We've Moved

Ecology of Absence now resides at www.preservationresearch.com. Please change your links and feeds.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Preservation of Police Headquarters

Picking up on the Downtown St. Louis Business blog's post: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Daniel Isom wants an overhaul of police headquarters, and one option he will present to the Board of Police Commissioners is demolition of Police Headquarters and replacement with a new building. The other options are renovation (sensible) and relocation into new quarters (perhaps most expensive).

The Police Headquarters Building, built in 1927 and designed by Mauran, Russell & Crowell, is an integral part of our civic buildings group. Losses in the past twenty years of the Kiel Auditorium, Police court, Board of Elections, Jail and the Children's buildings have already diminished that group. The Headquarters and the adjacent Police Academy, built in 1928 and also designed by Mauran, Russell and Crowell, form a distinguished if austere pair.

The Police Headquarters is not a City Landmark, is not listed in the National Register of Historic Places and sits in a ward (the 7th) that lacks preservation review of demolition permits. All of those statuses should change, but National Register listing could be the most beneficial for the department to come up with a financially feasible plan for rehabilitation. Our ancestors had a knack for building great public buildings, and we have a knack for rehabbing them for original or new uses. Chief Isom and the Board of Police Commissioners can count on a lot of help -- and creativity -- preserving Police Headquarters.


Anonymous said...

If he is thinking about demolition, why have there been workers all over the building for weeks cleaning and (waterproofing??) the exterior masonry?

tichard stupidhead said...

exquisite corpse?

samizdat said...

Anon: the repointing and waterproofing apparently is part of the bond issue passed a few years ago. That chunk of money is not currently sufficient for all of the stated needs of the building. I really don't see where they are going to get the money for either reno or demo/rebuild without another bond issue. Muni bonds are not exactly being snapped up like they once were. Still, the building is structurally sound, and should be a good candidate for updating. Though if I had my 'd'ruthers, City Hall would get the full reno treatment before any other civic building. 50 million USD, minimum. I am a little curious about the Chief's motivations, though. Who, or what, put this bug in his ear? Did he see the new HQ of some other metros' PD? "I want, I want!"