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Monday, September 21, 2020

St. Louis Then and Now: The Chase Park Plaza on Kingshighway

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2020 at 9:59 AM

THEN:

NOW:
click to enlarge April 2019: Nearly the same angle as the postcard (on Grand Drive approaching West Pine Drive) - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • April 2019: Nearly the same angle as the postcard (on Grand Drive approaching West Pine Drive)

The Chase Park Plaza (212 Kingshighway Boulevard; 314-633-3000) has a long history in St. Louis. It’s served as a celebrity hotspot, a place to land for the Rolling Stones, Jerry Lewis and the Rat Pack. It offers high-end glamour and luxury amenities, which made it both the spot to be seen and the perfect place to hide away. It even has a place in the hearts of less-fancy St. Louisans for hosting Wrestling at the Chase, a televised local wrestling show which ran for almost a quarter of a century.

The property consists of two buildings, the Chase Hotel (built in 1922) and the distinctive Park Plaza tower (built in 1929), shown here from the corner of Grand Drive and West Pine Drive, rising above the trees in the northeast corner in Forest Park. Impressive from any angle, the Art Deco-style high rise is particularly stunning when heading east to Kingshighway on Lindell Boulevard.



The vintage postcard posted by the popular Vintage St. Louis & Route 66 Facebook page shows the Park Plaza tower in all of her glory, looking just as fabulous back in the day as she does today.

These buildings originally started out as a hotel and condominiums but the property has seen many changes since then while still maintaining its elegant charm. It has been a gathering spot and social location for decades, offering restaurants, a bar, an outdoor pool, a spa and even a small cinema.

This classic spot was sold in 2017 for $87.75 million to Boston-area real estate investment trust Hospitality Properties Trust and has since become The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta St. Louis, a 338-room hotel.

At the time of the sale, the buildings were expected to undergo more than $10 million in renovations because it costs a lot of money to keep an old girl looking good. She’s still a looker, though, and gorgeous even in her golden years. As you can see in the two pictures above, styles have changed in St. Louis over the years but the beauty of the Chase Park remains.


St. Louis Then and Now is a recurring feature in the Riverfront Times that highlights the history, beauty and changes in St. Louis. If you have a tip or an interesting old photo to share please email jaime.lees@riverfronttimes.com.

Email the author at jaime.lees@riverfronttimes.com
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