Monday, November 24, 2008

Wash U Pulls Proposal for Demolition on Skinker

At the last moment at this evenings Preservation Board meeting during the presentation of the proposal for the Corner Building at Delmar & Skinker, representatives of Washington University announced that the proposal to demolish the ones story retail building is on hold so that the University can explore other options. The renovation of the Corner Building will move forward, and approval was given for installation of wind turbines on the roof.

After the their agenda item was passed
Cheryl Adelstein, Director of Community Relations for the University came over to Michael Allen and myself and asked if demolition of the building would be acceptable if the University built a larger building on the site. The new building might contain parking underground or at the rear of the first floor dedicated for the apartments. Both of us agreed that this could potentially be more palatable. The existing building itself, while complimenting the building next door is not a highly significant piece of architecture, and a well designed new larger structure extending all the way to the Enright corner could improve the streetscape. This particular issue is more about preserving density and streetscape along Skinker and preventing the large parking area behind from becoming more visible. Keeping some retail use on the ground floor however would be preferable in a new building.

On other agenda items this evening, the board voted for preservation of 5115 Cates, and postponed hearing about 1826 Warren due to the absence of the applicant.


Anonymous said...

Cool! It cannot be emphasized more that the WashU representative was willing to seek your and Michael Allen's advice before pursuing an alternative approach for the "taxpayer" one-story structure. The replacement of this "taxpayer" by a higher density building is what was hoped for when it was built near the Delmar streetcar route, but these buildings were rarely demolished and provided a low cost rent option for commercial businesses as a predecessor to the suburban strip center.

The redevelopment of the property would give momentum to WashU's graduate and international student campus for this location and the area north. Such mix of housing, retail, and offices would continue to support the Loop as viable instead of letting it extinguish or languish.

Chris said...

Couldn't the building's facade be incorporated into a taller building relatively easy, if WUSTL needs a larger building on the site?

Brian said...

Great to hear.

I like Chris' idea too.