Lafayette Square appears close to finally developing the long-vacant Praxair site. Pulte Homes plans to build 64 Killeen Studio Architects-designed townhomes on the Praxair site bounded by Chouteau, Missouri Avenue, MacKay Place and a separate parcel fronting Hickory Street to the south.
The site is within the Lafayette Square local historic district, which stipulates requirements for a new construction project such as is being proposed. The city’s Cultural Resources Office is recommending the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the project with several provisions: that rear elevations of buildings within two parcels of public streets be brick; sidewalks be placed on both the north and south sides of the re-opened LaSalle Street; and of course that final plans and materials be reviewed by CRO.
On June 25, 2005 the Praxair site along Chouteau Avenue in the city’s Lafayette Square neighborhood caught fire. The site served as storage for gas tanks, which began to explode, sending debris onto the rooftops of surrounding homes and businesses. In all, as many as 8,000 gas cylinders exploded, and the fire took a full five hours to get under control. Interstate 64, just more than 1/3mi to the north, was closed. The Cardinals game was delayed.
The 4-acre site has sat vacant since. The adjacent Lafayette Walk townhome development stalled after 31 of 37 planned units were completed in 2008. That project was announced in 2004 and suffered from bad timing as units began to sell in late 2007. In recent years, development has picked up in the neighborhood with Mississippi Place on the east side of the park, infill along Park Avenue, and new single-family homes centered on Dolman Street.
More from our previous story: Pulte Homes Plans 64 Townhomes for Praxair Site in Lafayette Square
After the 2005 fire, the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee (LSRC) created a Praxair Neighborhood Task Force. Praxair initially sought to resume operations at the Lafayette Square site, but neighborhood and city opposition denied that effort. Praxair now operates out of Cahokia, IL and still owns the Lafayette Square site.
Lafayette Walk townhomes adjacent to Praxair site.
Existing Praxair site:
Images from The Lafayette Square Neighborhood – Urban Plan and Amendment #1: