Happy Ending for the St. Louis Hills Office Center

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6500 Chippewa
South St. Louis, MO

There’s construction activity at the St. Louis Hills Office Center, that magnificent multi-story mid-century modern building at the merge of Watson and Chippewa in St. Louis Hills.

I am sooo happy to have been dead wrong about the fate of this building when I first began reporting on it in June 2007.  See pictures of how it once looked.

After the demolition of the parking garage ell of the building was completed in early 2008, this building sat ignored and forlorn. But considering all the controversy between the St. Louis Hills Neighborhood Association and the owner, it was feeling like no news was bad news. So when construction work began anew by ripping things off the building, I assumed the fat lady was powdering her nose in the green room in preparation for heading to the stage to begin singing.

But by taking a moment to inspect the building permits posted inside the front entrance, it was a moment of pure joy to read that roughly $1.5 million is being spent to build an “addition to existing bldg & Ext. & Int per plans.”  So all the brick down in the pit (above) is to clear openings to the new addition.

Will the addition follow the footprint of the original wing? And will the medical emblem above the side door be returned once construction is done? Oh, I want to see the drawings! Oh, I’m so happy that there’s new life ahead for this gorgeous building.  It’s such an important intersection in South St. Louis, and the entire complex of buildings that strings off of the Office Center is such a fine example of mid-century development of this prestigious neighborhood.  This new work would not be taking place without consent of the alderwoman, so I’m appreciative of the seeming miracles she pulled off to make this finally happen.

In fact, the entire complex of buildings has gotten a facelift. The one-story building next door (to the right, above) recently got new windows and a new face. The material of the new cladding is not appropriate, but they tried to make it look appropriate, so there is some design-awareness being applied. But I hate quibbling about such a minor thing when the major news is that this entire complex is coming back to life. It’s entirely possible that in 2011, this block will once again be bustling like it did back in the day. Congratulations to our City for another happy ending!

6 thoughts on “Happy Ending for the St. Louis Hills Office Center

  1. I love it. This building was such a part of my growing up. It’s a STL Hills Landmark. The Landsdowne Medical bldg hurt it when it opened in 1968 as many of the building tennants relocated west on Chippewa but before then I used to see Dr. Eto there and I worked for The Pharmacies at both buildings, Classen’s Pills and Home Healthcare supplies.

    Used to ride our bikes around the underground parking lots in the summer to escape the heat too.

    Great memories too bad the parking lot had to go though.

  2. Just a quick update. I called the Hilliker contact about the building and they stated they are hoping to have the building completed and opened by August 2011. They are looking for tenants to take the entire area of each floor at about 5,000 square feet. When I drive by they are doing work and I am so glad to see progress.

  3. “magnificent” building? It’s a fun intersection with the Donut Drive-In; otherwise pretty standard suburban seas of pavement with a hodgepodge of basic buildings. Some of that later mid-century stuff, while iconic, or at least identifiable, is not all that magnificent. And, a few of our buildings from that era are close to completely useless as the front entrance puts you on a landing in a stairwell!

  4. Well, there’s another bet I would have lost.
    What great news!

  5. So happy about this – I love that building. Now, if we can just restore the U-Haul building back to its glory 🙂

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