South City National Candy Building to Become U-Haul Storage Facility

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nextSTL has learned that Amerco Real Estate Company, a subsidiary of U-Haul closed on the long vacant 300K sf 1928 Art Deco styled National Candy Building and surrounding property in South St. Louis City. The complex had been on the market for at least five years. Several developers explored residential conversion, but found the building presented too many challenges.

U-Haul plans to restore the building, which is listed on the National Register of History Places, to operate as a storage facility. Current annual taxes on the complex totals just more than $39K. Listed for $1.9M, the final sale price was $1.5M. The building was previously owned by Imagine Schools. Ben Cherry, CCIM of Manor Real Estate represented ICC Investments, LLC in the sale.

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U-Haul owns several prominent buildings in the City of St. Louis, including the former Magic Chef headquarters on S. Kingshighway, and the former Globe Drugs warehouse adjacent to Interstate 64 in downtown.

Property addresses included in the sale include: 4200 Gravois, 4204 Gravois, 4212-14 Gravois, 4230-32 Gravois, 4096 Meramec, and 4070 Bingham Avenue. The main warehouse is adjoined to a more recent single-story warehouse with loading bays. The smaller buildings at the corner of Meramec and Gravois are expected to be demolished.

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  • I imagine it’ll be similar to the Globe Drug warehouse downtown, which preserves the exterior character of the building. Relieved that this building will be reused and will remain part of the urban fabric, but a little disappointed that mixed-use residential is not in the plan. New residents would’ve really brought a lot of activity and stability to the neighborhood. And those views from the upper floors must be incredible. It’s a shame the smaller buildings on the corner are apparently slated for demolition- in a city hellbent on replacing urban corners with auto-oriented uses, we need all the corner and filler buildings we have left. They are what distinguish the CITY from suburbs.

  • Matt B.

    I hope they don’t mess up the exterior like they did on the magic chef. It’s quite the majestic property and a very prominent landmark for that area.

  • Potential res/comm/mixed TOD opportunity should Desoto southside Metrolink line ever take off. Figure a station would be right there at Gravois or Chouteau (or splitting the difference at Meramec).

  • Sean McElligott

    Wonder if they are planing to use historic tax credits.

  • STLEnginerd

    It’s better than loosing the building to neglect. UHaul is responsible for saving a surprising number of historic warehouses. Any thoughts on where else they might look to do a similar thing. I have mixed feeling as its great for preservation, but misses the mark on adding density and activity. And as Alex alluded a higher purpose is easily decades away, if ever.

  • Presbyterian

    Glad the building is getting repurposed.

  • Andy

    This is really going to put a damper on the Bigballs kickball parking situation when they use the field next door…

  • John R

    It would have been great to see a home-run mixed-use project but if this ensures the building will be kept in good condition until market conditions improve this is certainly better than leaving it empty,

    • Alex Ihnen

      Right. And the next use, whatever that may be, could be decades away. Until then, the building will be maintained, and use by U-Haul won’t significantly alter it, or limit future reuse options.

      • raccoozie

        Are we sure they won’t significantly alter it? That Magic Chef building looks completely different and not in a good way.

        • Brian

          I hate what they did to Magic Chef, but the cladding was the only practical solution. The glazing on the windows had failed, and water poured into the building with every storm. My office had a lot of stored files damaged from the water. Perhaps one day the building will be restored to its former glory. I remember visiting the building back in the early 1970’s. It was a great building.

          • raccoozie

            Interesting. Do you figure that the windows are still there? Just covered with siding?

        • David Williams

          Before Uhaul bought it, it was a tired, sad hulk of a building in a part of town where floors of office space was not that desirable. At minimum with the sheetmetal cladding, the building is protected from further decay. Maybe someone will choose to repurpose it again, but there would be little to save if they had let it continue the the it was.