2015 Most Enhanced
Thanks to our Generous Sponsors!
Mangrove Redevelopment, RISE Community Development, South Grand Community Improvement District, SPACE Architecture + Design, J.E. Novack Construction, The Magic Chef Mansion, Paul and Amy Mittelstadt, the CWE Experts, STL-Style, Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corp, and Grove Properties!
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The following is an edited version of Executive Director Andrew Weil's comments at the award ceremony, which took place on Thursday, May 28th at the Boo Cat Club (original Artists' Guild building) at 812 N. Union. All photos provided by property owners.
1956 Wyoming Founded in 1999, Garcia Properties is a family owned and operated real estate, management and redevelopment company that is based in south city. The Garcia family is clearly passionate about revitalizing St. Louis and the excellent work they do on many challenging neighborhood buildings provides abundant evidence of this passion. The combined commercial and residential building at the corner of Wyoming and Wisconsin in Benton Park is a perfect example of how the work of Garcia Properties has transformed formerly blighted properties into anchors of neighborhood stability and value. With the help of Preservation Consultant Melinda Stewart, the Garcias converted nearly 4,000 square feet of vacant, decaying space into a stunning new open concept residence with a central staircase with cupola skylight, 9' to 14' ceilings throughout, four bedrooms, two and a half baths, master suite and rehabbed historic garage plus a 2-car garage-port. This my friends is the definition of making the BEST of a bad situation and an illustration of how neighborhoods come back to life. Congratulations to Garcia properties. The preservation consultant on this project was Melinda Stewart and the contractor was Garcia Development.
1600 N. Broadway Bissingers' Handcrafted Chocolatiers The rehabilitation of the 1910 Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad Depot as a new headquarters and factory for Bissingers represents not just a new lease on life for a significant historic building, it represents a transformational investment in an area of the city that has been in decline for too long. Located in the heart of the north riverfront industrial historic district, this building and those that survive around it represent links to St. Louis' history as a rail transfer hub and an industrial powerhouse. After the MO K T railroad (for which our Katy Trail is named) departed in the 1980s, the building was used for storage and differed maintenance led to a serious state of disrepair. Fortunately, Bissingers' CEO was determined to keep the business in St. Louis and saw opportunity where others saw blight. While it probably would have been easier and cheaper in the short term to move to a suburban industrial park, the company stayed true to its deep roots in St. Louis and took on the challenge of a historic renovation.
Following an 11 million dollar renovation, the new, old building allows the company to consolidate operations and increase its local profile. The facility includes 85,000 square feet of production and warehouse space, corporate offices, and a fabulous event space called the Caramel Room which features a rooftop deck overlooking the Mississippi and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Clearly, the design of the new space was carefully planned to create an elegant and modern environment that embraces the opportunities afforded by the building's unique location and historic character. The project architect was The Lawrence Group and the contractor was Musick Construction.
Freedom Place, 4011 Delmar When a deadly tornado tore across central and northern St. Louis in 1927, the commercial and residential buildings that once graced the site of Freedom Place were damaged beyond repair. After the area was cleared of debris, developers began speculating that this stretch of Delmar was ready for higher density. Toward this end, construction began on the mid-rise 4011 Delmar Building and was completed by 1928. One year later, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began, putting a halt to other planned mid rise projects in the area. Falling victim to the loss of population and investment in the area in the latter 20th century, the building had become a vacant problem property by the late 1990s. After a failed redevelopment gutted the building down to a shell prior to 2007, the building sat largely open to the elements for six years before the Vecino Group of Springfield Missouri finally figured out how to put it back into productive service. In October of 2014, Freedom Place opened as a supportive housing development dedicated to serving formerly homeless veterans and their families. Operated as a partnership between the developer and St. Patrick Center and with the support of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Freedom Place provides 68 furnished apartment units, community space, and onsite supportive services. The development includes rental assistance, mental health services, four full-time case managers, weekly support meetings, a gym, playroom, meeting rooms, and public living areas. As astutely noted in the narrative provided by the Vecino Group, the building serves as a tangible metaphor of transformation, progress and success for the people who now call it home. Project architect was Buxton Kubick Dodd Creative and the Contractor was HBD Construction.
