CORTEX is currently demolishing a group of one and two story factory and warehouse buildings along Clayton Avenue. The buildings occupy are immediately adjacent to the location of a proposed new MetroLink station that could be built just east of Boyle Avenue. While the site is currently owned by CORTEX, according to Phase 2 plans for the life sciences R & D district highlighted by Next STL in May, BJC plans to build a 200,000 square foot building potentially opening next year. Just across the MetroLink tracks, Wexford Science & Technology plans complete a historic rehabilitation of the former Western Electric building at 4250 Duncan.
Most of the complex dates from the 1940's, but according to the Sanborn map below, a brass casting foundry from the Hewitt Manufacturing Company and a wagon house from the Gilsonite Construction Company date from at least 1909. These buildings are thedark grey roofed portions of the complex on either side of the white roofed portion in the aerial photo above.
Most of the complex facades fronting Clayton Avenue are very non-descrpt utilitarian buff brick boxes with very little ornamentation. The portion of building at 4250 Clayton Avenue has very subtle streamline detailing with a ribbed concrete band running across the first floor windows and entrance canopy. The same detail runs along the heads of the second floor windows as well.
The entrance at 4235 Clayton featured a simple black glazed tile surround that had a slightly Moderne feel. The rest of this portion of the building was completely devoid of ornament.
As of this evening, about a third to half the complex has been cleared. The buildings were clearly in a condition where they could be renovated, but their lack of architectural significance or any obvious other distinction would make them difficult to list on the National Register, which would make them eligible for tax credits. If BJC's new 200,000 square foot building comes to fruition then I would not fret over the loss of these buildings. This is the opposite of the situation that occurred last year at Forest Park Boulevard & Vandeventer, where CORTEX demolished a prominent building that could have been listed and had no clear plan for the site. Directly across Clayton Avenue from the current demolition site sits this building. Its facade appears to be Mediterranean Revival style (although altered), which is somewhat odd for the building type in an industrial area. The City's property database shows it as two buildings with one half from 1910 and one from 1931. My guess is the east half is older since Mediterranean Revival was not popularized nation wide much until the 1920's. The building is not owned by CORTEX.
Vanishing STL was created to illustrate the continuing loss of irreplaceable architecture from landmark buildings to ordinary homes due to demolition, abandonment and neglect. Often I write about structures threatened with demolition to bring awareness of the situation and promote preservation as an alternative. All photos are by Paul Hohmann unless noted otherwise.