The building’s cornerstones proclaim its origins; it was built under the aegis of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works as Project No. 8609. No architect is named, but William C.E. Becker is listed as “Engineer, Bridsges and Buildings”. Inside it featured a massive main gymnasium, a 25 meter pool, and many other sporting and athletic facilities.
Clad primarily in brown brick with carved limestone detailing and ornament, the building’s massing is Gothic, with a pair of castle-like turrets guarding the entrance, but it also sports a strong Art Deco influence in its massing and detailing, with dozens of vertical piers demarcating its bays.
The Great Seal of the State of Missouri is rendered in colorful terra cotta over the main entry; carved limestone eagles mark the corner bays. The main entrance once faced a major thorougfare in Market Street, but in the 1960s the coming of Highway 40’s twisting double decks relegated the entry to eternal shadow. More historical information here.
Plans for Armory Transformation Shown in Renderings from Arcturis
Green Street Development has detailed its plans for the long-vacant Armory in Midtown neighborhood as it seeks city support for $8M in tax increment financing (TIF). The $82.2M redevelopment plan would transform the one-time military post into a mixed-used facility including office, restaurant, and health spa according to documents filed with the city.
A first phase would renovate the existing Armory, with a second phase would include a 90,000sf building just east of the Armory, and a separate 135-room, seven-story hotel and 300-space parking garage south of that site. The basement of the Armory, once used for tank and military truck parking, will be utilized as a parking garage.
The developer’s TIF Commission materials show an estimate of 700 jobs at the site with a total payroll of $33M.
According to documents filed with the city, Green Street is aligning an array of financing and incentives to fund the project. These include the formation of a Community Improvement District (CID), Transportation Development District (TDD), 100% tax abatement for 10yrs followed by 50% for 5yrs, almost $7M in state historic tax credits, $5M in federal historic tax credits, and $1.1M in state Brownfield tax credits. The CID and TDD allow for additional tax levies on economic activity within the development.
Just to the north and west across Interstate 64 from the Armory, Lawrence Group’s $340M City Foundry project is moving ahead. A very early concept is being explored to reconstructed a pedestrian connection between the two projects along Spring Street.
This development is also just near the Cortex developments as well as St. Louis University. With all of these projects lined up, it seems that Midtown is finally getting the much needed and deserved facelift that it has been awaiting.