Rooster The former Hamiltonian Federal Savings and Loan Association building at 3150 South Grand was designed by the St. Louis partnership of Winkler & Thompson. In St. Louis where the mental image of a historic building is inevitably a red brick edifice, this building is unusual in that it was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a worthy application of mid 20th century, International Style design principles to a small neighborhood bank. Following a vacancy of eleven years when the building stood out as a rare void of activity along the otherwise bustling South Grand Commercial District, restaurateur David Bailey recognized an opportunity to expand his family's restaurant empire. Working with SPACE architects, a rehabilitation and restoration of the somewhat compromised original design was planned in addition to a substantial, yet complimentary addition. Returning to the original intent of the building's design, the new ROOSTER space has an open plan whose transparent walls and gracile structural components make the building both feel and look incredibly light. The Baileys are to be commended for their commitment to historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and the revitalization of economic activity in formerly moribund buildings. I believe that the new Rooster represents at least the sixth restaurant they currently operate in repurposed historic buildings around St. Louis and if the rumors are true, there are still more in the works. The project architect was SPACE and the Contractor was Musick Construction.
Blossom House Constructed for Dwight and Marion Blossom in 1910, the Blossom House was once located at the south end of the Blossom family estate. Established prior to the Civil War, the Blossom estate once comprised a large tract stretching to the north and west of the intersection of Union and Enright, just outside the front door this evening. Indeed the antebellum home constructed for Dwight's grandfather Chalmers Blossom once stood on the athletic fields of Soldan High school, although it was torn down in 1942. Boo. Acquired by the St. Louis Board of education in the latter 20th century and used as part of Enright School before being abandoned, the building was sold to a developer who began internal demolition around 2009. The initial plan fell apart and the building sat vacant and open to vandals before being sold to another developer as a component of a package of properties. Skip forward to 2013 when a demolition application came before the City's Cultural Resources Office and preservation board, who wisely denied it following careful evaluation and testimony from preservationists including Landmarks Board member Bill Seibert. Following the owner's statement that the property would be sold for a pittance if a serious developer could be found, Bill started looking for someone who was crazy and skilled enough to take on the project. He found that person in dedicated Landmarks supporter and multiple Most Enhanced Award winner Guy Slay. Guy's Mangrove Redevelopment Company has taken on a large number of very challenging projects in the past with wonderful results. His vision along with that of Mangrove's property manager Chris Colizza, and the hard work of many skilled trades and professionals ensured that this rehabilitation went above and beyond what was necessary to put this building back into service. Mangrove Redevelopment's motto is "Restoring Community, one historic building at a time"; This stunning rehabilitation proves that they talk the talk, and walk the walk and the Blossom House is once again blooming in magnificent fashion. Karen Bode Baxter was the Historic Preservation Consultant, the Architect was Winzen Millennium Design and the Contractor was Mangrove Redevelopment.
3010 Apartments Originally constructed between 1907 and 1911 by Father P. J. Dunne as a home for the frequently homeless boys who sold newspapers on street corners all over the city, the handsome building at 3010 Washington Avenue in Midtown has provided shelter and care to the homeless for more than 100 years. After Father Dunne's News Boys' Home and Protectorate closed in the mid 20th century, the building was taken over by the Salvation Army, which renovated it 1970 as the Harbor Light Center to serve those affected by addiction, chronic homelessness and various disabilities. After more than forty years of intensive use, the building was once again in serious need of renovation. Fortunately, its owners appreciated the quality of the historic architecture and decided to incorporate the building into an ambitious plan to transform surrounding blocks into a hub of services and innovative new facilities for serving many of the St. Louis' most vulnerable residents.
The core of the 3010 Apartments historic rehab was the conversion of the barracks-like institutional housing into apartments for low to very low-income adult residents (veterans and the disabled, especially the homeless, are given preference).This was accomplished without drastically altering the interiors and special attention was given to protecting historic elements. The main entry and its broad staircase were restored. The numerous stained glass windows were retained and repaired throughout (in the stairways, the chapel, the reception room and even in private apartments). The original hallways were retained along with the rhythm of historic millwork including chair rails and the slightly recessed wood panel doors with transoms that serve as entrances to many of the apartments. The chapel now serves as a meeting space and the reception room with its columns and elaborate plaster moldings was reopened and restored to its original appearance.
Besides the renovation of the 3010 Apartments, The Salvation Army's entire Midtown Project will include what is being estimated at over $48 million in new construction on adjacent vacant land. Not only does this project represent a significant historic renovation, the long term plan will restore substantial density and activity to a previously forlorn stretch of Washington Avenue, continuing the momentum that has been building in Midtown for years. Project Architect was Trivers and Associates, the Contractor was E.M. Harris, Historic Preservation Consultant was Karen Bode Baxter.
