Midtown Building's Demolition Faces Holdup Over Hotel Plans

The developer is planning two hotels — but has yet to request a building permit

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click to enlarge 2601 Market Street, part of the Wells Fargo campus on the edge of Downtown West, is slated for demolition. - VIA GOOGLE MAPS
VIA GOOGLE MAPS
2601 Market Street, part of the Wells Fargo campus on the edge of Downtown West, is slated for demolition.

Whether developers seeking to tear down a mid-century modern building in Midtown St. Louis to build two hotels can get demolition permission could come down to one question: Whether they're serious about building the hotels.

A development company called 2601 Market Hotel Investors LLC has applied for a permit to tear down the five-story building at Jefferson and Market streets that once housed A.G. Edwards. The concrete structure was designed in 1968 by the St. Louis firm Raymond Maritz & Sons, and later saw a series of additions as A.G. Edwards ultimately became part of Wells Fargo.

The developers — who are reportedly affiliated with St. Louis-based Green Street Real Estate Investors — bought the building from Wells Fargo in 2020. They have announced plans to build two 7-story hotels on site: a 170-room Kimpton and a 129-room Staybridge Suites.

click to enlarge This rendering shows the developer's plans for two new hotels at Market and Jefferson. - VIA ST. LOUIS PRESERVATION BOARD
VIA ST. LOUIS PRESERVATION BOARD
This rendering shows the developer's plans for two new hotels at Market and Jefferson.

Earlier this month, they sought the approval of St. Louis' Preservation Board to demolish the older building and make room for the hotels. The board said yes — but made its approval contingent on obtaining a building permit for the new construction.

Now the developer is appealing that contingency.

"The applicant has stated that this condition would have a deleterious impact upon the project’s timetable and costs and therefore, in order to submit information pertaining to those matters for the Board’s consideration, has applied for a demolition permit, which was denied by the Director based upon the Board’s prior decision," according to the Preservation Board agenda.

The board is apparently the one government agency in town hustling this week. They intend to meet tomorrow, and the developer's appeal is on the agenda.

Interestingly, while the building the developers want to take down may not look like much to architectural ignoramuses, the Preservation Board considers it a building "of Merit." According to its notes, "2601 Market Street was among those structures documented in the Mid-Century Modern Survey undertaken by the Cultural Resources Office in 2017. It was considered to have both Moderate Architectural Interest and Moderate Historic Interest, but was not among the 25 most highly-rated St. Louis Mid-Century Modern properties."

click to enlarge Preservation Board minutes show the structure that's slated for demolition. - VIA PRESERVATION BOARD
VIA PRESERVATION BOARD
Preservation Board minutes show the structure that's slated for demolition.


Buildings of high Merit (their capitalization, not ours) are not supposed to come down. Merit structures, though, can be demolished in "unusual circumstances." In this case, that includes the pandemic-era implosion of the market for office space.

Notes the Preservation Board, "The building’s potential for reuse may be lessened due to the shrinking market for large office buildings and the costs of conversion to residential or other uses." They greenlit the demolition on the theory that the hotels "would bring greater activity to what is now an underused and pedestrian-unfriendly intersection."

But, of course, that would mean actually building the hotels in the near future — and that would mean getting a building permit. At this point, the developer has instead chosen to appeal.

Will the Preservation Board cave on its condition? Will the developer continue to push for demolition separate from construction? You can find out tomorrow (Thursday, December 30) at 4 p.m. (Zoom link here.)

And if the Preservation Board holds strong, the developer can keep pushing — they'd have the right to appeal to the city's Planning Commission.

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About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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