Although the meeting isn’t until Thursday, I think you can file this under “sure thing,” “done deal,” whatever you like. This building is coming down. Unfortunately what isn’t evident in the photos included in the above application are the classy (well, in our opinion at least) pale yellow exterior panels. They’re from the same design motif as downtown’s Blu City Spaces and we dig ’em (upon a second look it appears that the panels may have already been removed). The permit application goes on to list the usual suspects when talking demolition such as the building “needs increasing maintenance” and “is no longer needed”.
It’s pretty easy for these to be true of an older building. It’s later stated again that, “According to the owner, it is in poor condition and in constant need of maintenance”. I know that this is used time and time again when someone applies for a demolition permit, but this should never, on its own, be used to justify demolition.
But the thing that made us smile was the assertion that “the four adjacent lots have a complex ownership pattern.” I guess I don’t know if this is given as a supporting reason for demolition, but something tells me that Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University and the Washington University Medical Center do not constitute a “complex ownership pattern” that serves as an impediment to any future or current development. They seem to play quite well together.
The application states that land owners have been able to collaborate on “a landscaping plan to screen the parking lots created by the demolition and sale of the vacant lots”. Anything having a flashback to the San Luis? It is also noted that, “Staff has received no communication from Alderman Roddy or any neighborhood organization concerning the proposed demolition or re-use of the site.”
The concluding comments by the Cultural Resource Office makes clear that demolition is coming:
Given the rapid redevelopment occurring in the blocks south and east of Forest Park Blvd. it is clear that this surface parking lot will be used for other purposes in the foreseeable future. Staff is concerned that the lot, as currently proposed, contains enough screening to mitigate the appearance of all the automobiles currently using the lot plus the additional parked cars using the newly created parking surface.
The only question is whether to take the over-under on 20 years for “the foreseeable future”.