Friday, December 30, 2016

Laclede Gas Station G - 2016 St. Louis City Talk Favorite

Continuing on my quest to visit the sites of each of my top twenty development projects from 2016, once again I find myself in the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood

This time at 4401 Chouteau Avenue at the Laclede Gas Station G building.


The Laclede Gas Station G pump house is the only reminder of the former use of this parcel within the city. As a kid I remember sitting in my parent's car driving down I-64 and wondering what that massive thing was on top of the hill. 

It was a gasometer.


Here's what Station G looked like from the Interstate:

And then from Chouteau Avenue with the pump house in the foreground:

The Forest Park Southeast gasometer stood at Newstead and Chouteau, a jarring interruption of an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood. It was erected in 1901 and rebuilt in 1942. A sibling tank once stood just to the west; it was demolished in the 1960s and left as a vacant lot. 
The adjacent Pumping Station G building dates from 1911. Both the gas holder and the pump house were built for the Laclede Gas Light Company. National Historic Register nominations were submitted in 2006. 
The FPSE gasometer was demolished in 2007. Plans called for the pump house to be converted to residential use. An article in the Post-Dispatch's South City Journal details the nomination and plans for the site.
That 2006 development plan never materialized. I was concerned that the only remaining memory of this once awe inspiring site, the Station G Pump House, would be destroyed. Why? Well it is open to the elements, it was rapidly deteriorating as I visited it over the years. And it was enveloped by a massive apartment complex called "The Aventura". This complex looks like standard cheap design you'd expect to see in suburbs throughout the country.

Chouteau Avenue needs to counter the uninspired suburban design of the Aventura and others along this stretch in Forest Park Southeast. The classic St. Louis architecture sits right across the street to the south.

So when I read that there were plans in place for a St. Charles firm to move to St. Louis and renovate Station G for their offices, I was ecstatic. 

I truly thought the days of this one were numbered. One storm or firebug and it could have been more of this:
But man does it feel good to be wrong. I love this building and the reminder it brings of past uses. 

Here's how it looks as of publishing:
nextSTL has learned that Greater Goods, a company producing ethically sourced and produced coffee, blood pressure monitors, knives, scales, and more, will be renovating the long-vacant Station G building on Chouteau Avenue in The Grove for its new corporate headquarters. The move will bring approximately 15 employees to the city. Greater Goods will be working with Vessel Architecture to design the space. 
The company had been looking for a location in the city as many of its employees are younger City of St. Louis residents. Being located in the city was also considered a necessary move to attract future talent. It is expected that the renovation of Station G will utilize historic tax credits and brownfield credits. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Greater Goods will be moving to a temporary location on Vandeventer Avenue while Station G is renovated.
Another great story for 2016 with much to like: historic preservation, another shot in the arm for Forest Park Southeast, new jobs for St. Louis and more activity in a great part of town.

I look forward to watching this one progress throughout 2017.

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