opportunity to create a statement space. The design team embraced the industrial character of the building shell by exposing the steel roof framing and portions of the interior masonry. New steel beams were installed to maintain the expansive ceiling height and to allow natural light deep into the space. Two new custom cantilevered canopies highlight the
new entry and exit.

Although the majority of the brick and block front façade was maintained, it was critical to the SWADE team to find a way to activate this solid wall and contribute to the lively commercial streetscape on Manchester. A local street artist, Jayvn Soloman, was tapped to design and install a custom mural. He was tasked with artistically interpreting the SWADE brand and creating a colorful destination that would stand-out amongst other notable murals throughout the neighborhood and the results are phenomenal.

“In keeping with the eclectic and colorful vibes of the neighborhood, the Grove location boasts numerous artistic collaborations, including a branded luminous ceiling print by Dave Bour at SuperDog Content, custom designed vinyl graphics by Donald J Fedorko at ImprovEyes, a colorful floral wall installation by the SWADE marketing team, interior benches made from reclaimed Douglas fir by local furniture designer Jermain Todd with Mwanzico and open space for showcasing a rotation of local artists’ work,” explains Meg Holmes, principal at MIN+ Architecture. “All of which adds up to a unique, must-see space for reasons beyond just medical marijuana.”

Cissell Mueller Construction Inc. focused its efforts on making the building structurally sound and bringing it up to current codes as MIN+ focused on the design and finishes. The other dispensaries have earthy tones and finishes, while the Grove has much more color, light and movement. Cissell Mueller and MIN+ always wanted to maintain the
building’s history.

“During demolition, we got a glimpse into the buildings history when we discovered a hidden whiskey barrel that could be accessed by removing a few bricks to draw the whiskey out. It was exciting to find this piece of history, possibly hidden during the Prohibition era, and to envision the evolution into a modern dispensary,” says Morgan Stearn, project administrator for Cissell Mueller. Another special feature at the Grove location is the rear indoor parking and overhead door access at the front and rear of the building. The rear parking allows for more security and storage while the front overhead door allows SWADE to open up to the outside for community events.

“Legalized, medical marijuana sales along with thriving, plant-based medical marijuana use, is proving to be a strong economic force,” says Kevin Riggs, co-founder at BeLeaf Medical. “We are thrilled to continue to grow and expand our operations into downtown St. Louis.”

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