Preserve Our Pevely! A Letter to the Preservation Board

Included below is my letter to the Preservation Research Board, who will be reviewing Saint Louis University’s demolition appeal for the Pevely Dairy Company site at the corner of Chouteau and Grand. I have prioritized preservation for the corner office building and adjacent milk plant, as these two parcels will best be able to anchor a urban-friendly streetscape if/when SLU and other developers allow it to be.

Even if you have no inherent interest in saving these particular structures, I would suggest you submit a letter or email to the Cultural Resources Office and the Preservation Board. Remember, these efforts aren’t as much about preserving individual buildings as they are about stopping a planning culture through which it has become okay for developers to take the much easier, destructive route than one which is more measured and respectful to St. Louis’ built environment and the citizens who are eager to see this city thrive again. Contact information can be found at NextSTL

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December 16, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

On Monday, December 19, 2011, the Preservation Board for the City of St. Louis will hear an appeal from Saint Louis University regarding the demolition of four parcels in the Pevely Dairy Company complex located within the boundaries of Chouteau Avenue, Grand Boulevard, Spring Avenue and Hickory Street. Permission for demolition was previously denied and I resolutely believe that these denials should be upheld, in full, by the Preservation Board.

Of particular interest are the corner Pevely Office Building (1001-03 S. Grand Blvd.) and the neighboring Pevely Milk Plant (3626-80 Chouteau Ave.). The office building is a landmark for St. Louisans and a proud example of this city’s rich, entrepreneurial history. It is important that this building be preserved, not only to pay tribute to our industrial past, but to preserve our present-day civic pride. As such, the adjacent Pevely Milk Plant is just as important to preserve as the corner office building. If one is saved and the other demolished, then the remaining building will certainly exist as less for the loss. Currently, these two buildings function as a whole, holding a strong street-presence that can be (and should be) an anchor for future development in the area.

It is also important to note that the Pevely Dairy Company is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is, by virtue of that designation, a protected complex for which historic tax credits are available. I suggest that Saint Louis University follow the lead of developers at the nearby Council Plaza (Grand Blvd. near Forest Park Pkwy.) and remove its request for demolition in favor of revitalization. As is the case with Council Plaza, there are many ways to incorporate the existing Pevely Dairy Company structures into the university’s new medical campus. By designing for reuse, Saint Louis University could be widely applauded for its creative design choices and community-centered preservation efforts.

To this point, many of Saint Louis University’s land purchases have resulted in demolition and an overall negative impact on the neighborhood and its surrounding communities. I urge the Preservation Board to heed my advice and that of other interested citizens by denying the appeal for demolition of any and all Pevely Dairy Company components. Saint Louis University is an important institution in this city which helps shape minds and mold future professionals. City supporters respect it for the work it has done and only ask that the university return that respect by working with us to achieve city-strengthening development and preservation goals.

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One comment

  1. Beautiful letter!

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