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Charless Home To Close, Future Uncertain

March 23, 2012 Featured, History/Preservation, South City 1 Comment

A longtime St. Louis institution won’t reach its 160th anniversary:

The Charless Home, which opened in 1853 as the “Home of the Friendless,” will soon be the home of no one.

Bethesda Health Group, which bought the facility in 2006, said Monday [3/19/2012] it will close the home by June 30. Low occupancy and financial losses are the culprits, said Ken Bass, Bethesda’s senior vice president of senior living. (STLtoday.com)

If you’ve been a longtime reader here you might recall my post from June 6, 2006:

Despite the spin in the Post-Dispatch back in April the Charless Home, founded in 1853, is not “merging” with or being “acquired” by Bethesda Health Group. The folks I talked to tell me Charless’ Board is essentially paying Bethesda to take the south side landmark. The Charless Home has prime real estate at I-55 and South Broadway (map) yet the board has voted to give the real estate and millions of dollars to Bethesda in exchange for… well, nothing.

The board, comprised mainly of Clayton & Ladue socialites, is making a huge mistake. I’m told the Charless Home has nearly $17 million in the bank, hardly a distressed non-profit. A few board members voted against giving Charless to Bethesda and instead suggested they take on medicaid patients and consider constructing independent living housing on their grounds. (Full post)

Monday’s article says “ownership will revert to the non-profit Charless Foundation.” The Foundation does have active registration with the Secretary of State (view) but it’s unclear what will become of the property. The property, located in the 9th ward, is in a “preservation review” area so any proposed demolition would be reviewed by the Cultural Resources Office.

ABOVE: Entrance to the Charless Home at 4431 S. Broadway, click image to view aerial in Google Maps

I sent an inquiry to the official board contact and received a reply indicating committees have been set up to gather information to help them asses their options.

– Steve Patterson


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  1. Moe says:

    It was my understanding that the board sold the property and then disbanded.  Rumors had it Bethesda was seriously considering razing and rebuilding…which might happen since the costs to truely convert it to assisted living/nursing home would be more than the building is worth.  Reverting back might be Bethesda’s way to cast aside responsiblity (can we say Pevely here the way Pevely was closed and ultimately abandoned).  The main house would make a GREAT administration building or perhaps one of those dreaded office campuses….but I wouldn’t hold my breath that Bethesday move into the City, so that leaves an office campus of some sort.  Any takers?  But anyway it’s cut, that homes’ days as a home of any sort are over.


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