Long a Demo Target, Repairs May Be Underway at SLU’s Missouri Belting Building

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mo_belting-2

As SSM/Saint Louis University gear up for its $550M hospital project on Grand Boulevard, the fate of several well-known buildings remains in doubt. First in the minds of many is Desloge Tower. We reported in September that it’s “highly likely” the 15-story French Gothic Revival building would remain and be converted to office space.

The other two big questions are the Pevely and Missouri Belting buildings. No final design decisions have been made public at this point. Curiously, shared images showed at least the form of the long contested Pevely building at the corner of Grand and Chouteau. That building, and the now demolished remained of the complex was at the center of a contentious preservation battle in 2012. So while its presence may point to nothing in particular, it was good to see it represented.

But what has our attention is the Missouri Belting building. The early images didn’t reveal much and so little clues may tell a lot. This might be the case with the Missouri Belting building. A tipster contacted nextSTL to say that work was taking place at the site. A quick look confirmed what appears to be fresh mortar replacement on portions of the building’s facade. To be sure, this is the smallest of indicators, but you don’t typically tuckpoint a building that you plan to demolish.

So what was missing even in those massing images of the SSM/SLU hospital was the Missouri Belting building. SLU only acquired the building in January of this year from a private owner residing outside St. Louis. That owner had applied for a demolition permit in 2014, was denied by the city, and pled his case to the Preservation Review Board. The board voted unanimously to uphold the denial of demolition.

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Despite the partial preservation victories, the fate of the Pevely building still appeared sealed. If the university were to return with a demolition request and a real, financed development plan in place for the parcel, it was expected to be lost as well. Along the way, it was assumed the Missouri Belting building next door would also be demolished. As the larger complex lost buildings, first to fire, then the wrecking ball, that all-important “context” was being lost, making future demolition easier.

No permit appears on the city’s website for the Missouri Belting building, and SLU has not yet replied to a request for information. If Desloge Tower, Pevely, and the Missouri Belting building stand, not only will it mark a significant preservation victory, it would be a loud signal that the buy-neglect-demolish-hold development pattern of SLU is finally changing.

{Missouri Belting building in blue, demolished Pevely buildings in red}

Images of SSM/SLU hospital project:

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  • Adam

    welp, so much for that idea:

    “There’s still likely to be some opposition. For instance, Heimburger indicated the remaining Pevely building and Missouri Belting building near the southwest corner of Grand Boulevard and Chouteau Avenue are probably not going to be preserved.

    ‘We haven’t finalized the plan, but it’s likely those buildings are not to be kept intact,’ he said.”

    http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/with-billion-poised-to-flow-into-projects-near-campus-slu/article_45fa4b4c-214f-529c-8464-0ddd2db114dd.html

  • DCWind

    It would be fantastic to see those two buildings renovated and compliment the new construction of SLU’s hospital complex. I have always thought that a grocer (Trader Joes, Lucky’s, etc) would be an excellent fit for the MO Belting building, given its location and proximity to so many students and various forms of transportation and associated commuters. And if a cafe could sit at the Belting Building’s southern face, looking across a landscaped plaza towards a renovated, mixed use Pevely building (office/residential on top of retail), with the downtown St. Louis skyline off to the east…it would be simply perfect. Talk about a transformation of that corner from the past 4 years of controversy and neglect!!

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  • brickhugger

    If they renovated both, it would go a long way towards restoring community goodwill. That, and reskinning the Jesuit building on West Pine.

  • tbatts666

    Yes please. More adaptive reuse please.