Residential Conversion Planned for Former Gas Station in Shaw

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The former Shell gas station on the northeast corner of Thurman and Russell in the Shaw neighborhood is under new ownership with plans for a residential conversion.

The property at 4065 Russell was originally developed by Shell Petroleum Company and served as a gas station in the 1930’s and 40’s. In 1950 it was converted to an “Ice Cream Drive-In” and later became a Tastee Freez in the 1960’s. The two buildings sat vacant from 1970-1990 and have seen only limited use since then with the rear building serving as an antenna repair shop starting in the early 2000’s.

 

 

The new owner, Branden Miller plans to preserve and adapt the two existing structures into his private residence with a detached guest house. At 588 square feet the main building referred to in the plans as the “L house” is the slightly larger of the two with the structure near the alley referred to as the “box house” being 440 square feet. Although the small scale presents some unique design challenges, it also allows for higher end design elements to be incorporated without significantly impacting the overall project cost.

 

Plans by architect Nathan Dirnberger show extensive landscaping, a shipping container adapted as a carport, and a nanawall glass door system on the primary structure allowing a completely open air transition into the space. Miller commissioned Faring Purth to paint a mural that wraps around two sides of the box house creating a connection between the Shaw neighborhood, Cherokee Street and the Grove where Purth also has large scale public art.

 

“I want to bring the property back to life by developing two simple living spaces focused on keeping the raw elements of the buildings, brick and natural concrete and juxtaposing high design features, furniture with an openness between the neighborhood and living space inside” said Miller. He hopes that the property can be flexible enough to serve as a place for community engagement, art and conversation through projector installations, movie nights and outdoor entertainment while still maintaining the ability to be a private home.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring of 2018.

 

 

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  • SikofFalln

    As a Shaw resident I am really excited to see this space being renovated!

  • Rusty

    At what point do these gentrifying neighborhoods reclaim their arterials for functional use? Ie grand by Shaw or Jefferson by benton park? These nabes are seeing a ton of investment, but lack retail. Retail could be placed on the arterials, and maybe these great areas wouldn’t look like the East Boogie when seen from the main road.

    • Jason Fossella

      You don’t get walkable urban retail until population densities get into the 20-30k/mi range. There just isn’t enough foot traffic below that. The densest parts of the city are only in the 10-12k/mi range, so you need the number of people in Shaw or Benton Park to more than double before retail becomes viable. And those numbers are pre-Amazon. Now that delivery is so common, we’re seeing retail fail even in fairly dense parts of Manhattan- so it’s likely that those areas will need to have their populations triple or more to make small walkable retail viable.

      • Rusty

        By that logic there wouldn’t be any walkable retail in the City of St Louis

        • Jason Fossella

          There really isn’t. There’s a few “festival marketplace” type areas, like the CWE and the Loop, which draw destination shoppers, but most real retail is suburban style: Walgreens and CVS and Schnucks. And new construction is exclusively of that style, even in areas that are relatively dense, like Walgreens/Fields development south of Lafayette Square.

          • Nick

            Retail in areas like the Loop and CWE is really all that you’d expect from any midsize city. Also literally every new high rise in CWE has street level retail or restaurant space. You’re confounding different areas of the city that are more diverse than you give credit.

          • Rusty

            Got it, Washington, south grand, Cherokee, Manchester Ave and Euclid aren’t walkable retail, they are festival market places. That’s rich

          • Jason Fossella

            they are not literal festival marketplaces, because they were not developed with that in mind (like Fanueil Hall). but they are that type of place- a place people drive to in order to engage in shopping and eating in an urban space. they are the city as tourist destination, a less clean version of Main Street USA. this doesn’t mean that people don’t live there and that the residents don’t walk around and do things, but the vast majority of visitors to these areas drive in from other neighborhoods or the suburbs (or else Forest Park SW is populated entirely by alcoholics, because there’s no way the residents are supporting all those bars on Manchester.)

            “walkable retail” means more than a place where it is possible to walk around and buy things. It has to, or else the Galleria is walkable retail. It means a place where daily shopping and routine services (a haircut, for instance) can be and typically are accomplished on foot within range of one’s home or business. I submit that there is no part of St. Louis (and very few parts of any American cities besides New York) where that is true.

          • Rusty

            Wow, ok, what ever you say. Obviously there is walkable retail all over the City, those that live downtown or in the central west end can walk to all/most needs. I do the same on Cherokee and South Grand. So it’s true in multiple parts of st louis, by your own definition there is plenty of walkable retail in st Louis. Just because you live a drive to urbanism life style doesn’t mean lots of people dont.

          • kjohnson04

            That could have been rectified in years past by requiring a Schnucks or a Walgreens be built in conjunction with a residential tower, or dense residential development, where the door is up to street, and not having an imposingly large parking lot in front.

          • Rusty

            East* and that development could have been required to have an urban form, unfortunately it wasn’t

  • matt

    As a shaw resident my dream was for this to turn into a pizza by the slice type of place with outdoor seating around, etc.

    But whatever – this works too. Glad to see it being developed & not torn down. That corner will be really interesting with this & the cafe across the street.

    • Rusty

      That would require foot traffic, of which there is zero in Shaw

      • Ashley

        lol oh yeahhhh that’s why sweet art, mix and match, fiddlehead fern, sashas, thurmans grill, etc. etc. etc. get absolutely no business.

        /s

        • Rusty

          The comment was about pizza by the slice places, the type of place that really needs foot traffic. I’m sure some of the business you mentioned do fine with people that drive to their destination. Although some of them are NEW and haven’t proved their concepts yet. I know that catering place that opened was supposed to have a market (it doesn’t, again, lack of foot traffic). Fiddle head was great, I think they will do well, when I was there 90%+ were driving there… Shaw is the kind of place where people drive to Brentwood to shop, but go out to dinner/bars more locally. Pretty common in yuppie city hoods.

          • Nick

            “Shaw is the kind of place where people drive to Brentwood to shop, but go out to dinner/bars more locally. Pretty common in yuppie city hoods.”

            I know trolling is your hobby and all, but this as opposed to where in region, exactly? Brentwood is our retail hub, so why would you expect anything otherwise? I’d be willing to bet similar habits are true for the majority of residents in about 95% of StL neighborhoods.

            PS. no need to respond, I’ll go ahead and do it for you…”car slave, you’re the reason StL is in decline mwahh”

          • Ashley

            anyone who is driving to the target in brentwood needs to get their head checked. the one on south hampton is less busy and closer to shaw.

            also, FWIW, mix and match started as a trunk show business, got brick and mortar in shaw and has been expanding their regular business hours ever since due to business. but you probably wouldnt know that history being the google scholar that you are.

          • Rusty

            You’re right, Shaw has a great retail scene /s

        • Rusty

          I wouldn’t use mix and match as an example, its a trunk show service, what ever that means, the opposite of the type of place that needs a commercial district to function in.

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  • Presbyterian

    This is a fascinating and unexpected reuse of a building that most would have assumed ripe for demolition. I love it!

  • John

    Inspiring and creative! A plus for the community!