St. Louis Hills Office Center

Discuss construction activity, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc. in South City -- defined by the area south of Interstate 44/55.
To meet the wrecking ball? ... er-to.html

Interesting comment posted to the blog linked above:

I live in this area and from what I understand a developer wanted to put a large development on this site extending to the old Shell station. The people who owned the old Shell station refused to sell, so all plans to redevelop the site were halted. I wonder if they bought the station, if they are going to work around it, or if they plan to clear the site figuring it will be easier to sell cleared. I do know that the garage section of the building has been closed for years because it is collapsing. Since the building sits on top of the garage......

I live fairly close to this building, and I have to say, I'm not a fan of it. If it could be replaced by something well-designed that would benefit the neighborhood, I wouldn't shed a tear for its loss. If a bunch of fast-food joints go up in its place, then I would have a problem with it.

Even if torn down, Chippewa still has tall buildings nearby in the St. Louis Hills retirement home and Lansdowne medical offices. I would hope then that something tall could remain on this site, but I can only imagine adjacent single-family homeowners wanting nothing of the sort in their backyard, despite the site's history and other nearby tall buildings. Not too many years ago, NIMBY's in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood living next to the retirement home stopped an addition of luxury senior housing with ironic complaints about height and traffic.


This building is awesome-- a true relic! It should be preserved and it can remain a beautiful testament to the neighborhood's mid-century character. Considering that 99% of infill in this city is less impressive than what it replaces, you can bet that existing building will be a lot more interesting to look at than its replacement.

STLgasm wrote:
Considering that 99% of infill in this city is less impressive than what it replaces, you can bet that existing building will be a lot more interesting to look at than its replacement.

That's why I'm inclined to agree with you. On one hand, I wouldn't mind seeing it demolished if it made way for a more attractive design with similar scale and proportions. OTOH, I think we're in too much of a rush to demolish Mid-Century design, and I get the feeling that area NIMBY's would fight any large-scale development and insist on more fast-food restaurants.

I have to think there are ways to improve the aesthetics of the place without compromising the integrity or originality of it. I'd like to see developers give it a try, but I'm not exactly hopeful that this will happen.

I wonder if it could be converted to apartments or condos. Office space just doesn't seem like a viable option, but I could be wrong.

Why the hell are aldermen trying to find tenants or owners? Aldermen are not Real Estate AGENTS. They do not have a license to do this nor are they qualified.

Get a commercial agent. Aldermen have no business being involved in real estate. Also, if buildings without tenants were demolished at the drop of a hat then we would have a lot more green space. This is ridiculous.

This sounds like bad news to me.

I love these older mid-century buildings. Why the hell do people want to tear them down? Haven't we learned anything yet? Such short-sightedness! This kind of building represents the heart and soul of St. Louis Hills. If we loose it now, we'll only be kicking ourselves in another couple of decades.

Does anyone really expect anything other than a suburban-style strip mall to replace it?

I always ask 'What is going to replace it?'

It's not a horrible building, but there are better ones. It all depends on their plan to fill that space. Hopefully not a Walgreens with a Jack-in-the-Box on the corner.

I agree with Framer. Too many mid-century buildings are being knocked down. They will need to present something really good as replacement to convince me.

The replacement plans had a 5 story building with I believe residential, and retail, and maybe office. I don't know what the plans are now, but the building is not structurally safe.

^Those plans sound promising; we'll see. But I can't believe the building is structurally unsafe. It's only what, 50 years old?

I'm a huge fan of the 50's modern look. It's sad that they will more than likely tear this down, and as people have suggested, replace it with some god awful strip retail center. I like the lettering on it. Is it POSSIBLE that the building that replaces it be better? Yes, but it's highly doubtful.

I was in Carr School this weekend. Want to talk about unsafe? This building is fine.

It's definitely not habitable. Sure it can be rehabbed, but it has to make fiscal sense. Is completely rebuilding the garage, plus renovating the structure worth it? You still have a dark building with very low ceilings. I don't much care for this building and I'm a person that does like mid-century architecture. I think that land can have a higher and better use, and the plans I had heard are.

Doug wrote:
I was in Carr School this weekend. Want to talk about unsafe? This building is fine.

Take any pics?

Apparently there may be more to this story. Toby Weiss updated her blog posting saying that she found out the whole story and will have an update soon.

MattnSTL wrote:
I think that land can have a higher and better use, and the plans I had heard are.

I hope so. I'm just afraid that someone's idea of better use is a Quick Trip.

^I sure hope not, and I would hope the neighborhood would strongly fight any proposal like that.

slumlord what? maybe something cool will be built in it's place :D

How about a Verizon store with a giant parking lot?

This just plain sucks.

^ It does suck. And unfortunately, it's not the least bit surprising. :roll:

I noticed earlier this week that they were beginning demolition work. I've been in Grafton at Pere Marquette State Park the last few days, and I wonder if there will be anything left of this place when I return to St. Louis this weekend.

I figured that office use wasn't feasible, but I thought maybe these would make for some attractive apartments or condos if the space inside was appropriately reconfigured. St. Louis Hills architecture is special in its own right. It reflects the national trends of the era in which it was built, and it provides a natural and overall attractive transition from the denser development to the east to the auto-oriented suburban development west and south of the River des Peres. And underappreciate gems like this soften the blow of later suburban development- they keep Chippewa Street from looking completely like Anywhere USA.

Unfortunately, we live in a community where the cliche seems to be "All good things must meet with the wrecking ball", so here we go again. I may be wrong and unfair, but I get the feeling that Alderwoman Baringer will one day laud the Ruby Tuesday or the AT&T Cellular store that replaces this building as progress and proof that the area is moving forward. Another mid-century building with potential lost. Sometimes I wish I didn't give a damn.

I don't understand why these south City aldermen, Gregali and Baringer, don't use eminent domain when perfectly appropriate: Avalon and this building. Are they simply lazy? Do they not value historic buildings? Both are "eyesores" by definition of the neighborhood, and the owners are nuts. The office building violated fire codes. That is blight. Developers would like to have both properties, especially if they were in better condition. So I don't understand why ED wasn't used years ago when both buildings started to go downhill. If Baringer will personally relocate tenants, then why won't she take the time for eminent domain? It wouldn't be politically bad since both the neighborhood and developers would like to see it occur. What is the explanation? Does she simply want another fast food joint?

The negligence and apathy make me sick.