Built St. Louis > > Recalled to Life || Midtown > > The Continental Building

After eight years, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself... and even when I did see it, it was still hard to believe.

These shots from the summer of 2001 show the early phases of the renovation work, with scaffolding, a debris chute, and an exterior construction elevator running up the side of the building. When these photos were taken, window removal had begun on the lower floors; the replacements are stylistically similar to the originals.

The Wagoner Building is gone, but its outline remained on the Continental's side. Here, structure for the parking garage is beginning to rise in its place.

The building has been vacant as long as I've known it, so it was strange indeed to see it buzzing with activity. Stranger still has been the sight of residents living in the building, officially opened in October 2002. The facade has been repaired and cleaned; it shines brilliantly when the sun is out. The building's upper tiers are illuminated at night, as they were when the building was originally constructed. The aerial mast once again houses a bright red beacon, which also glows green for the holidays.

The sight gives me tremendous hope: if this building, so long dismissed as a hopeless case and a lost cause, can be brought back -- then anything is possible!

Meanwhile, the vacated Woolworths store next door remains dark. Grand Center has acquired the building through emminent domain and is searching for tenants; renovation will begin once they are found.

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