Union Station Completed in 1894 and designed by Architect Theodore Link, Union Station is among St. Louis' most iconic buildings. It is also certified as a National Historic Landmark, which is the highest level of historical recognition that exists in the US. It is therefore fitting that as a City we honor it, protect it, and USE it for the benefit of our community. Of course, somebody has to PAY for it, and with a building as large and complex as Union Station, this is obviously no easy task. It is hard to believe that it has been more than thirty years since Union Station was first repurposed into a convention center, hotel and festival marketplace. In one way or another, we are all familiar with the story of how this vision worked out. In recent years, much of the festival marketplace shopping mall declined and after three decades, finishes from the great hall to the midway were looking worn. Mid 1980s aesthetics were dated, and some of the decisions that were made as components of the original renovation were, in retrospect, --questionable. For example, streetlights had been installed in the great hall, and slate tile had been laid over intact historic terrazzo. Acoustical dropped ceilings were abundant, and drywall had been used to cover original ornamental plasterwork. And of course there was the color scheme...
Since acquiring the property in 2012, Lodging Hospitality Management, which previously won a Most Enhanced Award for its renovation of the restaurants at theCheshire Inn, has been carefully crafting a new vision for the station that respects its historic significance while laying the most important ground work for any Landmark building, a plan for financial viability. LHM's plans are to be completed in phases, but if the improvements achieved by phase 1 are any indication, Union Station's future once again appears to be bright. Relying extensively on historic imagery, original aspects of the Grand Hall and Midway were restored or reconstructed. 1980s partition walls, dropped ceilings and drywall were removed restoring more open spaces. Newly rediscovered plasterwork was meticulously restored as was the terrazzo in the Grand Hall and the marble in the Midway. Original stairways that had been eliminated or closed were reconstructed or reopened, and the Grand Hall was sensitively updated with new furnishings, a beautiful wood paneled bar and a stunning light show designed to attract new visitors to the updated facility. I am proud to say that Landmarks staff assisted the creators of the light show with historical research and the collection of images. The full list of improvements is too long to cover tonight, but collectively they have built up a new head of steam in one of St. Louis' architectural treasures and put it back on the track, chugging toward success in the 21st century. Project Architect was the Lawrence Group, the Contractor was Paric, Preservation Consultant was Karen Bode Baxter.
Lambert Airport Designed by famed Modern architect Minoru Yamasaki, of Hellmeuth, Yamasaki and Leinweber beginning in 1953, Lambert Airport is a triumph of mid century design. Its innovative use of thin-shelled concrete barrel vaults sheathed in 70,000 square feet of sheet copper was ground breaking at the time and the terminal's influence can be clearly seen at other iconic airports of the day. In 1956, Lambert won an American Institute of Architects Outstanding Achievement award and was later named one of Fortune Magazine most significant architectural achievements of the past 25 years. Of course, the willingness to experiment that resulted in such high praise and emulation meant that, to a certain extent, its designers did not fully understand how the building would stand the test of time. One major issue that arose over almost 60 years was that the copper roof expanded and contracted enormously with temperature fluctuations and, having not been installed with expansion joints, had a tendency to tear itself apart. The copper was also very soft and thus susceptible to damage from hail and other projectiles. This situation reached a tipping point in September of 2011 when a pesky F4 tornado showed up and started bombarding the airport with grapefruit sized hail and chunks of shattered buildings. Due to the extent of the damage, the entire copper roof of the terminal needed to be replaced. Because the roof was considered to be a defining characteristic of the Yamasaki design, precise planning was required to make sure that the new roof was indistinguishable from the old, but that through the use of new materials and installation techniques, it would not repeat the decisions that had shortened the lifespan of the original structure. From the careful consideration of the significance of Yamasaki's original design, through the selection of appropriate materials and installation techniques, through the execution of the roof replacement and the overall repairs to the tornado damaged buildings, the restoration of the Lambert Terminal was a monumental undertaking, and one which Jacobs Global Buildings, Trivers Associates architects, and Airport management should be rightfully proud.
2017 Rutger On a slightly smaller scale and with somewhat more of a delay between the initial tornado damage and the full restoration of the original appearance of the building, the home at 2017 Rutger is an emphatic, if belated middle finger to the tornado that gave it a serious hair cut way back in 1896! Located just north of Lafayette Square, the home was constructed prior to 1875 by railroad engineer John Francis Hinckley. While the Hinckley family survived the tornado that decapitated their home, the building was changed forever-or so they thought. Rebuilt as an expedient, two story version of its previous form complete with a second floor stairway to nowhere. The 20th century saw the home pass from owner to owner before eventually being abandoned in the 1990s. After a decade of vacancy, the shell of the building was purchased by rehabbers Legacy Group Investments. "There were holes in the walls where they used to throw garbage out into the yard and part of the roof was gone" recalled current owner Kara Krawat. The rehab proceeded incrementally across three separate owners and four years before the building was purchased by Tony and Kara Krawat in 2008. In 2012, the decision was made to complete the restoration by rebuilding the original third floor mansard that was depicted on the 1875 Pictorial St. Louis map. Mike Killeen of Killeen Studio Architects carefully designed the new, old mansard and connected it to the former "stairway to nowhere" and to an existing second floor balcony with a stunning view of downtown. This tidy little project, executed by Joe Pupillo of Pupillo Contracting, shows that it is never too late to right an architectural wrong in a city where many incremental improvements lead to landscape scale revitalization.
