Owner seeks to demolish historic club in North St. Louis - KMOV.com

Owner seeks to demolish historic club in North St. Louis

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Inside of the abandon Club Imperial in North St. Louis ( Credit: KMOV) Inside of the abandon Club Imperial in North St. Louis ( Credit: KMOV)

NORTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) –  In its heyday, Club Imperial in North St. Louis was a hot spot with performers like Ike and Tina Turner and Chuck Berry, but now the building could be demolished.

The building that once house Club Imperial on West Florissant and Goodfellow is now vacant. A fire years ago gutted part of it, the roof is in disrepair and there is water in the basement.

Robert Vroman bought the building at a city auction last summer and now plans to ask the Preservation Board for permission to demolish it.

“I am not a builder, I simply buy from the auction and sell it on to whoever can make the best use of it,” said Robert Vroman.

Vroman has a buyer interested in demolishing the building and building a strip mall and restaurant.

The building originally opened in 1928 as a dance hall and then in the 1950s was turned into Club Imperial by George Edick. Artists like Tina and Ike Turner, Chuck Berry and the Monkey’s played at the dance hall. It also was the place where swing dancing flourished and a dance was named Imperial Style after the club.

Edick passed away in 2002. Vroman says his son lost the building in a 2013 tax sale. It was purchased by another buyer, but nothing happened and it went back to the city. Vroman says his hope is for someone to turn it into an asset for the neighborhood.

“It went back to tax auction in 2017, I was the only bidder, my opinion is the market has spoken for the opportunity to rehab this building, no one wants it,” said Vroman.

The building is appraised at $226,000. Vroman says he’d be happy to sell it to someone wishing to redevelop it but at this point he says, the only interest is for the piece of land.

The St. Louis Preservation Board will meet on January 22 to make a decision.

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