Adler & Sullivan 705 Olive Building to Become Boutique Marriott Hotel

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It was revealed today that Restoration St. Louis, led by Amrit and Amy Gill will transform the iconic Adler & Sullivan 705 Olive building in downtown St. Louis into a luxury boutique hotel. Built in 1893, Restoration St. Louis purchased the 165Ksf building this past year for $3.3M from long time owners the Cella family. The building most recently served as the headquarters for Southern Real Estate and Financial Co.

The 130-room hotel is planned to fly the flag of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. This would be Restoration St. Louis’ second hotel to be part of Marriott’s independent hotel segment after the Blackhawk Hotel in Davenport, IA, which saw a complete restoration in 2010. It’s been reported that the St. Louis hotel will use the “Blackhawk” brand.

Plans also call for a small number of apartments and a rooftop restaurant, an original feature of the building. It’s expected that the $50M project will seek various incentives including historic tax credits, tax increment financing, and other resources. Work could begin as early as August of this year.

705 map

Restoration St. louis was a heavy early investor in The Grove neighborhoods, purchasing and redeveloping dozens of properties, though may be best known for the restoration of the historic Coronado, Lindell Towers, and Moolah Temple on Lindell across from Saint Louis University. The Gills sold that collection of buildings for $68.5M in 2013.

Often overlooked, and regularly referred to as the second Adler & Sullivan building in St. Louis (after the Wainwright building a block away), the lavishly adorned building remains largely unchanged on the outside. The top 13 of the building’s 15 stories are intact, with only the 1920s and later alterations to the commercial storefronts being regrettable. A 1905 addition by Eames & Young extending along 7th Street fits the building seamlessly enough that it’s generally assumed to be part of the original structure.

Luckily, the second story round windows have been preserved on the building’s alley facade, giving us a clear understanding of the original Olive St. facade. Along with the adjacent and vacant Chemical and Railway Exchange buildings, as well as the Laclede Gas Building, 705 Olive is part of an impressive collection of skyscrapers.

705 56{historic streetscape at 705 Olive, at right with round windows}

705 55{an early photo of the completed building, showing rooftop dining structures}


70510{the building today, showing 1905 Eames & Young addition at right}

705{the rear of 705 Olive from US Bank plaza}

7051{705 Olive and the looming vacant Railway Exchange building}

7052{round windows, once also facing Olive, can be seen in the alley}

7053{the Chemical, Laclede Gas, and 705 Olive building form    an impressive building group}

7057{although greatly altered, 705’s facade carries heavy ornamentation}

7058{left to right: Chemical Building, 705 Olive, Railway Exchange}

70511{the middle floors of 705 Olive}

Blackhawk Hotel_Davenport{the Blackhawk Hotel in Davenport, IA developed by Restoration St. Louis}

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  • Jerry A. McCoy

    Any update on this project?

    • moorlander

      Construction to start soon with demo beginning before the end of the month and a fall 2018 estimated opening. The hotel will raise the Marriott Autograph Collection flag.

      more: “The development will feature 140 hotel rooms, 14 apartments and one top-floor penthouse. The ground floor will include a bar and a Baja-inspired restaurant, and the rooftop will be converted into a restaurant and lounge with a pool. The hotel will also include a 4,400-square-foot ballroom.”


      • caramia12

        Demo starts tonight

  • Hairkutter

    It’s almost sept 2016. What happened to the start of the building

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  • Chicagoan

    It’s thrilling that it’s still around, considering how much of Sullivan’s work was demolished. Chicago still has the Auditorium Building (considered to be Adler & Sullivan’s crown jewel) and the Carson Pirie Scott Building (now a Target, lol), but we lost the Schiller Building and the Stock Exchange Building. A number of his single-family homes still exist and I know he designed a church, several facades, and a storefront that are still around, but it’s sad how much of his stuff we lost. New Orleans and Salt Lake City also demolished noted Sullivan works.

    I like the name Hotel St. Louis, as somebody else said below. Or, Hotel Sullivan? When Daniel Burnham’s famed Reliance Building was turned into a hotel here in Chicago, the developers named it Hotel Burnham. I think naming it after him would be cool.

