This post is written in collaboration with my husband Jim Dwyer who chairs the Central West End Association’s Planning & Development Committee.
The Planning & Development Committee has worked for years in an advisory role to help maintain the character and integrity of the built environment in the CWE Historic District. In that role the committee reviews everything from window replacement on existing structures to the design of proposed new buildings, and offers recommendations to the Cultural Resources Office and the Preservation Board.
The latest hot topic concerns a proposal to demolish the original portion of the Optimist Club building at Lindell & Taylor, shown above and known as the Pavilion, a noteworthy example of the Mid-Century Modern Movement (1945-1975) which was significant in St. Louis, including numerous examples along Lindell Blvd.
Click here for a letter, circulated yesterday, co-signed by others in the preservation community describing the committee’s reasoning, conclusions and proposed alternative solutions to redevelopment of the site.
The proposed replacement project is yet another of the numerous large-scale, generic apartment buildings constructed around St. Louis in recent years, including several examples located on Pershing Avenue in the DeBaliviere Place Neighborhood. The committee and others who advocate for preservation of the Pavilion argue that the high quality of the architectural context along this stretch of Lindell Blvd. and prominence of the location demand better, and that there is a more suitable solution to redevelopment, one that would both preserve the corner building and also accommodate more intensive use of the site.
The question of whether demolition will be allowed to proceed is expected to be determined this afternoon (Monday, August 23) at a meeting at 4 p.m. of the Preservation Board of the City of St. Louis. Here is a link to the meeting, including the agenda, a Zoom link, and information describing the Cultural Resources Office staff denial of the demolition application on pages 1-13 of the agenda.
The sketches shown below were drawn by CWEnder and recently-retired architect George Nikolajevich to illustrate alternative concepts to redevelopment of the site and how the Pavilion could be incorporated into the design of a larger project.