Demolition So Fast You’ll Freak, St. Louis Style

What do you do when you just must have a drive-thru for your Jimmy John's? Adapt the current location? Build on one of the many vacant lots near your current location? Purchase an existing drive-thru? No, no and no. In St. Louis you demolish three perfectly functional and attractive buildings.

It's not a done-deal yet, the public hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, May 12. The three buildings, owned by local development firm Sangita, at 3834-3838 Laclede would be demolished and replaced with a Jimmy Johns with a drive-thru. The current Jimmy John's on Forest Park Avenue would be relocated. The proposal is to demolish three buildings to relocate a Jimmy John's.

One can anticipate the case to be made: the three buildings are "obsolete", the "lack context", re-use is not "feasible", a new Jimmy John's would increase tax revenue… Are these reasonable arguments for tearing down buildings that have stood for more than a century? The Laclede Street Bar & Grill was threatened with demolition not too long ago and while historic storefronts remain vacant nearby, development is occurring.

The Central West End and Sarah Avenue is just one block to the west. The Library Annex, Six Row Brewing Co. and other businesses have opened on Forest Park Avenue. This is an area that is seeing investment. These three storefronts are the context for the area and could easily be used in their current state, or creatively repurposed. An alternative solution for a desired drive-thru should be sought.

{3834-38 may be demolished}

{a stand-alone Jimmy John's could replace the buildings above}

{Laclede Street Bar & Grill, immediately to the east of the proposed demolition}

{the current Jimmy John's location on Forest Park Avenue}

{3834-38 in red, additional lots owned by Sangita (including Laclede Street Bar & Grill) in yellow}