Plans Call for Demo and Replacement of 923 Locust, Renovation of Historic Row

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In April, nextSTL was first to report TWG Development of Indianapolis had purchased the long-vacant row of historic buildings at 913-921 Locust Street in downtown St. Louis. The buildings were purchased from UrbanStreet, which had acquired them from the Roberts Brothers liquidation in 2012. Initial plans called for market rate apartments for the three mid-block buildings, including the three-story 913 Locust, 12-story 917 Locust, and four-story 919-921 Locust, and for the corner building to be replaced.

Now the developer is moving forward with this plan. A resolution to be presented at tomorrow’s St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority meeting (LCRA agenda) would designate “Locust Street Lofts TWG, LLC” as developer of the properties and enter into a redevelopment agreement.

An image posted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows an initial rendering of the new corner building. The existing building is well known for its late 1940s Tudor style makeover. nextSTL has chronicled the building’s interesting history as an art gallery in this profile: When the Art World Came to St. Louis.

{923 Locust in 1955 – even though the gallery had moved across the street and a modern storefront added, framed paintings can still be seen in the second story window}

Work could begin as early as Spring 2017. TWG recently completed an historic renovation project with some similarities in Indianapolis. The 14-story Penn Street Tower opened after a 20-year vacancy as 98 apartments last year. The 185,000 sf, 1913 building was renovated at a reported cost of $14M.

Looking west, then east along Locust Street:

Locust Street_STL917-921 Locust Street - St. Louis, MO

Rendering of a previous proposal for a Hotel Indigo at 913-923 Locust:

10th and Locust_Indigo

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  • Thomas

    My god, did they take inspiration from the Earth City distribution center entranceways for this one??? I live across the street from this site, I’m an amateur 3D modeler, and I am certain I could come up with a better design than this in about 3 hours (heck maybe I will). I hope this development company tries to get its money back from the architect they hired for this. Wow.

  • STLEnginerd

    the one thing that gives me pause is every proposal for this site has included the demo of 923. What is so inherently unworkable about that particular building?
    The current building is 3 stories tall, IMHO for the demo to be justified the replacement would need to be at minimum 6 stories tall (double) and architecturally interesting. If the demo included 921 then I think the replacement should be at least 8 stories tall (again double). The “double replacement height” is my rule of thumb for all but the most historic and architecturally significant buildings.
    If they want to build a 2 story shoe box there are plenty of empty lots on which to do it in and around the downtown area.

  • SnakePlissken

    Downtown is an odd duck. I’m almost entirely convinced that our aldermen and other elected officials have truly no idea how or interested in reviving Downtown. Have things been so bad for so long we’re just like, mEh WhAtEvS?… Tamika is never seen anywhere outside of Carr Square, Coatar is never visible outside Soulard and I’m almost positive Davis hasn’t been awake since 1974. Also, why in the good f*ck do we have or need 3 aldermen representing parts of Downtown and Downtown West!?

    Whew…sorry. Between the above goof troop, Downtown St. Louis, Inc., Larry Rice, Jump, the Downtown players are as odd as whatever just came out of me after my morning coffee. Maybe some day we ship out all these dixie democrats for actual progressives.

    • Riggle

      So. How do we do it?

      • matt

        One thing I noticed about the 7th ward election that got Coatar elected – as a downtown resident at the time – I thought would be helpful for downtown to have an alderman that you know lived downtown. None of the candidates lived downtown, that would’ve been a heavy consideration in my vote. Though I did go Coatar at the end.

      • SnakePlissken

        Burn the whole thing down, child. Burn it.

  • citylover

    The kiener garages made a baby ^^. I know I will be persecuted for saying this, but I don’t mind the demo in this case. However, I would like to see increased density and some vibrancy to contrast older renovations next door. A two-story seems trivial for downtown

  • John

    Super cheap, non-descript new structure next to historic rebab. While it is great to have the rebab of these buildings, the new corner building needs to be re-thought.

  • If the LCRA (and Pres Review Board, and Cultural Resources, and…) is a review committee worth their salt, they will insist that the developer preserve and reactivate the existing 923 Locust building.

    It’s a rare downtown example of “old St. Louis” – somehow it avoided the chopping block all these years — and what’s being proposed now is a poor replacement.

    Seems simple to me — approve the redevelopment plans for the other buildings, require rehab for 923. Anything less will be a loss.

    They don’t have to fill it – once they bring the building back to working order, a business will jump on that space in no time.

  • Ihanaf

    Could be a lot worse. Needs floor to ceiling windows on upper floors. Unclear from the image whether it goes all the way to the alley (which it should). Agree that if they are mostly keeping the current form of the building, they should just be more green and renovate what is there.

  • Ben Harvey

    While this is ugly, it’s still better than a parking lot or the existing rotting building. If the corner building really has to be demolished I would rather have seen something that would look like a modern part of the building next to it. The heights of those buildings are just awkward

  • RJ

    I would rather see green space on that corner. The new building is bland/boring and offers nothing to the neighborhood.

  • Michael C.

    That’s not an improvement at all. Looks very bad.

  • Presbyterian

    I agree the corner proposed building looks pretty bad. I would hope they could use those resources instead to renovate the historic building that’s there now.

    That said, I am excited to see movement on so many buildings that have been sitting idle.

  • Riggle

    Better than a hotel driveway

    • Perry Myers

      No, a driveway would be MUCH better than this abomination. East Germany would have been ashamed to have this on one of its streets.

  • Adam

    FFS that looks like shit. The 1970’s called. It wants its ugly generic box back. And what’s with these f*cking panels everywhere these days? Is it just to save on a few square feet of brick veneer? Absolutely awful. I hope to god they’re forced to redesign that garbage.

    • Michael C.

      It is outrageous in every respect. There is nothing nice about it. The colors are awful. Everything is awful.

    • jkf1220

      Agree. This is totally unacceptable, uh design. This area – OPO Square – is adjacent to some of the most magnificent architecture in St. Louis. Arcade, OPO, Paul Brown, Syndicate, Board of Education etc. How the hell can someone seriously suggest you drop this in that neighborhood. This would never meet form based code (if we had it) but it shouldn’t even get to a rendering stage. Embarrasing.