By. Chris Stritzel
Today, the Preservation Board passed the preliminary plans for the demolition and construction of a new tower at 300 South Broadway. The decision comes as a win for many in favor of seeing new Downtown Construction, but a loss for those who would’ve loved to see the Historic 1890 building stay in place. The building was designed by architect Issac Taylor (he designed such structures as the old Municipal Courts building on Market Street). However the Preservation Board put forth a motion to incorporate the 1890s facade into the new building as well as making the building 75% glass. They also want a construction permit applied for for the new tower so that the City is not screwed out of a historic structure.
Basically, the cultural resource office will not full approve of the demolition of the existing structure until a building permit is obtained to build the new structure. Jack Holleran Jr, of HDA (who is designing the tower) Sees this as a huge win for both his company and Downtown in general. It is also not meant to be in direct competition to One Cardinal Way that just began construction catty corner to the site. “It is supposed to include different amenities and views than those found at One Cardinal Way”, a representative from HDA said, “basically, we want to offer something different to those who want to live near Busch Stadium and Downtown but don’t want to live at Ballpark Village”.
The design has been criticized though by both supporters of Downtown development and Preservation Board members. Their ultimate concern, the building looks way to much like 212 in Clayton and they don’t want a “Cookie-cutter” skyscraper trend to happen in the region. However this design makes sense as the developer of this project also developed the 212 Building in Clayton. A co-developer of the project is CA Development our of Chicago. Clearly the plans can change. DowntownSTL Inc. CEO Missy Kelley, whom I assume believes, that another construction crane Downtown is a dream and needs to happen. I agree with her.
In my honest opinion, I think it will look great if done correctly. Plus, the all glass facade facing Busch Stadium (and hopefully surrounding areas) will look really nice and will give the impression that St. Louis is a booming city. That, with the 3 cranes that will be up around Ballpark Village by hopefully June, I think our perception will change to those on Interstate 64/44 and 55 passing through the city. Why? Because they will see those cranes and know that new things are coming. On top of that, once these structures are completed, the area around Busch Stadium will be constantly hopping with people as multiple hotels and residential buildings will be around it which improves our street scape.
The Final vote was 4-3. A narrow victory but not the kind that HDA wanted.
Construction should begin in mid to late Spring next year and construction should rap up in late 2020. Click below to see the project update page for 300 South Broadway. It includes additional renderings.