Monday, May 18, 2015
Clearance of Empire Brewery Office First of Two CORTEX Demolitions
The first of two planned demolitions in the CORTEX district began last week with the destruction of this small but ornate buff brick building on Sarah Street that is part if the former US Steel complex. The complex is being demolished by CORTEX to make way for a multi-building project to be developed by Wexford Science & Technology. As reported last year by NextSTL, the development will include research, laboratory and residential buildings. In a rendering that was part of the TIGER grant application for a new Metrolink station just east of Boyle, the corner of Sarah and Duncan that includes the footprint of the building above is shown with a building labeled "Build to Suit". This makes it seem like this will be a later phase of the development and that they have no idea what will be built there. In other words, the decision to take down the building or possibly incorporate it or part of it into something new could have been made later by Wexford or a future user of that portion of the site.
The facade of the building that fronted on Sarah Street. The building was originally constructed as the office and bottling department for the Empire Brewery, a branch of the Independent Breweries Association. The building shows up on a 1909 Sanborn map below. The larger light blue metal building that was built for US Steel will also be cleared.
When I photographed the building a few weeks ago, the terra cotta loin heads that graced the corners of the building and flanked the entrance had already been chiseled out and were sitting on pallets next to the building. St. Louis Patina has some nice photos of the building when it was fully intact.
The 1909 Sanborn map showing the L shaped building just south of Duncan on Sarah.
By late Friday there was nothing left of the building but some rubble. The other planned COTEX demolition that will likely be occurring soon is the Brauer Supply Building at the southeast corner of Forest Park Blvd. & Boyle Avenue. More on that soon.