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.