Preservation Board approves plan for downtown skyscraper, develo - KMOV.com

Preservation Board approves plan for downtown skyscraper, developer says restrictions could kill construction

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A developer wants to turn a historic building across from Busch Stadium into a 33-story skyscraper. Credit: KMOV A developer wants to turn a historic building across from Busch Stadium into a 33-story skyscraper. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis City leaders voted to preserve a historic building in downtown St. Louis Monday, issuing a decree to the potential developer of a 33-story apartment building in the 300 block of South Broadway across from Busch Stadium.

The Preservation Board approved the development plan, but required the developer keep a corner of the original building’s brick facade.

Tuesday, the developer said that requirement could be a non-starter in the $100 million project.

“We have to think carefully anytime we consider demolishing a brick building,” said Nini Harris, an author and historian who has written 15 books and hundreds of articles on St. Louis history. “This city is so exquisite, and what gives it its special character and texture and feel is St. Louis brick.”

But the developer contends the building is not as historic as it’s being presented.

“What we have is really only a portion of this beautiful structure,” said Jim Fredericks, an attorney for the developer. “It is not all historical. Only a portion of it is historical.”

Fred Lafser, a consultant for the developers, points out the interior of the building has been completely redone and all the windows have been replaced.

The developer wants to transform the structure into a 33-story apartment building with a glass exterior, and the Downtown Neighborhood Association supports the plan. The DNA represents more than 700 downtown residents and 50 small businesses and looks at the development as a potential boon to the area.

“By and large our membership is very supportive or this, for all the reasons earlier mentioned of adding density, adding more residents,” said DNA’s Jared Opsal.

But Harris doesn’t want to see the building go, even if others might. When asked if St. Louis could do with one fewer brick building, she said, “That's how it happens, one here, one there. You whittle away at beauty and all of a sudden it's gone.”

The developer says the restrictions could halt the project. They are reviewing their options. 

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