Ultimately, the San Luis is an easy building to rehabilitate. It was occupied as recently as 2007 and is now, under the Archdiocese's control, in its worst shape yet due to deferred maintenance. But these problems aren't serious. Despite the testimony of the architect on the project, Dan Jay, the interior simply could not be in as bad of shape as has been described. In a worst case scenario, the building's innards could be gutted anyhow. It seems hard to make the "unsalvageable" claim for a building so recently occupied--especially when, across town in Old North St. Louis, buildings with just two walls standing have been completely reconstructed.
The Missouri State Historic Preservation Office has indicated that this building would be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Already located within a local historic district, this building would be eligible for a 20 percent investment tax credit if listed on the Register and a 25 percent state credit if the work began before the end of the year. That makes rehabilitation very feasible.
Further, the Roberts Brothers have transformed a mid-century modern hotel--the former Bel Air West--into a Hotel Indigo just a block away.
The building's in decent shape, is open to substantial tax credits for rehabilitation, and there is a precedent for restoring buildings of its era back to use almost on the same block. I'd say the San Luis is more than salvageable.
But, since I'm in New Orleans, why don't you head over to the Preservation Board meeting on Monday June 22, 2009 at 4 pm (1015 Locust, Suite 1200) and testify on my behalf that this demolition is unnecessary? I'd really appreciate it!
Everyone's A Critic
10 hours ago