    I usually stay at Union Station Hotel when I’m in StL. Now the choice isn’t going to be so easy!

    • Anthony Thompson

      No mention of his iconic banks, many of which survive in almost pristine condition?

      • Chicagoan

        Of course! My favorite is his bank in Owatonna, MN (National Farmer’s Bank).

        I was more discussing Louis Sullivan’s work in Chicago, as well as some of the other losses I knew of (New Orleans and Salt Lake City).

        Though, the Wainwright Building and 705 Olive were both constructed by the dream team of Adler & Sullivan, while the banks designed only involved the latter, who’s star was fading in the architecture scene and had to stretch a little bit to find work. He separated from his wife, struggled with alcoholism and I read that his friends had to scrounge together some money to get hi

        • Adam

          I wish we could steal the Guaranty building from Buffalo and plop it down somewhere in the vicinity of the Wainwright. Even though Wainwright is the more notable building, I’ve always been a little jealous of the Guaranty’s level of decoration.

  • The Louminator

    I wonder how many people knew this was a Sulivan building? If only they can restore the ground level iconic archway and round windows! A tall order, but would make such an improvement to the streetscape.

  • Brett

    They’re going to need to change the brand. Or is this to convince more Blackhawk fans to come and ruin our hockey games and stay at this hotel?

    • John R

      good call, Brett. Sounds like they are considering Hotel Saint Louis from the Post-Dispatch article. Honestly, though, I think The Chicagoan would be rather classy and a fitting honor for the architects

  • Jake Banton

    Are the upper floors of the building currently occupied?

    • John R

      There may be some office tenants left but I don’t think there’s much. Southern Real Estate itself moved out to Clayton and Anders Accounting moved over to Market Street after consolidating everyone after an acquisition of a County firm.

  • Don

    This building is a national treasure and I could not be more pleased. Wonderful news.

  • John R

    An intriguing piece here is long-term plans for the surface parking lot in the rear of the building at the corner of 7th & Locust… it is owned by the Gills as well. I hope long-term they consider building a mixed-use building of some height that could bring street-level retail, some residents, and perhaps even assist some of the parking needs of surrounding developments. (I don’t know the veracity of it, but I have heard that securing parking was a bit of an issue for past proposals for the Chemical.)

    The proposal as is is a big step forward for downtown, and hopefully they can capitalize even further!

  • Timm

    They better leave Pickles deli alone lol

    • John R

      There are so many storefronts to occupy so I don’t think they’ll have a problem moving elsewhere if there is a need.

    • moorlander

      BJ article states all of the retail tenants “will be forced to relocate if the plan comes to fruition.”

  • Presbyterian

    This is fantastic news. This building is an architectural gem, and I hope they do a full historic renovation including the lower two floors. I mean… this is a Louis Sullivan. This is part of our nation’s cultural heritage.

    It’s great to see the confidence investors have in the strength of downtown’s recovery!

    • Anthony Thompson

      “This is Louis Sullivan” is probably the reason the lower two floors won’t be restored. Because, even if detailed plans exist, where do you find someone to carve the stone (or make the molds)?

      • Guest

        There are stone masons and sculptors around that are well capable of performing these kinds of tasks. It’s the cost that becomes the issue so it would depend upon whether the Gills are willing to sink that much into it. I’m hoping they can work it out. The round windows on this magnificent gem if done properly were (would be) a piece de resistence, IMO.
        The fact that the Gills are behind this project thrills me as I’m sure they’ll do whatever can be done to the best of their ability to make it good.

        • Chicagoan

          The ornament that Sullivan put into his designs was mind-numbing. Check out his detail on the main entrance of the Carson Pirie Scott Building in Chicago for reference. Or, walk over to the Wainwright Building and look up. It has incredible detail at the top.

          I’m not saying it can’t be done, but a full restoration would be a definite challenge. Not just any sculptor or stone mason is capable of taking on this project and I’d bet it’d be very expensive.

