Clark School residential conversion in the academy neighborhood

Oh boy, this project is a two-handed reverse dunk development proposal. It hits all the sweet spots:

  1. A neighborhood that needs more quality housing options (the Academy Neighborhood)
  2. New life for a building that is clearly a straight-up St. Louis classic
  3. Avoidance of the wrecking ball
  4. Anything north of Delmar needs our full support to become a whole, functional city

I just can't tell you how much I've come to love our city school buildings. Especially William B. Ittner buildings. They are incredible. They are another document of why we are (maybe) the most important brick city in the world...certainly the Midwestern, U.S.

I first learned of this project from a September, 2017 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:

Work has started to turn Clark School at 1020 N. Union Blvd into about 40 market rate apartments. Amy Levin of Helix Realty, the new owner, said the $5 million rehab project should be complete in about 18 months.

“It’s a huge project because it’s a historic building we’re maintaining,” she said.

The structure, built in 1907 and closed in 2009, is one of the many historic school buildings in St. Louis designed by famed architect William B. Ittner.
— Jacob Barker - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Academy Neighborhood is gorgeous yet tattered. I've spoken before about places that have a spirit and soul that is like a ghost. I love this part of St. Louis. There is a feel here that I can't explain. 

When I blogged on the seventeen libraries in St. Louis, I remember my visit to the Cabanne Branch like it was yesterday, the library is directly north of Clark School, making this stretch of Union quite the pleaser.

 Clark School to the right, Cabanne Library to the left

Clark School to the right, Cabanne Library to the left

Across the street is Windermere Place, another straight up classic street.

DSC_0001.JPG

Clark School is a massive 62K+ square foot school building so I'm sure they'll need every bit of $5M to redevelopment this important building into 44 market-rate apartments. The school was named after explorer William Clark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch included the following photo in the story linked above showing children returning to Clark School in 1955 when over 90,000 students were enrolled in St. Louis Public Schools.

pdclark.jpg

 

Living here would be a convenient, centrally located spot, sandwiched between the equally gorgeous Fountain Park and Visitation Park neighborhoods, two places that are ripe for investment and care.

This building being invested in and re-used is enough cause to call 2017 a re-development year like no other for St. Louis.

We are doing right by our architecture and neighborhoods in this case. Watch this one come back and watch it shine for hopefully another 100+ years.

Cheers to those dedicated to working this one toward completion. You are local heroes to me.