Sunday, July 19, 2009

Concordia Demolishes San Bonita Building for Suburbanized Campus Entrance

6501 San Bonita Avenue - Built in 1927 according to St. Louis County records

As I was running through the DeMun Neighborhood this morning, I saw the tell-tale wood stockade fence, required by Clayton around demolition and construction sites, surrounding a building on San Bonita. I thought: That's odd that a developer would be tearing down a building for new condos in this market. When I got closer to the building I realized it was at the end of the block next to the entrance to Concordia Seminary.
Concordia's secondary entrance just north of San Bonita & Seminary Place

As I suspected, the three unit apartment building is owned by Concordia and is likely being demolished to provide a green space next to the Seminary entrance to match that which flanks the other side. I am assuming that a building was once located on the green space as well. The main entrance of Concordia Seminary is off of Demun Avenue and is fronted by a Clayton city park (I assume they gave gave the land at some point). Apparently the park and the grounds of their 72 acre campus was not enough green space for the Seminary, so they have felt it necessary to add more on each side of a secondary entrance on the south edge of the campus.

The Demun Neighborhood, which straddles St. Louis and Clayton is composed of three story apartments (many of which are now condos), two-family buildings, a few blocks of single family homes, and several hi-rises along Skinker. Like the Loop, the area grew along a streetcar line which ran down the median of Demun Avenue, and collectively boasts a density that rivals much of South St. Louis and parts of the CWE.
Looking west on San Bonita at a row of 3 story apartment/condo buildings

Concordia Seminary includes a nice collection of historic architecture ranging from neo-gothic to the modern era. Its too bad that like many large institutions they seem to care little about the history of the neighborhood that surrounds them. As I left Concordia's grounds I noticed that their main entrance drive is suffering from obvious deferred maintenance. Maybe they should use the money they spent to acquire and demolish the San Bonita building to do some re-paving.
The main tower at Concordia Seminary
Concordia's crumbling entrance drive off Demun


Anonymous said...

When you did research on this property, did you find out when Concordia bought it? According to their admissions blog, "this building has stood as a home for professors, staff, and students for many years."

So either the previous owners had been renting it out to Concordia (or individual members of the seminary community) or it had already been in the seminary's possession for many years.

You make it sound like Concordia recently bought the property just so they could knock the building down. That's not a safe assumption.

Vanishing STL said...

How long Concordia has owned the property is not an issue to me. I am aware that they have owned many buildings along San Bonita for many years. It is only their recent decision to demolish the building with no plan for replacement that is a concern.