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Arcade-Wright Converted To Affordable & Market-Rate Apartments

I’ve toured the Arcade-Wright building three times. The first was pre-renovation and pre-stroke — more than a decade ago. We walked through the building and up the stairs to the roof — I foolishly wore my cowboy boots that day. The building smelled of pigeon crap. My last two tours, December 10, 2015 and January 2, 2016 were of the newly renovated building. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in March 2003

Before I show you the completed project, let’s review some history. First, the Arcade-Wright is two buildings. The Wright, on the corner of 8th & Pine, was built first — in 1906. More than a decade later the owners of the Wright bought most of the rest of the block and razed the existing brick structures. In 1919 construction began on the Arcade, wrapping around two sides of the Wright and connecting the two.

 The Wright is the bottom right corner of the block in 1909, I added the red dashed lime added to illustrate the area to the right is what became the Arcade. The beige sections are fireproof/resistant construction pink is brick, yellow wood frame. Blue indicates stone.
The Wright is the bottom right corner of the block in 1909, I added the red dashed lime added to illustrate the area to the right is what became the Arcade. The beige sections are fireproof/resistant construction pink is brick, yellow wood frame. Blue indicates stone. Click image to view larger version.

Numerous brick buildings, mostly 3 floors high, were razed to build the Arcade next to the Wright. A similar thing happened in the mid-1920s with the rest of the block — see Paul Brown Building history here. Above you can see a little distance between the buildings, not attached like so many were. This gap remained as the block was rebuilt.

From 9th & Pine we see, L-R, the Paul Brown, Arcade, Wright
From 9th & Pine we see, L-R, the Paul Brown, Arcade, Wright. Click image to view block in Google Maps.
The gap between the Paul Brown & Arcade. Both share the same garage entry on the left. More on this later.
The gap between the Paul Brown & Arcade. Both share the same garage entry on the left. More on this later.
Still on the Pine side (South) we see the Arcade (left) and Wright (right)
Still on the Pine side (South) we see the Arcade (left) and Wright (right)
The 1906 Wright dominates the corner pf 8th & Pine. A coffee shop will be in the corner of the ground floor. The Arcade addition can be seen on the left & right. The cover over the stairs to the North end of the WB MetroLink light rail tunnel can be see.
The 1906 Wright dominates the corner pf 8th & Pine. A coffee shop will be in the corner of the ground floor. The Arcade addition can be seen on the left & right. The cover over the stairs to the North end of the WB MetroLink light rail tunnel can be see.
The 8th Street transition from Wright (left) to Arcade (right). The 8th St entrance is for the Arcade Apartments.Click image to view website.
The 8th Street transition from Wright (left) to Arcade (right). The 8th St entrance is for the Arcade Apartments.Click image to view website.
At 8th & Olive the big bays of the Arcade dominate. Webster University will have a public museum in the ground floor on this corner.
At 8th & Olive the big bays of the Arcade dominate. Webster University will have a public museum in the ground floor on this corner.
On the Olive St side we can once again see the gap between the Arcade (left) and Paul Brown (right)
On the Olive St side we can once again see the gap between the Arcade (left) and Paul Brown (right)
Just to the right of the Olive St entry into the Arcade is a tiny little storefront with a small window display. Not sure how Webster University will use this.
Just to the right of the Olive St entry into the Arcade is a tiny little storefront with a small window display. Not sure how Webster University will use this.
The 2-level retail arcade is completely restored, will be used by Webster University. These types of market arcades pre-dated the indoor mall by decades.
The 2-level retail arcade is completely restored, will be used by Webster University. These types of market arcades pre-dated the indoor mall by decades.
A former 8th St storefront space is now the most attractive residential mailroom downtown -- accessed via the resident lobby, not exterior.
A former 8th St storefront space is now the most attractive residential mailroom downtown — accessed via the resident lobby, not exterior.
In places, original glass elevator doors were retained on upper floors. However, these are now fixed in place.
In places, original glass elevator doors were retained on upper floors. However, these are now fixed in place.
The first few upper floors were originally used for retail, with offices on the upper floors. Original hallways were retained, behind the glass is a false wall and an apartment.
The first few upper floors were originally used for retail, with offices on the upper floors. Original hallways were retained, behind the glass is a false wall and an apartment.
The apartments with bay windows on 2 & 3 are market rate units.
The apartments with bay windows on 2 & 3 are market rate units.

Before we go up to the roof I want to talk about the basement parking garage. When Pyramid planned to build condos they were going to build larger units — the smallest condos would’ve been about the size of the largest apartments. The resort is more people, more total units. The condo plan had enough parking so each unit got one parking spot with purchase — typical for condos. However, with many more apartments, and Webster University using some of the parking, there isn’t enough for each unit.

