Avoiding the Void

What makes Lindell Boulevard special? From Midtown’s collection of grand public buildings, to the Central West End’s stately high-rises, to the graceful mansions that line the street north of Forest Park – Lindell Boulevard reminds us that St. Louis is a place that matters; a real city – one of America’s greatest.

Sadly, the last half-century has blurred the lines between greatness and mediocrity in many parts of our city. But the dramatic streetscape of Lindell Boulevard, with its interesting variety of architectural styles and eras, continues to showcase the best of St. Louis. A drive or walk down this magnificent thoroughfare undeniably proclaims to residents and visitors that this city has not lost its swank.

The San Luis Apartments’ location at the intersection of Lindell & Taylor is the center point of this great street, both physically and historically. Perhaps no other building on Lindell represents St. Louis’ evolution so eloquently, which makes the prospect of its demolition all the more shameful.

One block west of the San Luis is a dinky little mid-century building that was given a second chance. Few would have disagreed that the Best Western Inn at the Park (originally the Bel-Air Motel) was the shame of the neighborhood just one year ago. Outdated, shabby, even ugly.  But today, with commitment and vision, the building shines as the Hotel Indigo in a way few could have ever imagined. If this scrappy building could regain its curb appeal, just imagine the possibilities that the sleek, space-age San Luis holds if given the same opportunity!

A great city thinks. A great city aspires. A great city learns from the blunders of failed urban renewal policies of the past. If we allow the San Luis to be torn down for a surface parking lot, we will expose a void much greater than a gaping hole in our urban landscape – the void in our ability to think like a great city, or to think at all.

Jeff Vines, STL-STyLe

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