by Michael R. Allen
Two weeks ago, the A.G. Mack Contracting Company began wrecking the Brecht Butcher Supply Company Buildings at the northeast corner of Cass and Florissant avenues in Old North St. Louis. The historic buildings, owned by Blairmont Associates LC (30% owned by developer Paul J. McKee, Jr.), have sat empty since their purchase by the current owner in 2005. On October 6, 2006, a large fire struck the buildings and caused extensive but not insurmountable damage.
On October 31, 2006, the city’s Building Division issued an emergency demolition permit for the eastern two buildings of the three-building group. According to demolition inspectors, the two-story western building was to be spared while the other buildings would be wrecked with city money.
Then, suddenly, salvagers removed the cornice from the two-story section beginning January 8. Demolition started on the two-story section, and a complaint to the city led to information from Demolition Supervisor Sheila Livers stating that all three building would be wrecked.
The city’s Geo St. Louis website shows that the original wrecking permit issued October 31, 2006 was replaced by a new one issued January 12, 1007.
The reason for the change is unknown. Obviously, the loss of the two larger buildings would have diminished the visual impact of the two-story building. Yet leaving some part — a part not at all damaged by the fire — of the historic row would have been better than nothing.
(Photograph from February 8, 2007. Most of the two-story section is demolished now.)