Central West End Hyde Park Lafayette Square Northside Regeneration Preservation Board St. Louis Place

Summary of Monday’s Preservation Board Meeting

by Michael R. Allen

Here is a summary of actions at Monday’s meeting of the St. Louis Preservation Board, by agenda item. The meeting started with only two members present, Chairman Richard Callow and David Richardson. Later, members Anthony Robinson, Alderman Terry Kennedy and Luis Porello arrived.


A. 5291 Washington; application for new construction.
ACTION: Deferred due to lack of quorum.

B. 4155-63 Magnolia; application to install vinyl windows on an early 20th century revival-style apartment building in Shaw. Owner Lisa Presley applied to replace 300 wooden windows on the front elevation of this apartment building with white vinyl windows featuring simulated dividers. Normally, this would be unconvincing but the front elevation happens to face the side of the lot with the long, narrow apartment building running from street to alley. An interesting moment came when Presley’s window salesman stated that vinyl windows lasted forever. When asked how long aluminum windows, he said almost as long as vinyl.
ACTION: Denied by vote of 2-1 with Alderman Kennedy dissenting.

C. 3628 N. 14th Street; application to retain vinyl windows installed without a permit. This wonderful commercial building at the southeast corner of 14th and Salisbury in Hyde Park suffered the removal of its wooden windows and a prism-glass transom last year; most windows were evident and likely in condition to be rehabbed. Owner Lisa Hines claimed that although she had rehabbed 16 buildings, she had never rehabbed in a “blighted” historic district where design standards applied. She also claimed that most of the windows werer broken or missing when she bought the building. I presented a photo showing most of the windows in place, without much evident damage; rehabber Barbara Manzara discussed how easy window rehab can be.
ACTION: Denied by unanimous vote.

D. 1912 LaSalle Street; application for addition. Owner Thomas Benignus and his architect Ralph Wafer presented design for an addition to a house in Lafayette Square; Paul Doerner of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee stated that he liked the design but wanted review by the LSRC Development Committee.
ACTION: Approved by unanimous vote.

E. 2035 Park Avenue; application for alteration and addition of building. At this point, the meeting still lacked a quorum so the item was pushed off until later. Owner Thomas Bramlette wants to rebuild the odd one-story brick church building sometimes called the ugliest building in Lafayette Square. Architect Ted Wofford has designed a graceful Italianate project that will resurrect the low hipped roof form that was found in the Square before the 1896 tornado. Cultural Resources Office Director Kate Shea claimed that the roof was too short and the second-story addition two narrow for a house that sites between two impressive and larger homes and wanted approval to require a taller roof and wider second story.
ACTION: Approved by unanimous vote without stipulations sought by Shea.


F. 4549 Pershing; application to retain light standard in front yard. Owners have installed a bizarre and inappropriate light standard in the front yard of this Central West End home without a permit, in violation of local historic district standards.
ACTION: Permit approved by 2-1 vote with Richardson dissenting.

G. 4320 Arco Avenue; application for demolition. Owner Dwight Hatchett wants to demolish this one-story Forest Park Southeast house. The house, a splendid flat-roofed Romanesque is missing roof decking and its parapets have massive mortar deterioration. However, Hatchett has performed no maintenance and has no plans for redevelopment; he stated that he wants to tear the house down and sell it to neighbors for side yards. Hatchett started his testimony by stating his fear that the building would fall and kill someone — a rather old trick. Opposition testimony came from Manzara, Anthony Coffin, Claire Nowak-Boyd and myself. A motion to uphold the staff denial from Porrello failed, as did a motion to grant approval from Kennedy. Board member Robinson abstained from both votes; he stated that without a roof the house would surely collapse and denying the permit could still condemn the house. He moved to defer consideration for 60 days to give the applicant time to sell the house.
ACTION: Deferred for 60 days by unanimous vote.

H. 59 Kingsbury Place; application to retain inappropriate windows installed without permit. William Streett, owner of this Colonial Revival home, removed the original 12-over-1 windows and replaced them with casement windows to completely alter the architectural character of the house. His 20-minute defense (what happened to time limits?) was a ludicrous PowerPoint presentation that covered the design of other houses on the street and his personal preferences but did little to address the fact that he violated a local design ordinance. Streett boldly claimed that his house’s hipped roof was borrowed from French architecture and thus muddied the stylistic waters; however, he seemed to have never read the local district ordinance or the National Register of Historic Places nomination that clearly state both the recognized style of his house and the requirement that its original appearance be maintained no matter what Streett may think is appropriate. Opposition testimony came from William Seibert, representing the Central West End Association, and myself.
ACTION: Staff denial upheld by unanimous vote.

I. 1120, 1124 and 1400-02 Newhouse Avenue; application for demolition. The applicant, the Land Reutilization Authority, did not send a representative. In the absence of a quorum, the applicant must be present to waive the right to having an appeal heard by quorum.
ACTION: Set aside for next meeting.

