Ittner-Designed Clark School to Become 44 Market Rate Apartments

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William B. Ittner’s historic Clark School on Union Blvd is slated to become 44 market rate apartments. Helix Realty of St. Louis is the developer doing business as Clark Union LLC. The sale of the property at 1020 Union Blvd. closed last November for $500,000. An initial building permit for $1.1 million dollars was applied for last month, though the final cost is expected to be much higher.

The Clark School is part of one of the most stunning ensembles of public and institutional architecture in the St. Louis region. The historic promenade just north of Delmar on Union Blvd includes Union Avenue Christian Church (1904), the Cabanne Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (1906), Pilgrim Congregational Church (1906),  the former St. Louis Artist’s Guild (1907) — today’s Boo Cat Club — Ittner’s stunning design for Soldan High School (1908), and the former Young Men’s and Women’s Hebrew Association (1925) — the J — at 724 Union. Begun immediately following the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair, the Union Blvd promenade recreated in permanent stone and terra cotta what the fair had created out of temporary plaster and staff.

Ittner designed his Jacobethan revival Clark School with intricate diamond patterned brickwork, gabled entrances, elaborate stone trim and pointed, copper domed towers. Apartments will make use of Ittner’s large spaces and expansive windows.

The Clark School is on the National Register of Historic Places and is eligible for state and federal tax credits that can account for 40 percent or more of the total financing package. Helix Realty has managed several large projects along the so-called Delmar Divide, including the 12 story tower at 5340 Delmar, 5305 Delmar and Soho Lofts across Union from Soldan High School.

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  • Mike F

    The diamond pattern of which you speak is referred to as “diapering”. It is often a significant feature in many of the designs from the Ittner firm.

  • HawkSTL

    This is okay news; however, you can look at it as a negative. Redevelopment into apartments is now the go-to play for old school buildings. The STL Public Schools have made great strides in regaining accreditation, but redevelopment of the Clark School shows the problems (despite the progress): 1) Many neighborhood parents are not sending their children to STL Public schools (Is anyone in the CWE sending their children there? Hardly any. So, Clark is not needed even though, like Soldan, Clark was the neighborhood school); 2) STL Public Schools will not sell properties to charter schools, although charter schools are public schools. So, many public schools still sit empty; and 3) STL Public Schools is still suing the charter schools and the State to recoup public money that was sent by agreement to the charters — just after receiving a property tax hike to fund public schools (funny that the suit was not filed before the property tax election, isn’t it?). Sorry to not outright applaud this.

    • brickhugger

      Disagree. though your points are well taken, the fact is without these re-uses the schools would decay and eventually be demolished. Look at Carr school just north of downtown. And the apartments can always be deconstructed later. Yes at a cost, but better that than demolition.

      • HawkSTL

        Agreed on most points. Yes, better than demolition. But, with STL Public Schools in charge of disposition of these properties, we can be assured that the only options will be demolition or apartments. Of course, those are not the only options. Just look at Clark. It should be a school, and there are droves of kids just south of there within walking distance. It’s sad.

        • brickhugger

          Well I certainly can’t argue that the SPPS is going to discourage competitors from buying their properties, which I have a problem with (just like schnucks when they bought national). Unfortunately that is the fact on the ground, so we need to deal with it as it is. Unless there is a buyer with cash in hand who has some patience, in which case attorneys could be brought out, but I don’t see too many of those scenarios happening.

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  • John

    Wonderful to see this treasure get repurposed and restored.

  • Ted Yemm

    Glad to see this. I wish that we pushed Ittner more in St. Louis. Easily one of the most influential architects of his generation. Many of his design concepts are still used in school design today.

  • Superdave_312

    This is really excellent!

  • Adam

    Holy shit!

  • Whipple

    North of Delmar? Well I never