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Partially collapsed building almost restored

by Mark Schnyder, News 4

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 6:17 PM

The "P" Building has stood along South Grand in South St. Louis for some 90 years.  But a good chunk of it came tumbling to the sidewalk after violent winds on October 26th knocked a decorative wall off the edge of the roof.  No one was hurt burt some thought the building would never be the same.

The owner of the building, which houses apartments and a couple of businsess on the ground level, didn't accept that assessment that day.

"It's a disaster, but it's a disaster we can deal with," Karen Karabell told me that ugly October morning.

Later that day she had a restoration team out to the building and they've been working almost non-stop for five weeks.

We showed up Thursday.  Karen invited us to come watch a milestone moment as crews placed a 400-pound cement medallion atop the building, replacing the one that was destroyed when it hit the ground five weeks earlier.  Karen likes this new one better anyway.

She didn't have to do any of this.  She could have pocketed more of the insurance money and done the bare minimum to make sure the building was safe.  She said going the next step to make the building look as good as, if not better than, before is about much more than herself or her building.

"It's a vote of confidence in the neighborhood," she told me Thursday morning.  "We believe in the neighborhood.  We don't want to walk away.  That medallion comes from a building in North St. Louis where people did walk away."

The restoration is expected to be complete at 3653 South Grand in the next couple of weeks.

Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.  He can be reached at