By. Chris Stritzel
The building was discovered by UrbanSTL user "ArchCity" on Halloween 2017. The hotel design was modern, 9 floors and included dark colorways. One of the oddest things is that the hotel would be built on a small street connecting Lindell to Maryland Plaza. That street is York Avenue. York is currently a dead street with drive way access to the Chase Park Plaza garage and the site of the former KPLR studio building. As more news got out about the project, it was revealed that Sam Koplar would be teaming up with HomeBase Montana on the sizable project that would add nearly 200 rooms to the Central West End market. It would also make an already dense neighborhood denser and complete the entire block from Euclid to Kingshighway and Lindell to Maryland.
The hotel brand chosen is an AC Hotel by Marriott. The brand will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. However, the design was revised to a more generic looking 7 floor hotel building with very little dark brick and a ton of white stucco. The change was a downgrade but was done for cost reasons, and as you'll learn later, aesthetic reasons. Despite this, the Preservation Board requested that the developers (Homebase and Koplar) along with the architecture firm (Johnson Nathan Strohe) add more brick to the building to fit into the neighborhood aesthetic. That was decided at the December 2017 meeting. Now, here we are 11 months later. The KPLR building still stands. No building permits have been issued and both the architecture firm's website and even HomeBase's website included different information.
The architecture firm's website specifies that the building is 192 while HomeBase says 195 rooms. The architecture firm's website has the project's name labeled at "One York" while HomeBase's say's "AC hotel" with one rendering saying "Central West End Hotel". Because of the inconsistencies in these two websites, I decided to contact Sam Koplar directly and ask him what the hold up is. His response was in quick and gives us more hints into the planning process for the hotel.
Sam started off by saying that the design will remain as the revised plans presented to the Preservation Board. He didn't explain whether the request by the Board would be implemented but said that the 9 Floor design "did not fit in at all with the streetscape nor surrounding buildings". Koplar went on to say, "We feel the design scheme selected best compliments and respects the surroundings". The design utilizes a "double height" first floor to push the second floor of rooms (level 3) above the Argyle Garage. Rooms above Floor 5 will be able to see Central West End in greater detail and can even see Downtown St. Louis, the New Cathedral and other landmarks. On the western side, views face out to Maryland Plaza and the Chase Park Plaza.
When I asked him about why the architecture firm named this project "One York", he had a quick explanation to that, "'One York' was the working title of the project (it's prior life was a multi-family proposal)". It's an interesting tidbit as Koplar has envisioned things on this site before and it just happened to be multi-family. While he didn't explain why the multi-family concept folded, it's an even better idea to build a hotel in the Central West End, at this point in time, as there is strong demand for hotel rooms here.
Parking will be utilized in the Argyle garage across the street. I personally believe that the hotel will benefit the businesses of Maryland Plaza more and even help fill the retail spaces on the backside of the Maryland Plaza buildings. Koplar says construction will start in Quarter 1 of 2019 and will wrap up in Late 2020. Paric will be operating as the General Contractor on the project. Total cost of the project: $45 Million.