Sunday, September 7, 2008

Moonrise Hotel rises in The Loop

The Moonrise, a new 7 story 124 room boutique hotel is rising in The Loop on the site of a former funeral home at 6175 Delmar between the Pageant and the Pin-up Bowl. The funeral home was demolished to make way for the hotel, but the historic front of the building is being re-constructed as the lower facade of the hotel, with the tower rising behind. A restaurant will occupy the area that would have been the former front rooms of the funeral home, and a rooftop bar and outdoor terrace atop the hotel should provide spectacular views of the City.

The Moonrise will be one of the only examples that I aware of in St. Louis where a historic facade is preserved or re-built as part of a new larger structure. This practice, which is more common on other larger cities is known as facadism. The practice is often controversial due to the fact that all the interior portions of the building are typically destroyed. In this case however, like many funeral homes, only a few front rooms could have been argued as having any historic significance, and here these were not really overly ornate.

As the photo above partially shows, beyond the first 20 feet of the front of the funeral home was a plain flat roofed brick box with no ornamentation.
The Moonrise Hotel is the brain child of Joe Edwards, who is responsible for most of Delmar's rejuvenation east of Skinker and the extension of The Loop district east to the Delmar MetroLink station. This project is example of what is unfortunately a fairly rare occurrence in St. Louis. While a historic building is demolished, the most significant portion is re-built and becomes part of a new landmark structure.

The materials of the new tower are not luxurious. The exterior will be a mix of EIFS and brick, but unlike many newer hotels of this size, the building does not try to achieve false grandeur by adding over-scaled goofy cornice elements at the top of the building. The building is unabashedly modern in contrast to the funeral home facade. The one element of whimsy will be the tower which instead of clock faces, will display the current phase of the moon. Notice in the photo above that the streetscape trees and lighting is protected out of harms way, and an accessible covered walkway is provided during construction... also rarities in St. Louis.
The main entrance and lobby will be located behind the rebuilt facade with a drive off Delmar in the same location as the original drive of the funeral home. A tunnel through the rear wing of the L shaped plan will lead to the large existing shared parking lot to the north.
New windows going in the re-built portion of the funeral home. The completed Moonrise Hotel is scheduled to open in April 2009.

8 comments:

Chris said...

We called that a facadetomy in DC.

soozey said...

Facadetomy---Kirkwood Theatre to Kirkwood Loft Apartments? A curious compromise, I was more annoyed there would be no movies there rather than the loss of the facade...

Matt M. said...

Did they study an actual reuse and determine it to be financially impossible?

Even though I wonder if the loss of the original funeral home was unnecessary, consider the powerhouse that the East Loop has become: the Pageant, Pin-Up Bowl, Regional Arts Commission, the African American Heritage Center and Museum, and the Moonrise Hotel? Not to mention new retail spaces and a possible restaurant conversion for the old Wabash station? And the Metrolink stop? And the expansion of the Wash U campus just to the north? Awesome! Right?

LisaS said...

did they salvage the stonework from the old funeral home for reuse, I wonder?

very strange project ...

Vanishing STL said...

My understanding is that they did look at keeping a portion of the building intact. A few issues that led to the decision to re-build were the ability to structurally keep a small portion of the building intact building and attaching a much larger structure right behind it. Probably not immpossible, but much more difficult. Also, the new first floor will be lower than the original so there are not steps and awkward ramps to gain accesiblity to the building.

The did salvage all the stonework, and that will be re-incoprorated in the new building. I believe the brick will be new but matching the old.

Vanishing STL said...

Matt, all the development east of Skinker... Yes, nothing less than awsome! It is a nice mix of renovations and new construction, knitting back together the urban fabric which had eroded over the years. The great thing is that the area east of Skinker is only half done, with several sites still ripe for redevelopment.

Doug Duckworth said...

It's awesome but I think it's loosing it's gritty charm. But that's fine because we have South Grand and The Grove.

john w. said...

I'm not sure I agree with the loss of the funeral home, but overall, clearly, the activity by a St. Louisan so determined to make the urban environment work is the best news of all. We can all cheer for Joe, and know that urbanism done the way it should be done, which is of course FORM over mindless market testing and response, brings the people in force. I used to work at the corner of Des Peres and Delmar across the street from the Wabash station (metrolink below), and easily recall the barrenness that was the eastern stretch of the loop past Skinker. I'd often walk down to Blueberry Hill or Riddles Penultimate, and wonder what it would take to spread the vitality that was Joe's original accomplishment further to the east toward the historic core. All it took was someone who believed, had the cache through past success, and the determination to show many of us what good urban form can mean to the community. Go Joe, go.