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Saturday, August 8, 2009

New 100-Room Hotel Planned for Midtown

Link here, via 17th Ward STL.

Central West End Midtown Development reviewed a proposal by Sasak Corp. to construct a 100-room. 5-story hotel at 3663 Forest Park Avenue. The new hotel would require demolition of the squat two-story Raffie Vending Company warehouse. This demolition would need approval from the city's Preservation Board first. The hotel itself would be of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites chain.

Behind the hotel would be a 100-space, two-level parking garage. CWEMD stated that they liked the proposal but would like to make sure the building will be built as rendered and not lose any of its architectural details in the process.

Rendering is below:



Some concerns:

-The parking garage will be too prominent from the front elevation, in my opinion. I have to wonder whether this garage (and associated large curb cut) is even needed given the monstrous (and ugly) garage constructed just to the west for the University Heights Loft Development. If not that garage, then what about St. Louis University's own ridiculously huge Laclede garage? If the parking were shared somehow, there would be a greater buildable area that could include a courtyard or some outdoor space that would be much more attractive than a parking garage.

-Is this the best location for a Midtown hotel? The city really should be working to develop a hotel in the Metropolitan Building as was originally planned (a Hyatt, I believe). With a constant flow of tourists in Grand Center, as opposed to Forest Park Avenue on what is essentially an interstate offramp, certainly both the Arts District and SLU would see benefits. Can Midtown support multiple hotels?

-Also, a minor point: why can't Grand Center have a Joe Edwards? I try to avoid chain hotels when I stay anywhere, opting for bed and breakfasts or local hotels if they're not too expensive. A unique, local hotel such as the Moonrise in the East Loop would be great for Grand Center, which has been for decades attempting to brand itself as a unique and creative destination. Somehow a Days Inn or Hyatt doesn't scream "Art" to me.

5 comments:

Herbie Markwort said...

As you said, the structured parking is a gratuitous waste of land and money. 100 spaces would occupy 1/6 of 1 level of SLU's Laclede garage.

Michael R. Allen said...

Don't you mean the subtle, modern Raffie Vending Company building?

Brian said...

I'm sure SLU could always buy it and convert it to a dorm like they did with the old Ramada that is now Reinert Hall.

Seems like a bad location to me. Grand Center would be so much better for a hotel.

STLgasm said...

Yay! Another boring faux-historic building!

I agree with all the other comments... the location seems strange. Accessibility sucks (what if guests are coming from the west on Forest Park Parkway?). With all the vacant land scattered throughout Midtown and the shuttered Metropolitan Building sitting idle, this proposal seems kind of silly.

And above all, why can't St. Louis developers join the 21st century and start designing buildings that look forward, not backward. All this replica shlock insults our rich architectural heritage.

Adam said...

i certainly don't mind well-done modern architecture, but i don't understand all the resentment for historic replicas. a style once pleasing doesn't suddenly become unaesthetic. if it's built poorly and with cheap materials it'll look cheap regardless of the style. as long as it's well-built i'll take bricks and stone over glass and metal or, worse yet, stucco. i think the rendering looks quite nice and so long as its manifestation retains the details i'll be ecstatic.

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