Planning Commission Reverses Preservation Board to Allow Demolition of Pevely Buildings

Just one vote was tallied to uphold the City of St. Louis Preservation Board decision from late last year. That decision maintained the corner Pevely office building, the signature building of a complex listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rest of the Planning Commission decided that the Preservation Board had somehow erred in its decision and tonight decided to allow Saint Louis University to demolish the three Pevely buildings and smokestack. SLU previously stated that a fourth building facing Grand Avenue has a pending contract. A demolition permit request for that building is imminent and devoid of the complex currently surrounding it, will surely be allowed to fall as well.


{the Preservation Board preserved building in blue and allowed demolition of those in red – building in green has a contract pending and will be demolished – building in yellow was lost to fire}

It's unclear what factors led to the reversal. No explanation from the Planning Commission has been forthcoming. The argument from SLU was a familiar one: that a new building was needed to offer healthcare to the underserved and that demolition was necessary as SLU competes with hospitals in St. Louis County and beyond. SLU explicitly stated that it wants patients to be able to take a walk in a park setting. The university also stated that their recent decision to move the law school within the city from the Frost Campus to downtown demonstrated their commitment to the city.

It was reported by Michael Calhoun of KMOX that SLU President Father Lawrence Biondi stated if Pevely demolition were denied, SLU medical school would be shut down and moved to St. Louis County, claiming that the university had been offered land near Maryville University. When Calhoun followed up, asking for more detail after the decision, Biondi flatly stated, "Well, this is now approved so that point is moot."

{SLU's plans for a new building are set to move forward}

{red x's mark the Pevely site – a "?" marks additional recently purchased land}

{rendering of proposed SLU facility – the Pevely smokestack will not be preserved}

This issue has been extensively covered here at nextSTL:

St. Louis University Seeks Demolition for Historic Pevely Dairy Complex

Split Decision Denies St. Louis University Demolition of Iconic Pevely Building, Smokestack

More on Pevely: False Choices, Media Coverage & A New Paradigm in Preservation