By. Chris Stritzel
RiseSTL Community Development is planning a historic restoration of the old Granite City YMCA Building in the heart of their Downtown into 96 affordable loft apartments. The address is 2001 Edison Avenue. This comes as US Steel announced that they will add more jobs and basically reopen the entire Granite City Steel factory, a big win for the town and region. And while the apartments may not have been planned as part of the Steel Factory reopening, they are planned as Downtown Granite City is getting some new things such as shops and cafes. While the development there is slower than most cities in the area, it is a start, so this will be welcomed.
This has been in the works since 2016 when a document was filed with the city of Granite City talking about the redevelopment project. At the time, the building was to include 40 to 45 apartments, retail and studio space. According to the new plans, the number of apartments have more than doubled and retail is still in the mix. But the square footage of Units have also collapsed if that's the case. I figured a typical floor plate (with stairs, an elevator and hallways) is roughly 14,000 square feet. If the basement isn’t used for apartments, each unit will be 437.5 square feet BEFORE the thought of anything other than a studio or one bedroom comes into view.
While the plans are murky right now, a swimming pool in the basement could be filled in for more units thus upping the square footage per unit to 583 square feet before anything other than a studio/1 bedroom is considered. The interior will need mold, asbestos and lead paint removed from it to make it livable. The source also stated that the former plan included demolishing neighboring buildings for a Parking Garage for the building, but I don't see that happening since a majority of the block this is on is a Parking Lot. There could also be more apartments built onto the building as part of the suppose parking garage part of the project but even that is up in the air.
I have contacted RiseSTL to see what they will say about this project. I will update this story when they respond. In the meantime, the only true source we have is a document from the government of Granite City from 2016 about the original proposal. Not much besides the ambitions. It is linked in the button below. The gallery below that shows the current state of the building from a Illinois Document.
One reader said that back in the mid 1900s, this YMCA used to be a popular spot for “Teen Town”. Dances and parties would be held here almost every week for teens. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.