J. 1629 N. 19th Street; application for demolition. This house is owned by VHS Partners LLC, one of Paul McKee’s north side holding companies. However, the demolition is sought by Ald. April Ford-Griffin and the application is the Board of Public Service. The board neglected to send a representative.
ACTION: Set aside for next meeting.

At the end of the meeting, the Preservation Board unanimously voted to enter into the minutes of the meeting the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary for Marti Frumhoff.

Central West End Demolition Historic Preservation Hyde Park North St. Louis Preservation Board

Plenty of Demolition Permits on Monday’s Preservation Board Agenda (Updated)

UPDATED: The Preservation Board of the City of St. Louis has published the final agenda for its meeting on Monday.

Among the controversial items are the following appeals of staff denials:

– Demolition permit for a house at 4320 Arco Avenue in the Forest Park Southeast Historic District

– Demolition of houses at 1120, 1124 and 1400 Newhouse in the Hyde Park Historic District

– Demolition of the Blairmont-owned building at 1629 N. 19th Street in the Clemens House/Columbia Brewery National Register District

– Replacement of the historic windows of the house at 59 Kingsbury Place in the Central West End Historic District (the owner has replaced — without a permit — the windows on the Colonial Revival home with Prairie School style windows)

The meeting takes place Monday, May 21, at 4:00 p.m. in the 12th floor conference room at 1015 Locust Street.

Architects Central West End Preservation Board

Preservation Board Meets Tomorrow to Consider Modern Houses on Westminster, Other Items

by Michael R. Allen

The city’s Preservation Board meets tomorrow. The agenda is available with full reports. The agenda features the usual preliminary review of new construction in historic districts, another case of vinyl windows being installed without a permit and several nominations to the National Register of Historic Places (including two on which I am co-author with Carolyn Toft). There are no demolition permits on this month’s agenda.

Perhaps the most interesting agenda item concerns 4257 and 4263 Westminster in the Central West End, where architect and Preservation Board member Anthony Robinson seeks to build two very modern houses.

The meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. in the offices of the Planning and Urban Design Agency, 1015 Locust Street on the 12th floor.

Central West End Demolition Preservation Board

Demolition Likely to Proceed on Three Houses on Washington

by Michael R. Allen

Word on the street is that demolition is proceeding on the three houses owned by Saaman Development on the 4000 block of Washington Avenue. Read more on Urban Review here in a blog entry from April 2006.

The houses are located in the city’s Eighteenth Ward, represented by Alderman Terry Kennedy, who is also a member of the Preservation Board. Kennedy has opted not to include his ward in the voluntary ward-by-ward preservation review program that ensures that buildings like these receive review for reuse potential.

The houses are also located in the Central West End neighborhood, renowned for its historic architecture and high residential density.

Old North Preservation Board

Preservation Board Meeting in Review

by Michael R. Allen

The Preservation Board meeting yesterday was short and pretty sweet. Credit is due to the current board members, who are a very thoughtful group on the whole who take their decisions seriously. The new members — David Richardson and Mike Killeen — are good fits for the board, and frequently make excellent points. Chairman Richard Callow continues to enrage haters by running the meetings effectively and efficiently while respecting the input of community members and applicants who testify. This is a good mix and creates the city’s only regular forum for the public discussion of urban design policy. Attendance from bloggers, architects and activists is steady. Now, if only the board could increase the scope of its powers and solidify its decisions against the trump card of aldermanic blighting ordinances!

Here are some of the highlights of yesterday’s meeting:

#5 Washington Terrace: Preliminary review of a plan to build a new house on one of the city’s finest private streets. The discussion on design was interesting, although it fell along predictable lines. Many residents turned out to testify because the local district ordinance stipulates that the trustees of Washington Terrace must approve plans before construction. That’s well and good, but not an appropriate covenant for the Preservation Board to uphold. There are courts of law for those fortunate enough to live on streets with restrictive covenants; the Preservation Board’s enabling ordinance does not allow it mediation powers in such instances, as Commissioner John Burse pointed out during the discussion. Deferring decision in this instance would set a bad precedent for future ambiguity. Fortunately, the Board voted 5-1 (with Anthony Robinson abstaining) to approve preliminary review so that the builder can begin to work with staff at the Cultural Resources Office on design details. While more difficult, the trustees will have to enforce their own restrictive covenants without using a design review board to do so. If the approval covenant is important to most residents, they will enforce it. Perhaps the local district ordinance for Washington Terrace should be amended to remove the separately-enforceable covenant clause, since there is no way the Preservation Board should be in the business of upholding anything other than municipal design ordinances.

2352 S. 11th: Your typical already-installed glass block basement window case. However, the appellant got in a good line when told that historically his basement windows would have had bars. “Historically, my house was boarded up,” he said. The Board voted 5-1 to uphold staff denial of his permit for glass block.

6811 and 6815 Magnolia: The owner of these two small frame cottages, contractor Joe Pauk, supposedly purchased them for rehab in December 2006 but quickly decided they were too far deteriorated for repairs. The houses are condemned by the city’s Building Division, but Pauk has not had a structural assessment save his own. The appeal was denied by a unanimous vote.

