Midcentury Modern Hotel or Parking Lot in St. Louis?
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Apr. 21, 2008
In St. Louis, a midcentury modern hotel designed by Charles Colbert could be torn down for a parking lot.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis, which owns the 1963 building, asked its tenants to vacate the San Luis Apartments last year so it can build a surface parking lot.
"This is a very prominent site, and everyone feels that this is not the best use for the site," says Bill Seibert, a neighbor and member of the board of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, which has included the motel on its 11 most endangered list, to be announced next month.
"There are a lot of people are against [the demolition plan]," says Lindsey Derrington, researcher at the Landmarks Association.
Colbert, a modern architect who was the dean of Columbia's school of architecture, is perhaps best known for his 1954 New Orleans elementary school, which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina. He designed the 226-room de Ville Motor Hotel with an exterior of concrete panels that contained a sparkling quartz crystal aggregate.
Holiday Inn bought the E-shaped motel in 1966, and the archdiocese bought it years later and repurposed the building as senior housing. Since it's located in a historic district, the archdiocese must follow city guidelines for a demolition permit.
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