Preservation Board Considering Procter & Gamble Demolition Monday

by Michael R. Allen

The west elevation of the massive Procter & Gamble plant.

On Monday, the Preservation Board will consider an application by Procter & Gamble to demolish 16 buildings at its landmark north riverfront plant (official address, 169 East Grand Avenue). There are no immediate plans for reuse of the cleared land, but Procter & Gamble claims that it needs a “shovel ready” site for expansion. (“Shovel ready” gets thrown about a lot, but not often is the phrase applied to creating vacant land.) Cultural Resources Office Director Betsy Bradley is recommending approval of the application; read more in the meeting agenda.

This section would be left standing.

The demolition plan does not affect the southernmost building in the long, multi-height row of buildings that give the plant its recognizable form on the city skyline. This portion, which meets Grand Avenue at the sidewalk, is in use as offices and will stay in use. The rest of the buildings are already being gutted, with many windows removed. Even earlier today demolition workers were loading scrap metal dumpsters. According to Bradley’s report, the plant was built between 1903 and 1924 as the William Waltke & Company Soap Factory.

UPDATE: The Preservation Board approved all of the demolition application by a vote of 3-2. Members David Visintainer and Anthony Robinson voted “aye,” and members Mike Killeen and Melanie Fathman voted “nay.” Chairman Richard Callow cast a tie-breaking “aye” vote.

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  • Adam

    the good news never stops. it seems they already know how the preservation board is going to vote, given that they’ve begun interior demo. when was the last time the board actually denied demolition to an entity with money? it’s pretty obvious that there are deals being made without public knowledge. or is P&G threatening to take their business elsewhere if they don’t get their way?

  • Anonymous

    This is infuriating! And there’s not even a plan on the table to replace these buildings?! At the very least, P&G should be required to show renderings of the proposed new development. There is something seriously wrong with the system if this is allowed to happen under such vague circumstances.

  • Old Comet Guy

    Idiots.  That demo began when Comet was removed from those buildings to make them safe.  They have no safe use and if a sizeable earthquake hits it will destroy that entire row of buildings in a massive collapse.  The construction is slung beam and the buildings are parallelograms.  No insurance company in their right mind will insure them for use. 

  • Tim E.

    Ah, the old earthquake line!  If a sizeable earthquake hits, most of the buildings in the St. Louis area will be destroyed.