The South Side National Bank
The South Side National Bank building stands prominently Grand and Gravois, marking the most important intersection of the South Grand shopping district. It is a vital urban anchor for the neighborhood, terminating the views down Gravois and Grand. It looms over the surrounding buildings like a king holding court, ruling over both nobles and jesters.
The Art Deco tower was built in 1928, from plans by the St. Louis Bank Building & Equipment Company. It is clad in grey limestone and decorated with stylized eagles and numerous geometric and floral patterns that place it among St. Louis's finest Deco buildings. Within, its grand bank lobby is still intact, right down to the ornate chandoliers.
The building's troubles began in 2000, when South Side National Bank expressed interest in disposing of the property. Their favored choice was to sell it to Walgreens -- who would have demolished the existing building and put up one of their generic, suburban flavored box-style stores in its place.
South Side National Bank's owner, Jones Properties, applied for a conditional use permit in late 2000 or early 2001. The permit would have presumably allowed demolition of the building. However, before the permit could be approved or denied, the application was withdrawn. It's possible this was due to pressure from historic preservation groups, who organized a community group to find a better way to reuse the structure.
The community group selected West End Realty and the Lawrence Group to handle the renovation. A $7.5 million job will put 13 condominiums in the tower and retail in the base. The Art Deco lobby is to be restored. Plans were moving forward as of May 2005. The project was slated for completion in September 2006, a schedule that seems to have slipped (not uncommon in the development business.) Construction was progressing, but still several months from completion, as of March 2007.
South Side National Bank:
Gallery 1: Building Details
Gallery 2: Context / Adjacent Buildings
Gallery 3: Renovation Tour
Gallery 4: The View from the Top