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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

St. Louis Housing Authority Building to Be Replaced by CVS or Tower?

Word is circulating that the St. Louis Housing Authority is considering selling its headquarters building at 4100 Lindell Boulevard to a group of investors who seek to demolish it and build a CVS Pharmacy to compete with the nearby Walgreens. The St. Louis Housing Authority's three-story modern building began life in 1956 as the St. Louis office of the Sperry-Rand Corporation. The architect was then-fledgling Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum. The Sperry-Rand Building is derived from International Style principles, especially the neutral colors, the recessed floors, the concrete piers, wide large windows and the applied outer metal bars. While not as accomplished as the firm's later National Register-listed Plaza Square Apartments, this is a fine building and a subtle component of the group of modern buildings on Lindell Boulevard west of Grand Avenue. Its loss, especially at the hands of a public entity, would be a blow to the already-threatened modern landscape of Lindell Boulevard.

UPDATE: A reader sent me a note to state that there has also been discussion about replacing the building with a taller residential building.


Anonymous said...

you do not want CVS gaining a foothold - worst most craptastic drugstore chain ever, they have a stranglehold on DC and they SUCK.

awful awful awful.

"Convenience Value Selection" none of the above.

soviet era shelves, no help (while the cashiers are slow they are polite) pharmacy often out of basics and closes early on Sundays when most accidents happen, except for one location across town.

they employed the Walmart model, bought out local business and delivered squat.

STLgasm said...

You've got to be kidding. Living in this town is a constant battle against stupidity.

Chris said...

Amen, Anonymous; I had the same experience living in DC as well. They are absolutely awful. Note there's already a Walgreen's nearby this site.

tobyweiss.com said...

Why not just convert the EXISTING building into residential?

Oh yeah, I know why that won't happen: precedent has been set at San Luis and the race is on to demolish everything built after WW2.

What a great idea to rebuild all over the rebuilt CWE. Learning from and respecting history is such an overrated and pesky task, don't you think? Knock 'em all down, kids. Ready, set, go!

Anonymous said...

Oh goody, another corporate pissing match on the horizon for St. Louis! I still haven't gotten over the unique/historic buildings that Walgreens has demolished in the past for their lame, 'cookie-cutter' stores (at least they didn't get their greedy, corporate hands on the SSN Bank building.) I wonder how many interesting buildings CVS has their eyes on?

Doug Duckworth said...

Hampton and Gravois has a CVS across from a Walgreens. We're sacrificing our City for bland suburban "architecture" and getting what? These are placeless, anti-urban pieces of filth and only reveal our stupidity.

Unlike Krewson, at least Jennifer Florida saved the SSNB before she sold out.

Kara said...

What an interesting building and what a shame to replace it with generic suburban schlock. The CWE is getting more and more depressing everyday. It's too bad that one of St. Louis' most prestigious and urban neighborhoods is being transformed into St. Chuck. And for those that only care about the bottom line, this WILL negatively affect property values.

STLgasm said...

Clearly this building is ripe for conversion into residential units. Lots of windows, great location, eligible for tax credits, and small enough to be a worthy investment. In a down economy, smaller projects like this are a lot less risky.

A residential tower just doesn't make sense here. For one thing, it faces a gigantic suburban-style strip mall, and panoramic views of a Schnucks, Blockbuster Video and Pizza Hut surrounded by a giant parking lot is not exactly scenic. Those with the means to live in a new construction high-rise have many choices in the area, and I doubt this location would make the short list.

On top of that, there is a vacant lot just two blocks south at the northwest corner of Laclede & Sarah. That should be the priority corner for new development before tearing down an existing building.

Don't even get me started about a CVS...

barbara_on_19th said...

What's built on the corners is so important. A big building on the corner dominates the streetscape for at least 4 blocks. StL used to know this, and we have wonderful corner buildings. The Walgreens business model is to grab as many corners as possible, which, in my opinion, also unnecessarily screws up traffic. Then because they also want to set the building back with parking in front, we get a void in the block face. It's a trifecta of deurbanization only topped by the one-day parking lot obsession of the Church of the Holy Bulldozer.