Downtown Historic Preservation

Opportunity on Locust Street

The building at 1008 Locust street that most recently housed Blustein’s Bridal Shop is for sale. Owned by Alverne Associates LC, which owns the beleaguered Alverne Building to the west, the building has been empty since 2004 when the bridal shop relocated to St. Charles. The commercial building is one of the last buildings in this part of downtown unclaimed by a serious developer. With its striking arcades, finely detailed terra cotta spandrels between the second and third floor and elegant contrasting stonework, the building is an outstanding composition in the Romanesque Revival style. The building dates to 1886, making it earlier than almost all of its neighbors and a virtual contemporary of the Old Post Office. Unfortunately, the building has never been listed in the National Register of Historic Places although it would have contributed to a downtown historic district axed in 1978.

Fortune has turned favorable for this block since 2004: Craig Heller’s LoftWorks completed rehabilitation of the Delany Building at 10th and Locust, and has just announced that Left Bank Books may soon occupy its ground floor; LoftWorks is wrapping up work at the Syndicate Trust Building, which will create retail activity one block east; the long-suffering Farm and Home Building across the street is slated to be rehabbed for office space by LoftWorks; the Roberts Brothers are mulling over plans for a Hotel Indigo one block east at 917 Locust. This building won’t sit on the market too long. Perhaps reuse of this building will spur a creative solution for the Alverne…