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Phillips 66 at Council Plaza
Midtown - Grand Avenue
Architects: Schwarz & Van Hoefen
Date: 1965

This flying saucer of a building sits at the heavily trafficked intersection of Grand and Forest Park Parkway. Part of the Council Plaza development, it was originally a Phillips 66 gas station. In recent years, it has housed a Del Taco.

In June 2011, the owners of the Council Plaza development announced plans to tear the building down and replace it with a new retail building, despite the thriving business already in place and the community's general fondness for the building. Happily, the St. Louis community rose up and demanded better - and got it. A rather bizarre alliance of Mid-Century preservationists and avowed fans of cheap Mexican fast food persuaded the developers to reconsider. Today the building is refeshly renovated and houses a Starbuck's and a Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The Del Taco is both an amusing piece of whimsy - badly needed in this intimidatingly over-trafficked stretch of Grand Avenue - and a startling bit of MidCentury design. The upswept roof, outlined in red neon and illuminated by lengthy runs of fluorescent lighting, make a powerful silhouette day or night. The space beneath is strangely inviting - quite open to the surrounding world, yet sheltered. With the renovation, previous window coverings were removed, giving the building a rejuvenated look; within, Starbuck's has played the Mid-Century role to the hilt with masses of hanging globe lamps.

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  • Photos from November 2005

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