Fiat “Studio” to Open in Downtown St. Louis

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* According to the Post-Dispatch, Fiat of Creve Coeur is considering using the 1015 Locust Street storefront as a Fiat display, and NOT a Fiat "Studio" or dealership. We apologize for what looks be incorrect information.

Fiat will soon announce a move into 1015 Locust Street in downtown St. Louis. As the car dealer as reentered the American market in partnership with Chrysler, Fiat is looking to place Fiat dealerships in about 165 locations, concentrating on urban areas that have a high number of registered small cars. 1015 carries a modernist skin on a 1921 building and while the original was surely beautiful, Fiat seems to think its modern look is a good fit for the brand. 

Of the new locations, Fiat reported that nearly one-third would sit aside existing Chrysler dealerships, one-third would occupy former dealerships of Saturn, Hummer and the like, and one-third would find entirely new homes. St. Louis appear to have landed one of the few new urban locations. The 1015 Locust building, once built-out should closely resemble the facade of the Fiat of Manhattan showroom.

Fiat has been known to not only put together a modern and attractive showroom, but to contribute directly to streetlife. In NYC, Fiat installed eight Fiat 500c mockups that double as tree planters. Something like this across from 1015 Locust could bring the area to life.

Clearly, a new car dealership is good news for downtown. With the unique Fiat approach to marketing, the accompanying retail items available and attractive storefront, the dealership should be quite an attraction. While no one retailer (think Apple Store) defines a city as a city, an urban car dealership may come close. If nothing else, think of the visitor's experience walking by a modern Fiat dealer occupying a corner of downtown St. Louis. With other retail developments on the way, downtown begins to look like a full-service town on its own.

{1015 Locust before and after re-skinning – is Fiat an argument for keeping some Modernist skin on downtown buildings?}

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  • Johnny Buse

    What was this space most recently used for (assuming it’s empty, now)? Agree with Kevin B that using the existing space, rather than destroying and making anew, in this situation is good.

  • That is very exciting news. The first instinct when hearing “dealership” is to huff and stomp your feet in anger, but this is different. They’re not building a lot — they’re not tearing down a building…they’re incorporating their brand into what I can only assume  researchers tell them is a burgeoning urban market.

    The long cut of this is that it signals Locust Street’s arrival as an important and growing downtown street. If other’s still don’t see it, well fine — but a major company has. And that can only mean increased interest and growth.

    Now somebody buy up our little 923 Locust building (and 917-921) before the Roberts get wind of this and take it off the market for demolition again!

    • JNOnSTL

      Walking by the Roberts Brothers’ buildings, I see “For Sale” signs in the windows. I’m hoping they soon fall into better hands.