Why Preservation

ilovethesanluisFriends of the San Luis is a coalition of architects, historians, architectural aficionados, and city-lovers who believe that, with some imagination and common sense, the San Luis Apartments can once more be a vibrant, contributing resource to the Central West End.   Too many historic buildings in the city of St. Louis have fallen due to short-sighted leadership – some of the more prominent examples  include the Century Building, the Ambassador Theatre, and Real Estate Row.  We believe that St. Louis’ renaissance will not happen through the proliferation of parking lots, but through the rehabilitation of our existing architectural assets.  St. Louis must stress these unique gems rather than throw them away; they are our greatest competitive advantage.

The San Luis is one of the most imaginative and distinctive mid-century modern high-rise structures in the city and a major contributor to the urbane and diverse street scape of Lindell Boulevard.  As one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in the St. Louis, the Central West End cannot afford to lose a building of this caliber for such a wasteful, anti-urban use as a surface parking lot.  This plan, at the expense of our city’s architectural heritage, creates a dead zone at a key intersection while discouraging the pedestrian appeal of the neighborhood.

Friends of the San Luis is dedicated to spreading awareness of the building’s importance, increasing the community’s appreciation of mid-century modern architecture, and preventing the folly of razing yet another important building for parking.  We believe that as citizens we deserve better, and have the right to demand the best from those institutions and agencies who are the stewards of our shared architectural heritage.

6 responses to “Why Preservation

  1. A building as beautiful as this should be preserved. Sadly, the last place to look for sound judgment is the leadership of the Catholic Church. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I was raised Catholic.

  2. While I support the notion of preservation… I’m a little unclear as to what you’re trying to do here.

    Are you looking to find someone to buy the San Luis from the current owners? If so, wouldn’t it make sense to showcase the commercial and financial benefits? What’s the San Luis good for now? Apparently not as a hotel.

    Can it become an office property? What’s the surrounding neighborhood like? Multifamily conversion? Condos?

    One thing I categorically oppose is using the government to deprive the current owner of his/her property rights in San Luis in the name of “architectural heritage” on behalf of people who neither pay for ongoing operations nor have any of their own wealth at risk.

    If you care that much about it, put up your own money and create a fund to buy the building and preserve it. In your “Get Involved” page, I see no call for donations or investment. Surely that’s an oversight.


  3. Rob, even property owners have restrictions about what they can/can’t do with their property.

  4. Friends of the High Line (only one precedent, not the most closely related but the comparison is useful) were motivated to preserve a structure that was already in use by locals as a park, and so its potential use in preservation/renovation was not difficult to imagine. Here, however, we are trying to imagine a new hotel(?) or some other use for this building. I would like to know more about the viability of creating a new operation with this particular location.

    Certainly, a standard surface parking lot is among the least appealing options. I can imagine that in whatever its new life may be, this site will be combined with ample parking that belies an unctuous responsibility toward the community.

  5. Get your heads out of your asses

    Who do you people think you are telling a PROPERTY OWNER what they can and cannot do with THEIR property?
    Do I tell YOU what to do with your property? How about I come by your house, tell you that you’ve failed miserably at upkeep, then require you to fork over $2 million on renovations to your $100k house. Do you have that kind of money to spend on a $100k house? What would be the benefit of doing so? Why must you people insist on imposing socialistic/marxist ideals on a free market society?
    Instead of berating the Catholic Church for their analyzed decisions, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and buy the property from them, spend the millions of dollars to bring the building up to code, then do whatever you want with it, which is apparently to stand and stare at the ‘beautiful architecture’.
    Instead of meddling in others’ affairs and wasting everyone’s time and money, mind your own business. It is THEIR property, not yours; they can do whatever they damn well please with it.

  6. I agree with “Get Your Heads…” and if he’s a man, I think I’m in love.

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