This is the fifth post in a series looking at potential development sites along the proposed initial route of the St. Louis Streetcar. The first four parts were:
- Olive 15th-16th
- Olive 16th-18th
- 14th & Olive To North Florissant & St. Louis Ave.
- Olive 18th to Jefferson
This post will cover the 0.6 mile stretch of Olive from Jefferson to Compton (map). Let’s start with the North side of Olive at Jefferson:
2601 Olive, well known as Sam Light Loans, was built in 1924, according to city records. I wonder if the building got a makeover in the 40s or 50s, it looks too modern foe the 20s.
I posted about 2617 Olive in March 2012, it dates to 1883. Click image to see my prior post.
AT&T recently built an addition on the long-vacant lot at 2621 Olive
That addition was on the east side of this AT&T Communications building at 2651 Olive
The small insurance office at Locust & Jefferson was built in 1956.
AT&T owns much of the block on both sides of Locust, used for parking.
Across the street is more AT&T parking on the left. Loft apartments on Washington Ave can be seen in the background.
The Wells Fargo lot between Beaumont & Leffingwell could be easily developed if many employees begin riding the streetcar. Perhaps give them the option of a parking pass or a transit pass… More on Wells Fargo when I get to the south side of Olive below.
The building on the left is from 1929, the one on the right from 1913. A vacant 30ft lot is to the right @ Leffingwell.
2823 Olive was built in 1880, though set back from the street it would be an interesting contrast to keep this structure, while filling in on each side. The side on the left belongs to the next property to the west.
This 1925 building at 2831 Olive would look even better with a new glass storefront….and a rooftop restaurant
The Castle Ballroom should get renovated with a streetcar right out front. Click image to see my post from 2011.
These buildings in the 29xx block of Olive no longer look like they did 100+ years ago
The Locust Business District recently completed a fenced surface parking lot, this needs to be replaced ASAP
The Treasurer’s parking lot at 3019 Olive also needs a building, not a garage.
At Cardinal Ave we have a one story structure from 1997, too new to replace right away
The last buildings on the north side of Olive before Compton
Some existing buildings aren’t as tall as would be nice but their age/height will be a nice contrast to the new construction we should see go up over the twenty years. In short, lots of opportunities for new construction on vacant land.
OK, let’s cross Olive at Compton and return east to Jefferson. It would be impossible to look at this section of the proposed route without discussing the urban renewal clearance of Mill Creek Valley:
By World War II, Mill Creek’s tenements and faded town houses were home to nearly 20,000 people, many of them poor blacks who had migrated north from the cotton fields. More than half the dwellings lacked running water, and 80 percent didn’t have interior bathrooms.
Tucker proposed knocking over nearly everything and starting over. In 1955, city voters overwhelmingly approved a $10 million bond issue for demolition, on the promise that the federal government would reimburse most of it. The local NAACP endorsed the idea. Work began on Feb. 16, 1959, at 3518 Laclede Avenue, where a headache ball smashed a house that dated to the 1870s.
The bulldozers swiftly transformed the city’s “No. 1 Eyesore” into an area derided as “Hiroshima Flats.” Among the few buildings spared was the old Vashon High School, now part of Harris-Stowe State University. When work began in 1961 on University Heights Village apartments, only 20 original families still called Mill Creek home. (stltoday.com - A look back • Clearing of Mill Creek Valley changed the face of the city)
The area from Union Station to Grand was cleared. This area got new construction like the A.G. Edwards HQ, now Wells Fargo Advisors, LaClede Town (razed), Heritage House senior apartments, and the “flying saucer” gas station on Grand at Forest Park, now a Starbucks. n
The block between Cardinal & Compton
This facade was built after the front of the building was removed when Olive was widened. I’d like to see this endure
A pocket park along the route would be nice, if it could be accessed.
The former Berea Presbyterian Church is now a SLU event space
The central glass on the front of this church always looked too modern but I never knew the story.
February 1909 Sanborn Map showed the stone (blue) church at 3015 Pine (vacated), between Garrison (vacated) on the east and Cardinal (dead end) on the west. The end facing Olive today was the back!
Click image to see more of this map.
I’d like to see Pine St replatted from Jefferson to Compton, it would go right through here.
Sigma-Aldrich owns the land from the old church to Ewing. Given how the land is platted and fenced it appears they’re leaving a strip along Olive for future development.
Ewing Ave looking south toward Market. Wells Fargo Advisors on the left, Sigma-Aldrich on the right. This too-wide street should be lined with storefronts catering to employees of both businesses, as well as students, faculty, & staff at Harris-Stowe, and residents at Heritage House.
A non-propfit was formed in 1964 to build & operate low-income senior apartments, Heritage House opened in 1967.
The building is well maintained but not well connected to Olive
I’d like to see an addition between the sidewalk and tower with underground parking, street-level retail, 2nd floor apartments.
An alley remains between Olive & Pine. I can imagine both sides being infilled over the coming decades, see diagram below.
My thought of the order Wells Fargo might instill parking lots and finally raze a parking garage. The two orange squares are owned by the Beffa family, the purple by Provident.
A parking garage for Wells Fargo Advisers dominates the intersection of Jefferson & Olive.
A brick wall sorta hides equipment
I’m excited about the possibly having a modern streetcar line a block away from my loft, but the redevelopment potential in midtown is phenomenal. I’ve been losing sleep for the past week as I picture what this could look like at full build out. The vision must come before the bricks and mortar.
– Steve Patterson