2605 and 2619-21 Hadley: Haven of Grace took a big step by agreeing to retain 2619-21 Hadley and motball it for future use. Executive Director Diane Berry announced this during her presentation; chairman Callow wisely asked her to state on the record her intention to also rehab the building. Citizen testimony from myself and Claire Nowak-Boyd followed, although the news of the compromise changed the direction. However, along with other residents we are still concerned about the long-term integrity of the Murphy-Blair National Historic District into which much of Old North falls. That district has lost around 60% of contributing resources since listed in January 1984, which comes down to roughly 370 historic buildings lost in less than 25 years. I still think that 2605 Hadley is savable, but I think that the good new design and density that Haven on Grace brings is important for the neighborhood. Under these circumstances, the compromise is fair.

Petition to designate the McKinley Heights neighborhood as a local historic district: Approved unanimously. The “opposition” that turned a previous public meeting on the matter into a circus did not show.

Preservation Board

Preservation Board Meets and Adjourns

by Michael R. Allen

Just for the record: The Preservation Board did meet this morning to satisfy the statutory requirement for a monthly meeting. Chairman Richard Callow and member Luis Porrello were the only members in attendance, and they wasted no time in adjourning the meeting.

Your intrepid editors were the only citizen observers present for the brief meeting, proving that either we don’t have anything better to do or that we are very vigilant.

Preservation Board

Preservation Board Meets Thursday on Rather Short Notice

The following note now appears on the city’s Preservation Board website:

The St. Louis Preservation Board will meet on December 28, 2006 at 10:00 A.M. in the Cultural Resources Office of the Planning and Urban Design Agency, 1015 Locust Street, Suite 1100.

NOTE:This internet posting is not the official posting of this notice.The official posting of notice is the physical copy displayed in the main lobby of our building at 1015 Locust Street and also at the Planning and Urban Design Agency offices on the 11th Floor.

The website lists no agenda items.

Earlier this month, the Preservation Board website stated that there would not be a December meeting due to the holidays.

I wonder what will be discussed Thursday. Only one way to find out…

Demolition Forest Park Southeast Preservation Board

4485 Vista Decision Deferred

by Michael R. Allen

Today, without discussion, the Preservation Board voted unanimously to defer for six months consideration of the demolition application for 4485 Vista Avenue.

We have six months to find a better future than destruction. Ideas?

Demolition Forest Park Southeast Preservation Board

Preservation Board to Consider Demolition of Unique House in "The Grove"

by Michael R. Allen

On the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the St. Louis Preservation Board is the demolition of a unique house at 4485 Vista Avenue in “the Grove.” The city’s Land Reutilization Authority owns the house and is applying for demolition along with Alderman Joseph Roddy (D-17th).

Check out the last photograph on this page of a report that I wrote on the condition of Taylor Avenue, which runs to the west of the house. You’ll see that 4485 Vista is a wide, symmetrical side-gabled frame home with a center-hall plan. The centered doorway is flanked by pairs of windows, with one dormer centered above each pair. This simplicity is almost rustic — no surprise given that the center-hall house was a common choice for Midwestern farms in the nineteenth century. Very few homes of this type exist in the city of St. Louis, and no other can be found in the Grove. The date of construction is not definitive, but it’s possible this house dates to the period when the Adams Grove area was subdivided as the Laclede Race Course Addition to the city in 1875.

This house is a unique home and clearly eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Hopefully, the Preservation Board will block demolition so that a respectful owner will purchase the building from the city.

Earlier, the LRA applied for a demolition permit for the house in 2004 and was denied by the Cultural Resources Office and the Preservation Board.

If you’d like to comment on the demolition, there are several ways. You can attend Monday’s meeting of the Preservation Board at 4:00 p.m. in the 12th floor conference room of the Locust Building, 1015 Locust. You can call the staff of the Cultural Resources Office at 314-622-3400. Also, you can send written testimony to Kate Shea, Director of Cultural Resources, at SheaK(at)

National Register Preservation Board

Preservation Board Meeting Today

by Michael R. Allen

The Preservation Board meets today at 4:00 p.m. The agenda isn’t marked with items of great interest, although some nominations to the National Register of Historic Places are intriguing. For instance, Melinda Winchester of Lafser Associates is nominating the General American Life Insurance Building on Market Street, which was completed in 1977 from a design by Phillip Johnson. This nomination is interesting because the National Register requires special significance to be proven for a building built within the last fifty years. With the Johnson pedigree, the buidling should not have difficulty. (For the record, I wrote two of the nominations being considered today: those of the Robert E. Lee Hotel and the William Cuthbert Jones House.)

Far be it from me to be quick complain without being quick to compliment: the Preservation Board agenda, often only published hours before the meeting, was posted online weeks in advance, with summary statements behind each item even on the tentative agenda. The full copy of the agenda was delivered to me by courier on Friday. This is very good work by the board and the staff of the city’s Cultural Resources Office.