First Look at Bevo Mill Biergarten Planned for South City Landmark

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Back in May the City of St. Louis selected Pat & Carol Schuchard as the developers to take on the vacant landmark Bevo Mill at 4749 Gravois Avenue. The Schuchards, redevelopers and owners of event spaces the Boo Cat Club and Majorette, purchased the building for $500K. Planned was a $3.3M renovation and the addition of a biergarten.

It has been hoped the biergarten would be open by fall 2016, but things haven’t gone as quickly as planned. Renovation presented some surprises, and higher cost, and so the new owners sought and received a 10-year tax abatement. Originally, few if any incentives were to be granted to the project.

Now the developer is set to present plans by Killeen Studio Architects for biergarten addition at the north end of the property. While the design echoes some materials in the historic structure, it presents a very much contemporary design. The city’s Cultural Resources Office is recommending the Preservation Board support the addition to the city landmark, noting the biergarten will not require any new openings, and its impact on Bevo Mill will be easily reversible.

Bevo Mill is the centerpiece of the National Register Bevo Mill Commercial Historic District (PDF).

From the City of St. Louis Preservation Board Agenda:

Owner: 4749 Gravois LLC, Pat & Carol Schuchard
Architect: Killeen Studio Architects, Michael Killeen: That the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the proposed addition with the stipulation that details and specifications are submitted to the Cultural Resources Office for review and final plans and exterior materials are approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

Recommendation: That the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the proposed addition with the stipulation that details and specifications are submitted to the Cultural Resources Office for review and final plans and exterior materials are approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

The Proposal: This is a preliminary review application to construct a frame addition to the north of Bevo Mill, City Landmark #36. The addition will occupy the space of a small parking area and will be attached to north façade of the Bevo Mill.

The design has been selected to be distinct from the Bevo Mill in style, materials and massing; however, the frame structure will reference the heavy-timber framed interior spaces of the Bevo Mill. The applicants have revised several elements of their original proposal at the request of the Cultural Resources Office; in particular, the main block of the addition has been moved further to the north of the site to mitigate the visual effect of the new structure on the Bevo Mill.

Cultural Resources Office consideration of the criteria for construction impacting upon a City Landmark led to these preliminary findings:

  • The Bevo Mill, at 4749 Gravois Avenue, is a City Landmark.
  • The applicants propose an open shelter/biergarten structure, constructed with a heavy wood frame.
  • The proposed addition will be constructed adjacent to the Bevo Mill, and will occupy a current parking area at the rear of the building;
  • The addition will be attached to the Bevo Mill with only a ledger board and will not require any new openings; its impact upon the building itself will be small and reversible;
  • The applicants have made several revisions to their original proposal that reduces its visual impact upon the City Landmark.

Based on the Preliminary findings, the Cultural Resources Office recommends that the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the proposed design, with the stipulation that details and specifications are submitted to the Cultural Resources Office for review and final plans and exterior materials are reviewed and approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

 

Bevo Mill in 2013 from National Register of Historic Places Registration Form:

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  • JasonToon

    Fantastic news for a landmark and neighborhood that will always be dear to my heart. The modern design seems respectful and humane to me, with the frame and chimney elements. This addition and the renovation of the main building seem like a best-case scenario for a landmark that was at risk of irreversible decay.

    • Dominic Ricciotti

      I grew up just blocks away from the Bevo Mill in the 40s and to a kid the Mill was fantastic (especially since its architecture is fairly Disneyish). At that time Gravois was a major shopping street for South City just like Cherokee, both with shops very different than either has now. But if Cherokee had the Casa Loma, Gravois had the Bevo Mill. Soon my family moved to another part of town, in fact the Cherokee neighborhood, and both streets eventually deteriorated, until fairly recently. Gravois never became the street Cherokee is now, though the Bosnian overlay has given it its own character. The new Bevo project may well be a catalyst for a renaissance of the neighborhood, which fortunately is not in bad shape.

  • tbatts666

    4/5 butter cakes

    Each side appears to be interesting (no blank walls!)

    I’m curious about the walls seperating the sidewalk from the patio/plaza. I hope the place still looks seductive from the passerby.

