Saturday, January 17, 2009

San Luis May Be In Imminent Danger


Recent posts on Urban St. Louis report that the Interim Archbishop has authorized demolition of the San Luis Apartments (former DeVille Motor Hotel) and that HUD is drawing up documents releasing the archdiocese from any requirement for affordable housing on the site, essentially giving the archdiocese the go ahead to do with the building as they wish.

A group of people supporting preservation of the building will be meeting at Coffee Cartel this Thursday, January 22 at 7pm at Coffee Cartel (located at Maryland & Euclid) to discuss this situation and plan a course of action. All are welcome to join the discussion and help with the cause.

The loss of the San Luis and replacement with a surface parking lot would leave a huge hole in the urban fabric of the Central West End and would be a slap in the face to the vibrant neighborhood. Below is a series quick before and after images done with Google Earth depicting the loss of the San Luis for a parking lot.





Don't be fooled by the archdiocese claims that their new parking lot would be "green" and that they will plant a bunch of trees. A parking lot is a parking lot, and its one of the worst environments for getting a tree to grow to maturity. In the photos above, the parking lot image was taken from Wash U's lot at Skinker and Forest Park, which did have trees between each double row of spaces (they just did not have a great effect shading the lot). Ironically, most of the Wash-U lot is being replaced by a new building. With the Argyle Garage one block west that only reaches full capacity on Friday and Saturday nights, surface parking at Taylor is not needed. If this is deemed too far away, the archdiocese can run shuttle buses like BJC does to it's garages.

3 comments:

john w. said...

Good post. We'll see you there.

Mira Tanna said...

Demolishing the San Luis Apartments will be a blow for affordable senior housing. I can't make it to the meeting this evening, but if the Equal Housing Opportunity Council can do anything to help, let me know!

john w. said...

The building, since vacated, cannot be realistically be used for senior housing anymore as there are likely myriad accessibility non-compliance issues. Perhaps the council can help in another way, especially if the building were to somehow be considered useable for market rate apartments, but the most plausible reuse scenario is simply a reversion to the building's original purpose as a hotel. Many will not appreciate the architectural qualities of the building, or note that its relationship to the public sidewalk is weak, but all must know that surface parking at a high profile urban intersection on a major boulevard is totally unacceptable.