The Lister Building Annex was built in 1914 as an expansion of the Lister Building next door that had been built in 1905. Both were designed by architect John L. Wees and housed medical offices until they were abandoned many years ago. In 1999, gusty winds caused the front parapet of the Annex to tumble off the building onto the sidewalk below along Olive. At the time, the buildings were owned by the City of St. Louis, and the Annex although having suffered only minor damage was declared a public hazard and demolished. The site is currently occupied by a dog park and community garden, but will likely be developed in the future.Fortunately the larger Lister Building at the intersection of Taylor and Olive was spared. In 2001, Uan and Sue Nguyen of Central West End Builders bought the building and embarked on the challenging task of re-building.
This was no small task, considering that when the Nguyen's bought the building, over half the floors and roof were already in the basement, and what remained was not salvageable due to rot. As the photo below from the building's website dramatically shows, the building was literally a shell with four walls and some interior columns and beams. The floor at the top of the photo is all new construction.
The project endured another setback during construction, when the fourth floor of the east wall collapsed, but the they simply re-built the wall and moved on with completion. The building now houses well appointed apartments as well as a furniture store and coffee house on the first floor. The building received a most enhanced award from Landmarks in 2004.
It's no accident that I happen to be showing this example of extreme re-building, since as Eco-Absence first reported on Sunday, Pete Rothschild has applied for a permit to demolish the Switzer building on Laclede's Landing, which is in similar condition to the Lister Building prior to renovation. More on this in the next post...
Update - from a comment by Michael Allen on the Urban St. Louis site: "Metro wants the building demolished, because they are afraid it will collapse onto the MetroLink station in the Eads Bridge.
The federal reviewers are not allowing tax credits for the building's rehab, effectively killing the project. Rothschild would prefer to rebuild, but without credits can't make it work."