Chouteau Buildings May Be Demolished

by Michael R. Allen

The Preservation Board of the City of St. Louis was set to again consider demolition of the row of commercial buildings at 2612-30 Chouteau Avenue (southwest of the intersection with Jefferson Avenue) at its meeting on Monday. The item was pulled from the agenda and will not be considered this month, but will likely return next month — perhaps with more support than before.

The buildings are owned by Crown Mart, Inc., which purchased them to prevent a competitor from opening a gas station on the site. Crown Mart plans to demolish them and replace them with a vacant lot.

The chief sin of these buildings may be the layers of unattractive, unmaintained paint that owners have applied over the years.  Underneath the paint is brick and, in the case of the building shown immediately above, cast iron and red sandstone.  Few ho have seen the city’s renaissance in recent years could doubt the reuse potential peeking out from under the battleship gray and bright red.

The buildings have found supporters, too — and a spot on the region’s preservation watch list.  After the Preservation Board unanimously denied demolition on preliminary review in April, the Landmarks Association of St. Louis placed the buildings on its Most Endangered Places list.

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  • Jason Stokes

    I fail to grasp how these owners can keep reapplying for demolition of buildings. Eventually, they’ll make their case and it will be approved, like a child persistently grinding down a parent until they give. Why do we allow them to reapply?

  • Bernie Buford

    Because they have money and LS residents don’t care what’s outside their village.

  • Tracy

    It finally hit me yesterday where these three buildings are!
    Just east of here between the gray building shown above and the building west of the dentist’s office at the corner once stood a grocery store and meat market. I’ll never forget the story of my great grandfather, now 98 and once tenant ans nephew to the meatmarket owners telling a bus load of his family that it was from the second floor window that he first saw my great greandmother, and thought to himself, – I have to meet her-
    It would sadden me to see these three buildings demolished, chipping away at what remains of this already foggy memory. Especially for bare ground in its place. These three buildings and the two at the corner are all that remain of this once vibrant block.

  • Hubert Humphrey

    We need to ban new gas stations.