Raineri, Trivers Unite to Adapt and Reuse Old City Hospital Buildings as The Georgian

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

Raineri Construction and Trivers recently completed the adaptive reuse of a 100-year-old former City Hospital building into a residential apartment community known as The Georgian.

Named for its architectural nod to 18th century Georgian style known for symmetry, balance and proportion, the project represents a $13 million venture by Indianapolis-based developer/owner Pearl Development (now Tegethoff Development). The Georgian is located about a half mile east of Lafayette Square in South St. Louis City.

Raineri Project Manager Patrick Barnidge said the 75,000-square-foot project involved renovation and construction of four separate buildings, three of which span four floors (one with a lower level) and the fourth which totals three levels plus a garden level. Construction began in January 2019 and the final units, some 74 in total, were completed in August 2020.

“The existing building interior, designed as a hospital, was not ideal in layout for a residential application,” Barnidge said. “Existing columns, windows, stairwells, floor elevations and other building elements had to be thoughtfully considered. This was an historic tax credit project, so there were existing building conditions that also had to be preserved, recreated and/or matched.”

Trivers Principal Joel Fuoss said the project was truly four distinct developments wrapped into one. “We considered the four buildings as four unique and separate structures,” said Fuoss. “There was the old hospital administration building with classical detail, the old ambulance garage and dispatch, the clinic building and the services building with yellow-glazed block walls and original terrazzo on its upper floors. This proved to be a challenging layout, connecting the buildings of varying levels, each with its own historical character. It was imperative for us to work with the existing building character, to preserve what we could and add modern windows and punches.”

Adaptive reuse of the century-old administration building’s original plasterwork is one example of what the project team was able to retain and reuse. Many of the building’s terrazzo floors were also able to be saved, Fuoss said; each unit has a unique floor plan, based upon the uniqueness of the original buildings’ layouts.

The original building arches were retained to create an outdoor amenities space. Cutting a hole in the floor of the services building to connect it with the new fitness space is an example of a modern punch. Recessed lighting to offset the modern façade with the original is another example of the project team’s work. Although the ambulance garage’s wooded plank roof was not salvageable, Fuoss said the building’s original steel trusses were reused. This enabled designers and construction partners to create a clear span design, punctuated by a historical interpretation of the structure’s original garage doors.

The Georgian’s apartments include both one- and two-bedroom units.

Erected in 1912, City Hospital closed in 1985.

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