Eyesore No More, Globe Drugs Warehouse Gets New Owner

According to a press release, the U-Haul Corporation has purchased the Globe Drug Warehouse buildings at 418 S. Tucker Blvd. for $3.1 million. The most recent published list price was $3.75M. Built by shoe manufacturer Endicott-Johnson Company in 1915 and 1923, the buildings total 272,000 sf. The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a significant renovation may be eligible for historic tax credits.

U-Haul plans to have a retail presence in the lower building fronting Spruce Street, including vehicle rental and packing supplies. The building has interior parking for 100 vehicles. But the largest portion of the building is planned for contract document storage. Relatively few changes to the building appear to be planned, as the release cited move-in date after renovations of late next month.

The building was being marketed by Hilliker Corporation as an “Opportunity For Residential / Commercial Loft Development”. It’s location on the south side of the central business district and immediately next to the elevated lanes of Interstate 64 may have made it less attractive for residential development. Besides a U-Haul retail location, the document storage service will add a service to downtown St. Louis missing since Iron Mountain moved their physical storage location.

{the Endicott-Johnson building is a prominent component of the S. Tucker street wall}

{image by Michael Allen from National Register form}

{image by Michael Allen from National Register form}

Its location near the Cardinal’s Busch Stadium, and Scottrade Center, as well as its visibility from I-64 and prominence on Tucker Boulevard made it a highly noticeable vacancy in recent years. No plan has been outlined for facade treatment or badly needed window replacement, but we’re told that U-Haul plans to “celebrate the history of the building” and retain all existing historic character. While it seems unlikely the result will appear high-end, having a viable tenant for the building is good news for downtown.

The nearest U-Haul retail and storage location is at 1641 South Kingshighway at Interstate 44. Although not widely appreciated, that building is a significant example of modern architecture. Designed by St. Louisan Harris Armstrong, and completed in 1947, the building is recognized as a significant example of the International Style of architecture. The building was praised and appeared in an issue of The Architectural Forum at the time.

{the Armstrong designed Magic Chef building, now U-Haul on S. Kingshighway}

Endicott-Johnson Shoe Distribution Plant – National Register of Historic Places Registration Form by nextSTL.com

Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company real estate listing by nextSTL.com

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  • Tom of the Missouri

    Great blog post. Last time I was in the Magic Chef building to rent a truck, I noticed they had slightly altered the interior designed by Isamu Noguchi, too. So Sad. BTW, the building is part of the modern exhibit currently at the SLAM. I guess preservation by U-haul is better than demolition, but it seem sad anyway.

  • josie

    what is the street to the east of the building that was formerly an alley? The city paved over the original cobblestones (arrgghh)!

  • Brian

    I remember the Magic Chef building when it still housed offices in the early 1970’s. The lobby was a work of art, but it has been destroyed by U-Haul. The building was sheathed in the ’90’s rather than repair the leaking windows. I wish someone would bring the building back to its former glory, but it would probably be cost prohibitive.

  • moe

    That Uhaul building on Kingshighway is a disgrace as it stands now. It stands as the entrance to the City for quite a few people.
    As for Globe building….I’m glad it is going to be put to use. Can’t say I’m a fan of a rental facility for either cars, etc or for document storage. I know there is a need for it, and close to the clients, but I was hoping something more employee-centric.

    • Alex Ihnen

      For the record, the “Eyesore No More” was meant to be a play on words referencing a past article remarking on the number of eyesores along I-64 in the central city – this being one. The reference is on the cutting room floor, but the headline wasn’t changed. Hopefully they’ll clean it up.