Old Cathedral When the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis King of France was erected in 1834, its builders could never have imagined the changes that have occurred in its surrounding blocks. From an environment of logs and stones, to a city of brick, to a monument of stainless steel, the old cathedral is one of the few buildings remaining that has essentially witnessed the evolution of St. Louis. The building survived both the catastrophic riverfront fire of 1849 and the equally devastating riverfront clearance of the late 1930s. After facing down all of those years and catastrophes, in the end it was moisture that would prove to be the biggest threat to the building's future. When the Archdiocese of St. Louis decided to embark on a 15 million dollar restoration program (funded entirely by private donations), they chose Mackey Mitchell Architects and Musick Construction Company to lead the renovation effort. Working closely with historic masonry specialist John Speweik of Chicago, stone supplier Earthworks, Evergreen architectural arts and St. Louis Antique Lighting among others, the entire team brought interior and exterior back to life. The ultimate goal was to maintain the building and apply corrective measures while keeping it as historically consistent as possible. This was a labor of love for all involved. Upgrades included extensive stone restoration, window replacement, new HVAC systems, restoration of wood floors, removal of finishes from a 1960s restoration, new lighting and repair of the beautiful mosaic tile floor around the altar. The collective effect is jaw dropping-if you haven't been to see the building recently, I encourage you to go see it for the first time! Congratulations to the St. Louis Arch Diocese and all involved-- thank you for investing your time, money, skill and passion in this irreplaceable piece of St. Louis' history.
Garfield School Every time I drove down Jefferson, I would look at the northeast corner of Garfield School and cringe. The structural issues were so bad that I could see them at 35 miles per hour with a split second glance. Of all the St. Louis Public School Buildings that need to be repurposed, this was one that I didn't think was going to survive. Sometimes I love being wrong. Designed by lesser known SLPS architect George Sanger and completed with WPA assistance in 1936, Garfield closed due to declining enrollment in 2003.
Garfield Place Partners purchased the property from the Board of Education in 2013, by which time the building had been vacant for a decade. Financing for the project was coordinated and assembled by ND Consulting, and Gina Hilberry, principal of Cohen Hilberry Architects, was hired to retrofit 25 apartments, office spaces, common areas, a commercial kitchen and recreational areas into the 42,000 square foot building. The building is now occupied by Peter and Paul Community Services, an organization which provides services to the homeless.
As mentioned, the project was complicated by the fact that the building was suffering from an active structural failure that threatened the entire north east corner of the building. Stabilization required removal of part of the north exterior wall and construction of deep pilings, subsurface beams and new footings at the perimeter of the failing area. The roof was leaking severely and systems were not reusable. However - the main halls and the main stair were undisturbed and have been maintained with original finishes and fittings. Original doors, corridor walls and trim were carefully protected and saved in place. The site has been reconfigured to include a resident's garden, a street soccer field, parking and green space. Solar panels cover the majority of the roof. In addition to being an outstanding example of adaptive reuse of a threatened school building, Garfield Place is a community asset that provides a progressive approach to the problem of chronic homelessness in St. Louis by providing permanent supportive housing to those who need it most. The contractor was BSI Constructors.
