New hotels preserve history

Five St. Louis projects utilize existing structures

May 01, 2001 |

A hotel boom in downtown St. Louis has a decidedly historic flavor. Five projects are using historic buildings wholly or partially to add nearly 2,000 new hotel rooms.

The largest of the projects is the renovation by New Orleans-based Historic Restoration Inc. (HRI) of two buildings that are across the street from each other and adjacent to America's Convention Center. The larger facility will be a convention hotel, and its neighbor an all-suites property. Both will be operated by Marriott International under the Renaissance flag.

The convention hotel, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2002, will utilize the 84-year-old structure of the Statler Hotel, which has been vacant for 20 years. It will contain about 320 rooms. The remainder of the Renaissance's 918 rooms will be located in an adjacent new 22-story tower, and a ballroom and meeting space will be constructed in an adjacent block.

Preservation officials rejected an earlier plan to accommodate meeting space in the new tower, which would have made it conspicuously taller than the existing structure. Baltimore-based A/E RTKL Associates is architect for the project, and St. Louis-based J.S. Alberici Construction Co. is the general contractor. RTKL's work included a design review for compliance with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's standards for rehabilitation.

The 165 units that make up the Renaissance Suites will be created in a 1922 building that was originally the Lenox Hotel, which was subsequently converted to apartments. The design is being done in-house by HRI, with St. Louis-based Paric Corp. as the general contractor.

From goods to guests

The 260-room Westin St. Louis, which opened in March, utilizes four of the remaining nine buildings of Cupples Station, a complex of about 20 warehouses constructed between 1894 and 1917.

A challenging aspect of the project was the need to install pin piles to bedrock at a depth of 60 feet because the original wood pile foundations have been weakened by dry rot. Needle beams attached to the piles will provide the additional structural support required.

Two St. Louis-based firms, Trivers Associates and McCormick Baron & Associates, are architect and developer, respectively, for the $55 million project. Chicago-based McHugh Construction Co. was the general contractor.

High-rise adaptive reuse

A 13-story, 1 million-sq.-ft. former J.C. Penney Co. warehouse built in 1929 is being converted into the 292-room Sheraton St. Louis Hotel by developer Breckenridge Companies. The architect is Henmi & Associates and the general contractor is R.G. Brinkmann, both based in St. Louis. The $35 million development, scheduled for completion in June, will also include four floors of residential condominiums. A major feature of the conversion was the removal of a section of floors five through 13 to create a 1.2 million cubic foot atrium. The building is notable for a large mural on its south wall that depicts local landmarks.

The 370-room Drury Plaza Hotel, which opened last September, was the first of the current series of adaptive reuse hotel conversions to be completed. It encompasses the 1919 International Fur Exchange Building and two adjacent buildings that were constructed in the 1950s. Henmi & Associates was the architect and Drury Development Corp. the developer and general contractor.

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