Posts Tagged ‘The Armory’

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New Substation at Prospect and Scott – TOD?

December 13, 2011

Last year I wrote about the demolition of some old industrial buildings in the block bounded by Prospect Ave, Bernard St, Spring Ave, and the railroad tracks.

Site of New Substation Before Demolition

At the time I originally noticed the demolition I was unsure of its purpose, but speculated that this had something to do with work on the Grand viaduct and Metrolink station.  However disappointed I was about the clearing of this site, the buildings were ill-suited to reuse.  The old May Company warehouse at Market and Spring was freshly renovated, and I was hoping that The Armory would be next.  The idea that a new and improved Metrolink station could attract transit oriented development there was too exciting to ignore.

Work on the New Substation

Unfortunately, upon returning to the site a couple of weeks ago, I found that a tall, permanent fence, topped with barbed wire was being installed all around the block.   Workers on the site then confirmed to me that they were constructing an electrical substation.  Even to those who considered the block’s previous occupant an eyesore, a substation will almost certainly be uglier.

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New Scott Transit Plaza loses Neighbors

December 19, 2010

Last weekend I noticed that one of my favorite buildings had come down.  While driving down 40, I glanced towards the Armory and saw a large lot of dirt to its south instead of the corrugated-steel warehouse that was there last time I had looked.

Beck and Corbitt Steel on Spring

I admit that the building was not an architectural marvel, or even particularly attractive, but I loved it.  With its ring of graffiti underneath the large letters announcing its former tenant, this building told the story of the area now and in the past.  It had me imagining what it was like alongside the train tracks running through the middle of the city when they were alive and productive here.  Only two blocks south of Market Street and directly on the tracks, this was a prime location.  In addition to all of this, the building had a small feature that really attracted me to it.  This Bear (or Badger as I have always called him) was on the West side of the building.  I will miss it.

The Badger

I originally speculated that this would be the site of Metro’s new Park and Ride lot for the new Scott Transit Plaza, but was corrected by Jennifer from NextStopSTL (Thanks!).  Unfortunatly, I still don’t know why this block was raized.  Maybe the land is going to be used by whoever is in the former May Company Warehouse that sits across Spring.

Gone

A couple google searches taught me that the Million square foot warehouse sold by Macy’s last year for 2 million dollars has at least 2 tenants now: Hazzard Moving and Storage, and Warehouse of Stuff.  Hopefully this land will be used productivly for those tenants or maybe for some future plans for the Armory (wouldn’t that be cool?).   I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but whatever it is, I won’t forget what was here before.

600 S. Spring

I really wish progress didn’t have to be so destructive.

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The Armory

February 21, 2010

The Armory is a special place for me because it was my first major urban discovery.  Although I had seen the building many times driving past it on highway 40 over the years, walking around the massive structure was an entirely new experience.

View of The Armory from Westbound 40

The building is both in use and horribly blighted.  Most of the exterior windows are broken and rooms appear to simply be filled with trash, but a peek inside the basement parking area yields luxury cars and lights.  In this UrbanSTL thread, ecoabscence says it was being used as parking for Famous Barr employees (in January 2005), but I have been back this year and despite the fact that the Macy’s warehouse next door is closed, the garage continues to have just enough cars in it to let me know that something is going on there.  Also, St. Louis Patina has a great piece on the Armory,  but many questions remain.  Basically, I’m still very curious about the Armory.

Armory from across Eastbound 40

So much must have happened here, I’m not sure why google hasn’t told me more.  I know that a proposed sale of the Armory in 1981 almost led to a fistfight outside of the state legislature.  I know that Tennis greats honed their game here and that the Fox Associates got a contract to try to help the Armory expand as a concert venue but I don’t know much else.  Luckily this research led to another interesting finding.  This particular National Guard Armory is one of many armories we used to have around the city.  It is also not unique in its housing of athletics.  Another Armory (the Battery A), once located close by at 1221 South Grand, was for a short period of time home to the St. Louis Gunners, an NFL team we had in the 1930s.  The same Armory also hosted boxing matches during the same time period.

I still have lots of questions about the Armory (and the others around the city), and would love to see the inside of it, but I am actually satisfied with the fact that I was able to discover it at all.  Maybe there’s still more going on there than it looks like.

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