Built St. Louis > > Crumbling Landmarks || Historic Downtown > > Arcade Building

November 2007

November 2007

May 2006

The survival of this pair was in severe jeopardy for many years. In the 1990s, the owners applied for demolition permits several times, and sued the city for blocking their efforts. The city, to its credit, repeatedly denied permission to tear the buildings down. The wisdom of that approach has been proven by time; today, there is good news on the horizon.

The following article appeared in the Post-Dispatch on September 12, 2000 (byline Charlene Prost):

"A bankruptcy judge in New York City has cleared the way for the long-awaited sale of the empty, historic Arcade/Wright building in downtown St. Louis to Pyramid Construction Co.

"Keith Barket, a St. Louis mortgage holder, and John Steffen, Pyramid's president, said Monday that with the judge's approval now confirmed, they plan to close on the sale Sept. 28.

"And shortly after that, Steffen said, expect to see at least some improvements to the 18-story structure at 800-814 Olive Street, across from the Old Post Office.

" "Our intention is to get the barricades off the streets, fix up the first-level retail, take the mothballed look away... and get some activities there," Steffen said."

The article further states that renovation of the Arcade and the neighboring Paul Brown will cost around $100 million. The shopping arcade will be restored to its original functions, and a small hotel, condos, and offices will fill the remainder of the buildings.

The promised street improvements have appeared; the windows are dressed up, the street-blocking fences have come down, and the Wright's cornice has been repaired. As of winter 2006, Pyramid was continuing to put together funding for the project, including a request for tax-increment financing (which certainly should be granted, considering some of the amazingly less-appropriate places TIF has been put to use). The renovated buildings were slated to include nintey luxury condos, a 250-room hotel, offices and retail spaces, as well as restoration of the arcade space.

Unfortunately, Pyramid suffered a financial collapse in mid-2008. The Arcade remains in limbo, its future not yet clear.

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