by Michael R. Allen
This is the former Greyhound maintenance building (built around 1950) at the northeast corner of Cass Avenue and Hadley Street, currently being demolished by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT). While the building’s loss has been shown on MODOT’s plans for the new bridge landing on Cass Avenue since 2005, the actual demolition could not be more clearly pointless.
For one additional westbound lane of Cass Avenue, an entire building gets taken down — at public expense. This building and another one to its north are in great shape, with brick walls and steel roof trusses. These one-story clear-span buildings would make excellent retail stores (a supermarket in this building would be pretty cool), offices, warehouses or even just garage space. However, MODOT’s allocations are generous enough to remove considerations like wisely using existing resources, or not buying nearly entire city blocks in order to get a 20 foot easement.
Then again, with the loss of the Brecht Butcher Supply Company buildings to the west in 2007, and subsequent demolition of nearly every other building north of Cass Avenue from 14th to 10th streets, the demolition fulfills the eventual clear-cut of the south end of Old North St. Louis. Whether new buildings take the place of the old is uncertain, Crown Mart and scrap yards notwithstanding.