          You seem to speak very highly of Gills, though, which gives me hope. I’ll be following this one closely!

          • Adam

            There are some pretty talented stone masons that work with/for the City Museum. I wonder if any of them would be up for the task…It would be pretty awesome to see those lion grotesques return.

          • Chicagoan

            It’d be cool to see them try. I guess the concern is the restoration ending up appearing overly contrived. Perhaps it’s just best to embrace the renovations and clean up the poor work that looks to have come later.

          • Guest

            Chicagoan, in reading years ago about Sullivan and/or the Wainwright Building information given was that the building was the first steel reinforced building built which brought about the ability of going much higher, therefore giving birth to the skyscraper. Prior to that, lower floors had to have very thick masonry walls to support upper stories. Steel reinforcement made the thick lower walls unnecessary because now the strength was distributed in the steel frame, rather than the foundations below them. Now, (lol) I don’t know that for a fact, but it’s what I read, and seem to remember reading it in more than one source.
            Maybe there’s a structural engineer or architectural historian here who can set me straight if information given was incorrect.

          • Chicagoan

            It’s tough to say. Most research yields that the Home Insurance Building is the first skyscraper in the world. But, there’s a definite argument that the Equitable Life Building is the first skyscraper. It all depends on how you frame your argument.

          • Guest

            Ahh…yes, I’m very familiar with the Carson Pirie & Scott main entrance ironwork on the corner of State and Madison since my early teens (maybe I took an interest at that age because my mom worked as a nanny for the Scott family, who she spoke highly of) and admired it every time I was in Chicago. Such a treasure! I remember it well, sad that that high end department store is no more and has become a Target store. Well, unlike St. Louis’ big old departments stores, at least it and Marshall Field are still retail. And I’m also familiar with the Wainwright’s ornamental detail…world’s first skyscraper, too.

            Lovejoy Library at SIUE had a very nice small collection of Sullivan architectural pieces on display when I attended…back in the mid to late 60’s. Don’t know if it’s still there or not. In fact I worked with the architect (forgot his name long ago) in putting some of the pieces up and became a fan of Sullivan then.

            The Gills were instrumental in bringing back the Grove, and also rehabbing the old Coronado Hotel. I’ve not seen anything they’ve done that hasn’t been well done.

          • Chicagoan

            Eh, I don’t know about the world’s first skyscraper. Some consider the Equitable Life Building in New York to be the first (Completed in 1870, 7 stories, now demolished). Most scholars consider the Home Insurance Building in Chicago to be the first (1884, 10 stories, now demolished).

            In terms of oldest surviving skyscraper, a lot of people point to the Manhattan Building (1888) and the Rookery Building (1886) in Chicago as the first, depending on qualifications.

            Then, talk to some New Yorkers and they’ll argue for the Flatiron Building as the first “true” skyscraper.

            I believe most people refer to the Wainwright Building as the first skyscraper because Frank Lloyd Wright referred to it as such in “The Tyranny of the Skyscraper”.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Nice short summary here:

            10 Buildings that Changed America:

  • Ashley

    Ahhhh great news! Marriott is a great flag to fly. I hope this will inspire some more retail development downtown. I hate having to drive to the county to buy clothes. It’d be great to see a flagship H&M.

    No timeline for project start or completion? I hope it gets underway soon!

    • m

      H&M sucks. How about a Zara.

      • Ashley

        I am thinking a store that can cater to all price points and not only be a source of business clothes (for people working downtown in a pinch when they spill their pickles deli down their shirt) and street clothes (for people who actually live downtown and don’t want to trek out to the Galleria) would be best for downtown. I think an H&M can really hit those targets all around

        • citylover

          Definitely agree. H&M would be perfect. I wonder if any retailers are starting to gain interest with apartment growth. Arcade is already 50% full.

      • baopuANDu

        Zara rates as the worst in the so called fast fashion industry, providing inconsistent low quality goods. I’ve had clothes from them that haven’t lasted to a second wearing. Complete trash.

    • moorlander

      BJ article states “construction could start as soon as August” but I wouldn’t count on it.