Preservation Planned for SW Bank Corner Buildings, Demo for Walgreens In Between

BMO Harris_SW Bank

Rumors of plans to demolish the Soutwest Bank building, now home to BMO Harris Bank, have been swirling for years. The rumors were just that as BMO Harris sought feedback from the city, local officials, and neighbors. That effort appears to have culminated in a plan the bank will to take to the city’s Preservation Review Board.

At a public hearing tonight, BMO Harris outlined a plan that would preserve the corner building, dating from 1905, a move widely expected. The building would undergo a full historic rehab, including removal of the paint, and a small addition constructed to the west. With banks requiring less physical room, the majority of the space on the site is unused. The corner building would provide enough square footage for the redesigned bank.

Much less expected is a pledge to retain the corner building at Botanical Avenue and donate it to the Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. While the building at Southwest Avenue is a landmark for many drivers, the Botanical building is an important anchor for the neighborhood and surrounding residential streets.

BMO Harris_SW Bank 4

In between the two corner buildings demolition would make way for a Walgreens. Initial images show a building very similar to that at Clayton Road and Big Bend Boulevard, though with taller windows. Ingress and egress is still being planned, but would reportedly include curb cuts on Kingshighway.

A standalone restaurant would be constructed near the west side of the property, set back from Southwest. A potential tenant has not been disclosed. The Walgreens across Southwest would close. The plan is set to go before the Preservation Review Board at its meeting July 25.

BMO Harris_SW Bank 5{the Kingshighway facade currently presents continuous storefronts}

BMO Harris_SW Bank 3{light blue offers a guess as the site of the planned Walgreens}

The building at Southwest and Kingshighway was the scene of an attempted robbery in 1953. That event would become famous with the 1959 film The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery, staring Steve McQueen. The site is part of the Reber Place National Historic District, which prompted the need for BMO Harris to submit plans to the Preservation Review Board, allowing various stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback.

BMO Harris_SW Bank 2