The garage is typical except that it includes a car wash area.
The garage is typical except that it includes a car wash area.

The most expensive market rate apartments include one garage space in the rent. For everyone else, market & affordable, the cost for a parking space is an additional $125/mo — first come. As I posted about in July 2014, they secured an agreement with the Treasurer’s Office for additional parking in the garage in the block to the East — at $75/mo.  Thankfully, this parking is “unbundled” — meaning a person can rent a unit without parking. Or a couple might decide to have only one car. The 8th & Pine MetroLink station is right outside and Enterprise CarShare has six cars downtown.

Remember how I said the Paul Brown and Arcade share a street entrance for parking — when Pyramid owned the Paul Brown it created an easement to allow the Arcade to connect in the basement. This was because the Arcade had no logical place to access the basement from any of the three streets it faces.

When many buildings downtown were made into loft condos is was common for the top floor and roof to be occupied by large, expensive units.  With apartments the roof here becomes a great place for all residents — those in a small affordable unit and those in a bay window market rate unit.

The top floor & roof are all wheelchair accessible. Thus us the East side which has a great view of downtown and...
The top floor & roof are all wheelchair accessible. Thus us the East side which has a great view of downtown and…
 the Arch and rooftops.
the Arch and rooftops.
On there West side is a grilling area
On there West side is a grilling area
Looking Northwest from the grilling area you can see the back of the Paul Brown, the bank of the Syndicate, and the edge of the Arcade.
Looking Northwest from the grilling area you can see the back of the Paul Brown, the bank of the Syndicate, and the edge of the Arcade.
Inside the top floor is common party space, originally this held mechanical equipment
Inside the top floor is common party space, originally this floor held mechanical equipment
There developer even included a commercial kitchen to help with catered events.
There developer even included a commercial kitchen to help with catered events.

Big kudos to everyone involved in this project!

— Steve Patterson

 

Gateway One/Peabody Plaza Is Here To Stay

In the 1970s/80s the City of St. Louis sought to keep the Gateway Mall marching Eastward toward the the Old Courthouse and Arch. However, there was no money to pay for it. There were also historic buildings in the blocks — the owner(s) proposed renovating the historic buildings. Another plan was selected:

Downtown business executives and union leaders created Pride Redevelopment Corp. and successfully pushed for a plan to clear the land between Kiener and Serra. Then, they would develop office towers on the north side, facing Chestnut. The revenue from the towers would underwrite costs for a “half mall” on the south side.

Over the protests of preservationists, the three notable buildings were demolished. But because the economy remained in a trough, only one tower was built: Gateway One, the 15-story sore thumb that has irked scores over the years. (Now it’s Peabody Plaza, home to Peabody Energy.) (Spotlight: Building interrupting the Gateway Mall is a mayor’s regret)

The Buder & International were imploded in August 1984, the Title Guaranty was also gone by the end of 1984. The half-mall plan called for four identical buildings — one on each of the four blocks from 6th to 10th.  More detail here.

Gateway One is now Peabody Plaza
Gateway One is now Peabody Plaza
Looking East from Citygarden
Looking East from Citygarden
The historic Western Union building facing 9th between Chestnut & Market was razed in 1993 for a 2-block passive green space as part of the Gateway Mall, later remade into Citygarden.
The historic Western Union building facing 9th between Chestnut & Market was razed in 1993 for a 2-block passive green space as part of the Gateway Mall, later remade into Citygarden.
Another 1993 photo of the Western Union building at 900 Chestnut, with the Gateway One in background
Another 1993 photo of the Western Union building at 900 Chestnut, with the Gateway One in background, left

In hindsight, most acknowledge the half-mall plan was a mistake. It was already dead by 1993, but demolition continued. Had the buildings on the two blocks West of Gateway One not been razed the one half building wouldn’t have stood out so much. I moved to St. Louis in August 1990 — Gateway One was already complete by then, But in 1992/93 I personally argued with architect Donald Royce, telling him razing the two blocks between the Gateway One and the Serra “Twain” block was another mistake. Fifteen years later Citygarden almost makes up fir the bad decision.

Back to Gateway One.

Over the years many have said it should be torn down. I’m no fan on the building, but that’s not going to happen. Ever.

The building sold in 2006 for $65 million. For many decades the building will be too costly to raze for more park space — we can’t afford to redo the excessive park space of the Gateway Mall — we don’t need more.   Peabody has another decade remaining on their lease and the building will remain viable for decades.