    Darn that parking lot is obnoxious and dismal. Would be nice to see some tiny developments in the parking spots next to the sidewalk. Maybe good places to park a food truck? Any ideas what could fit here?

    • stef

      Food trucks aren’t allowed in Bevo. No “street vending” allowed, at all.

      • tbatts666

        Wow that’s crazytalk!

        • Riggle

          The rule in all of the City except downtown (but if you park in a lot, not on the street, you can vend wherever)

      • Riggle

        All you need is a private lot (bevo is full of them)

        • stef

          And an accommodating alderwoman…

          • Riggle

            Not really. You are street vending if you are on private property, all you need is access to a lot and you could operate all day and night

  • Dahmen Piotraschke

    It must be renewed or removed..!! Investment and expansion to keep up this historic landmark. Bevo neighborhood is a great place…and the intersection as well needs to be restructured and ped. safer and freindly. If not raze the grounds and move the windmill down to Foulard and into Oktoberfest and Mardi Gras prime real estate.

    • jhoff1257

      What?

      • STLrainbow

        I think the sentiment is if the Bevo Mill can’t be renovated successfully in the neighborhood it should be relocated to Soulard where it could be.

        • jhoff1257

          Yeah I get what he’s saying…just a dumb idea to pick it up and move it to Soulard lol.

  • Deep Dish

    It’s great to see someone with a real plan finally taking over Bevo Mill, but I’m pretty disappointed in the design. Not really a fan of the contemporary design on top of the historic architecture.

    • Chicagoan

      Mixing historic and modern works great if done properly, check out the British Museum and The Reichstag.

      Granted, this design doesn’t have the skillful hand of Norman Foster.

      • stef

        Can’t imagine Norman Foster darkening the doorstep of Bevo for a piddly little $3 million job.

        I quite like the design and think it fits nicely in the area. It’s not like there aren’t existing non-historic buildings all around the area…

    • tbatts666

      Darn I’m usually the one making comments about my disdain modern architecture, but I do like this.

      Can you point out the elements you think don’t work?

  • Cowboy

    awesome news. Can’t wait to have the Bevo Mill come back to life!!!

  • John

    Thumbs up for the renovation of Bevo Mill, although I am not a fan of the tax abatement “welfare” handout to the developers.

    The developers got a bargain on the property at $500K. Their original $3.3M renovation budget (apparently without any contingency funds), seems way under planned. Who is helping to pay for this private, for-profit enterprise? We are.

    • Alex Ihnen

      This could be a good place to examine tax abatement. This project was granted 10 years and may actually succeed in the but-for argument. At least a full renovation and functional expansion wasn’t going to happen on the cheap. This should be an asset for a part of town that has risen and fallen in recent years.

      • Riggle

        How has is risen and fallen in recent years? What does that mean?

        • Justin Striebel

          Alex can expand more, but my impression is that the Bevo area really rose as Saint Louis gained so many Bosnian immigrants from the mid-90s or so on. This was the area that saw the biggest impact.

          But as the city struggled in many of the ways it has for a long time, a lot of the Bosnian community has moved into South County or other parts of the region. Bevo is still, I think, much better off than before the immigration, but it’s struggling in a lot of ways. It’d be great to get Bevo really trending back up again.

          • Riggle

            That makes sense, the rise was pretty modest, and it seems many of the Bosnian businesses remain on that strip of Gravois, or am I wrong?

    • tbatts666

      I like the way you think… but this isn’t a stadium or a wal mart.

      It’s versatile, Lower risk use. If the business goes. belly up the building could find a different use. Might be worth the public investment.

      • JasonToon

        I agree. Unlike a stadium, this will be a positive presence in the neighborhood year-round. Unlike a Wal-Mart, this will actually enhance the fabric of the neighborhood and the commercial district. Unlike either, this project uses an existing structure (and a great one) instead of building a flimsy new eyesore. I’d rather trade ten years of taxes for a $4 million investment in Bevo than let the building rot.

  • BevoMillNeighborhoodFan

    I like Bevo Mill neighborhood myself. Looks like a good hang out spot for community gatherings.

  • Presbyterian

    I’m more excited about this project now than ever. I think the modern design will do much to elevate a neighborhood that could easily have slipped again into decline. Yay for Bevo!