Location: 3150 S. Grand Avenue, Tower Grove East Neighborhood; St. Louis, MO
Type of Project: Building History/Recordation
PRO Services: National Register of Historic Places Nomination
Completion: Listed in the National Register, January 14, 2014
When restaurateur Dave Bailey sought a south city location for his popular Rooster, he found the perfect match in the long-vacant mid-century modern building at the northeast corner of South Grand and Juniata avenues. Eyed for demolition, used as a late-night bar parking lot and excluded from the earlier Tower Grove Heights Historic District, the building could have become a victim of the turning tides of architectural appreciation. Bailey saved the day.
Bailey hired SPACE Architecture+Design to come up with a plan that transformed the drop-ceiling and drywall interior into stunning dining space, and the foreboding parking lot into a charming patio. Working with Renaissance Development Associates, Space hired Preservation Research Office to get the building listed in the National Register of Historic Places so that historic tax credits could be used on the project.
While the nomination was successful and enjoyed support from the State Historic Preservation Office, there were challenges. At the outset, little was known about the building’s architects, Winkler & Thompson, and eventual research showed no major modernist works. PRO’s Michael Allen and Lydia Slocum developed contexts on the firm’s work, modernism in financial services architecture and the International Style in St. Louis commercial architecture. These contexts showed that this glass-walled little building actually had a big place in the architectural saga of St. Louis’ recent past. PRO’s Lynn Josse, a Tower Grove East resident who recalled long-term neighborhood sentiment in favor of demolishing the building, supplied the building description.
By the middle of 2014, about one year from the day that SPACE called PRO, the little financial services building was one of the city’s most happening brunch spots. Historic preservation never tasted so sweet — or savory, depending on which of Rooster’s delectable crepes one orders.
An article about the history of the building: Modernism in Motion on South Grand: The Hamiltonian Federal Savings and Loan Association Building
National Register of Historic Places Nomination