Face the facts — it’s not going anywhere. Just be thankful St. Louis abandons plans before they’re finished, otherwise we’d have a total of four.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Blue is Favorite of Six Plaza Square Colors

January 13, 2016 Downtown, Planning & Design, Real Estate Comments Off on Readers: Blue is Favorite of Six Plaza Square Colors

Blue was the favorite Plaza Square color picked by readers in the non-scientific Sunday Poll, with orange second.   Readers were allowed to pick two. Blue & orange are also my top two favorites, though I prefer orange over blue.

Q: The six Plaza Square buildings were restored to their original colors, which are your TWO favorites?

#1 Blue with 18 votes (27.69%)
#1 Blue with 18 votes (27.69%)
#2 Orange with 14 votes (21.54%)
#2 Orange with 14 votes (21.54%)
#3 Teal Green with 12 votes (18.46%)
#3 Teal Green with 12 votes (18.46%)
#4 Light Blue with 9 votes (13.85%)
#4 Light Blue with 9 votes (13.85%)
#5 Yellow with 7 votes (10.77%)
#5 Yellow with 7 votes (10.77%)
#6 Mustard with 5 votes (7.69%)
#6 Mustard with 5 votes (7.69%)

Yellow, which finished fifth, is a close third favorite of mine.

As I said on Sunday, I thought the colors were originally used on the North & South ends but the National Register listing says they were always white.

The white ends just do not look right to my eyes
The white ends just do not look right to my eyes

Though I like a lot about these six buildings, they make no attempt to connect to Olive, Pine, or Chestnut. With Pine & Chestnut being a one-way couplet they’re horrible places for pedestrians, There is zero positive street activity.

Hopefully they’ll do better now that ownership, mission, etc are split up.

— Steve Patterson

 

Court Documents Shed Some Light On Condemned Parking Garage

January 12, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Parking 2 Comments

For over a year I’ve been posting about the now-condemned parking garage at Tucker & Locust, it closed in the summer of 2014 for structural repairs:

On March 9, 2015 CENTRAL PARKING SYSTEM OF MO, LLC sued TUCKER PARKING HOLDINGS LLC & TUCKER PARKING EQUITIES LLC, the two entities that own the garage, Case 1522-CC00532.  That same day Tucker et al countersued.

Later that month the court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent contractor Tarlton from removing the shoring and rented equipment with Tucker et al to pay invoices. “Rental, monitoring, and other shoring related expenses” for April 2015 through October 2015 totaled $894,479. Tucker et al didn’t pay and in November the exterior scaffolding was removed, the interior shoring remains to date.

December 2014
December 2014

Last month the court issued a judgment against Tucker et al for the original amount plus an additional $11k in interest for a total of $905,507.05. It’s unclear to me if Tarlton has been fully paid for their more labor-intensive work from July 2014 through March 2015. Regardless, if paid, it was likely in excess of $2,000,000.  Just before the judgment the city filed a motion to intervene, but withdrew it four days later.

Early this month a hearing for February 16th was cancelled. Court records & documents found at Missouri Court’s Case.net.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: The Six Plaza Square Buildings Were Restored To Their Original Colors, Which Are Your Two Favorite Colors?

January 10, 2016 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: The Six Plaza Square Buildings Were Restored To Their Original Colors, Which Are Your Two Favorite Colors?
Please vote below
Please vote below

One of the earliest urban renewal projects in St. Louis was Plaza Square — six high rise apartment buildings. Four city blocks were razed — except two churches — to make room for the six buildings. Site selection was made in 1950, but the project wasn’t completed until 1962.

Over the years the ownership on the group has changed numerous times. One was converted to condo ownership a decade ago, the other five are now owned by 2-3 entities. All six have been, or are in process of, renovated. The group are listed as a district on the National Register of Historic Places.  All six now sport their original color schemes, from the National Register listing:

Originally, each building’s enameled panels were painted a different solid color on the east and west elevations, with the panels on the north and south elevations painted white. Specifications and early color photographs are at odds, and conclusive assignments of original colors for three of the buildings have yet to be made. However, evidence shows that Building 20 has orange paint underneath the current coat, Building 30 has green and Building 60 was originally the same blue that it is today. The distinct colors differentiated the individual buildings from each other; this effect was an important balance to the uniform appearances of the buildings. (Section 7 page 6)

I was thinking the owners were too cheap to paint the North & South ends — but that’s how they were originally built!

Today’s poll is one I’ve wanted to do for a long time, I just had to wait  until all six got repainted.

The six colors are presented in random order — please vote for TWO.  This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

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