First Bank Clayton properties

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects within the City of Clayton, the center of St. Louis County government.
This from the STL Biz Journal:

First Bank is looking to unload a trio of properties in the heart of downtown Clayton, including the site where its north Clayton branch is located, at 135 N. Meramec Ave.

According to real estate sources close to the deal, the for-sale properties, which also include 8009 Maryland Ave. (the site of Sweat gym) and 8007 Maryland Ave. (the site of a Crushed Red restaurant), are already under contract from another bank buyer with a deal set to close in the next 30 days.

The properties, which are adjacent, have been mentioned as a spot for a large-scale multifamily development.
The article ends with the expert projecting that Clayton market can support another 1,500 units on top of what's in progress.
I noticed a tower crane went up sometime recently. A little curious as to why. I don't think there is a new build permit and I am not sure why they need it for renovations.
If this is for the curved mid century tower, maybe for the terrace on top of the front one-story section for the executive's apartment? Or maybe just for the glass panels in the new curtain wall.
btw, I love this building and am really sad to see another short sighted recladding.
aprice wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:02 am
If this is for the curved mid century tower, maybe for the terrace on top of the front one-story section for the executive's apartment? Or maybe just for the glass panels in the new curtain wall.
btw, I love this building and am really sad to see another short sighted recladding.
I am guessing it is for that building because I don't think they have a new construction permit for any of those lots. It is also right up against it. I drove by on Brentwood Blvd though so I didn't get a great look. I plan to drive up Meramec tonight or tomorrow to get a better look at it. I wondered why a bunch of traffic was filtering into Brentwood Blvd yesterday morning (there was a bus having to make a U-turn on the neighborhood-y part of it), I think they were putting it up then and there was a detour around it.

I am just surprised they aren't using a mobile crane. It doesn't seem like they should need a tower crane.
Crane pic.

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I really like this building. I hope they're not about to muck it up.
We are crane crazy right now!
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Are there any updates about the adjacent land. I thought I had heard they were going to kick red crush out and build something there.
That's a long way from perfect, but it's not remotely as dire as I feared. I wish they'd simply have done a sensitive restoration, but at least it doesn't feel like a complete reskin.
So they've taken a vintage building with texture and character, and turned it into a faceless facade. More or less.

Actually, I agree with SP; it's not as bad as I had feared. I guess in 30 years it'll be easy enough to restore the original look.
The new windows are a HUGE improvement. I’ll snap another pic now that they’re almost finished installing the shiny new glass.


Look how tired this building looked just a few months ago:

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It's not an improvement (IMO); it's just an update. You know, like in the '50s when they covered up all of that tired old Victorian ornament with shiny new glass and steel.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Sigh.
I have to disagree here... those windows desperately needed help. There's nothing ornate or deeply historic being lost with the new glass wall. And it's not as if they're recladding the entire building. I'm in favor of the new glass on this one.
^I'm willing to accept that the windows probably needed replacing. But I have to say I liked the original rhythm better and the placement back behind the face of the concrete members gave them some depth. That said, maybe in twenty years when the new windows need replacing they can put something more like the originals back in. Hopefully.

Different folks, different strokes. I liked modernism quite a lot. I'll grant you they weren't ornate. They were clean, simple, and interesting. But they were the historic skin of a building that's survived long enough to tell a few stories. What makes something historic apart from surviving long enough to bore the kids with your stories? ;-) Well . . . they were historic. Not as historic as the . . . ahem . . . historic paint or wallpaper that needs removing in some of our more storied houses. But still historic. (And probably less dangerous.)

Yes. The originals were prettier. They matched better. They looked like mod windows. The new ones look contemporary. Reskins happen. Doesn't mean I have to like them.
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I like the new a lot better. The old looks dirty and ugly to me. Like Soviet Russia or something. But I get different people have different tastes.
^I'd guess a lot of that is due to two things:

The old one was aged and worn. The new one is bright and shiney. The old one had typical uncurated window treatments behind it. The new one has no window treatments at all right now, since the area behind the windows has been cleared for installation.

I won't dispute that the old windows, after forty or fifty years exposure to the environment, probably needed replacing. I just think the original placement further back behind the face of the building and the original translucent/transparent striping and full height panes looked neat. The alternating glass types was kind of cool, though probably somewhat more expensive. Putting them back a little further gives neat shadow lines. It gives a little depth. And the current windows will look quite different when the office furniture and window treatments are back in place. I'm sure it will look fine, but . . . less clean than it now appears. It's a somewhat artificial comparison. Not quite apples to apples yet. Wait a year.
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I think a compromise would have been best. And are they really alternating types of glass? I just assumed they were solid panels.

On a personal note: My mom worked in this building back in the early '80s when it was Clayton National Savings & Loan. They used to make fun of the Fulton branch all the time for being a somewhat "redneck" operation. Come 1991, she'd be living in Fulton. That branch is still a First Bank today.
^^ I was wondering if they'd be replacing the glass on either side of the main arc as well. Looks they like will be.

This really seems to be giving the building a new lease on life. I get the concerns around losing some of the mid-century detailing, but I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd demo'd this building entirely for a multi-family mixed-use project (e.g. 25 N. Central Ave.)
aprice wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:07 am
And are they really alternating types of glass? I just assumed they were solid panels.
I wouldn't put any weight in what I said. It was just the way I read the picture. Could be entirely washed up. Solid panels would give the same visual effect: alternating light and dark vertical bands.

Anyway, yes, I'm glad to see the place in use. May not be my favorite reskin, but reskin beats demo most days.