Demolition of the Central Apartments at 3727 Olive began late November / early December. For the first (and last) time in several years, the storefronts at the first floor of the building were revealed from behind the plywood barricade that had been erected to block the sidewalk so that pedestrians don't get hit by falling brick. Apparently when the entire building comes crashing down on the sidewalk during demolition, no protection is needed.
By mid-December most of the front wing of the T-shaped building is gone except for building entrance and west storefront, and only the west half of the main portion of the building remains.
From this angle it is easy to see that the concrete frame, floors and roof slab of the building was in fine structural condition. Only the exterior brick skin of the building, which was peeling away in several places was in need of serious repair, meaning that the building as a whole was definitely rehab-able.
Demolition revealed that the upper floor contained a large attic space above the plaster ceiling that increased in height toward the front of the building due to the roof slope, which could have provided very loft like spaces for units on this floor.
Like most apartments built in the early 20th century, these included built-in cabinets that were still intact as the building came down.
On the east end of Grand Center, where SLU recently cleared several buildings including the Locust Livery Stable, the two new block-wide slabs of asphalt stretching from Locust north to Samuel Shepherd are now marked by large new lighted signs. They appear to be poorly designed knock offs of the attractive neon signs by Kiku Obata that have marked several surface parking lots in Grand Center for about a decade. The originals add a nice bit of kitsch to the still emerging arts district, but these additions by SLU are simply ugly.
Illinois Capitol, Vandalia
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