1418 Hebert Every year there is at least one project that comes out of Old North or some other indomitable corner of the city that absolutely obliterates the idea that in St. Louis, a home can ever be too far gone to be saved. After a devastating fire in 2005 nearly destroyed 1418 Hebert, and with everything above the second floor completely gone, the building was condemned for demolition by the City. At that point, James Cox and his wife Luz Maria Evans were in the midst of rehabbing their home next door (a project which earned them a Most Enhanced Award in 2013). Although they had their hands full with their own home and raising two young daughters, James and Maria purchased the building to stabilize it for a future rehab so that the 1400 block of Hebert would be able to remain completely intact. Every other residential block within the neighborhood had at least one empty space where a building had been lost, but if James and Maria had anything to say about it, the 1400 Block of Hebert would remain the exception. After stabilizing the building and selling it to a developer who could not find financing, the property returned to their hands in 2011. The house required something between a gut rehab and a reconstruction. Most of the brick structure on the first floor and a portion of the second could be saved, but much had to be completely rebuilt. Most of the joists had to be replaced due to fire and water damage. One original fireplace was saved and is now functional and although it wasn't possible to save the stairs, great care was taken to replicate them. The same was done with windows and door frames following the pattern of the originals. Among the sustainable features of the home is a ground source geothermal system with wells drilled into the backyard. In addition to serving as another remarkable example of the spirit of Old North, 1418 Hebert also embodies the dedication and passion of its owners. The home also stands as an enduring tribute to the late, great Tom Tschetter who served as the contractor on the project as he did with many other buildings throughout the neighborhood that others would have never considered trying to save. The project architect was John Newman, the Contractor was the one and only Tom Tschetter.
4301 Manchester Since Treutler Brothers drygoods first set up shop at the prominent corner of Manchester and Tower Grove in this building in 1909, it has been a lot of different things to the neighborhood we now call The Grove. It's been a saloon, a cigar factory, a restaurant, a liquor store, a vacant eyesore, and now, Reliance Bank! Aside from a very brief occupancy around 2009, this building has remained vacant and deteriorating as the surrounding neighborhood has come roaring back over the last 15 years. Unfortunately, its situation at a heavily trafficked intersection gave a false impression of the neighborhood and thus was the source of perennial frustration for those working to move the community forward. That is why it is so great to see all four corners of this pivotal intersection once again occupied. I would like to point out that it is really refreshing in this era where so many corporations insist on standardized specs for new facilities to see a company like Reliance adapt to the identity of its new 150 year old neighborhood rather than asking the neighborhood to conform to some contemporary pre-programmed building formula. We don't ask for this enough in St. Louis and as a result we get intrusive suburban clone buildings and site plans disrupting otherwise urban environments.
Reliance bank is to be especially commended when one realizes how bad the condition of the building they decided to occupy actually was. Due primarily to water infiltration through holes in the roof, much of the masonry had deteriorated, windows were rotten, the cornice was rotten, even some of the stone window sills needed to be replaced.
During renovation, the mansard was completely recovered, the whole building tuckpointed, AND importantly, the primary entrance was retained in the cast iron storefront at the corner of Manchester and Tower Grove. Oh yeah, AND a thoroughly modern bank was built out in the building's interior. For all their hard work and willingness to make a tangible commitment to the Grove neighborhood by restoring and occupying a wonderful, if non-traditional space, Congratulations to Reliance Bank! The project architect was M+H architects and the Contractor was Sitelines.
Boo Cat Constructed in two phases in 1908 and 1916 as the first permanent home for the St. Louis Artists Guild, the buildings we are in this evening have hosted innumerable gallery showings, plays, lectures, concerts, and poetry readings by a host of artists of local and national reputation. The guild pursued its mission of promoting a high standard of artistic appreciation in St. Louis and supporting local artists at this location for sixty five years before selling the building to a community outreach non-profit in 1973. Throughout subsequent decades the building was adapted to suit the needs of its new owners, and unfortunately a lot of maintenance was deferred. By 2014, layers of alteration and years of neglect had left the building in a serious state of decay.
At this point, Patrick and Carol Schuchard stepped in with a plan to return the building to its former splendor and purpose as a cultural venue and event space. But before this vision could be achieved, much had to be done. Fortunately, excellent historic photos existed to guide the restoration. The replacement asphalt shingle roof on the front side gable was replaced with clay tile to match the original. Replacement aluminum sash windows in the façade were switched out for new replica casement windows and new façade doors on both the first and second floor were installed. The balcony railing over the entry was rebuilt to match the historic photo and the circular frieze elements (hand crafted tiles that are artist's paint palettes and brushes) were cleared of layers of paint and stucco, restoring them across the façade.
A huge component of the rehabilitation was rebuilding the gabled skylight in the gallery, which had decayed and been covered with a drop ceiling. Likewise, the barrel shaped skylight in the theatre space had been roofed over and needed extensive restoration and reconstruction, which was accomplished by Frye Studios.
The floor in the catacombs had been covered with a layer of concrete, which was carefully removed by hand to expose the original brick.
Many, Many, Many things were fixed, replaced, replicated, and restored. Through this work, the Schuchards gave a gift to St. Louis by bringing this beautiful arts and crafts style building back to life at one of the most architecturally prominent corners of one of the most architecturally prominent streets in the city. The architect was Cohen Architecture Company and the Contractor was Patrick Schuchard.