Restoration St. Louis has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire the 17-story Chemical Building, located at 721 Olive, for the purpose of renovating and restoring it to its previous grandeur as an extension of its newest neighbor, the Louis Sullivan-designed Hotel Saint Louis at 705 Olive.
The two buildings will be linked by a street-level pedestrian walkway and feature an additional 84 guest rooms, 72 luxury apartments, a ballroom, restaurant and a rooftop bar. Work is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2019. Hotel Saint Louis, which opened in December after an extensive $71 million renovation, is also owned and operated by Restoration St. Louis under the auspices of an Autograph Collection Hotels by Marriott – the first in St. Louis.
Company co-founders Amy and Amrit Gill, who previously attempted to purchase the Chemical Building in 2016, are purchasing the property from Morgan Communities in New York and will receive more than $17 million in historic preservation tax credits as part of the project. Working in association with BSI Constructors, Inc. and Checkmate Design, the building’s estimated $54 million renovation is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.
The building, on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally designed by Boston native Henry Ives Cobb in 1896 and features an intricately designed red-hued exterior cornice of foliated patterns and trapezoid-shaped bay windows with spectacular views. Visible advertisements on some of the windows still showcase the names of the businesses that once occupied the premise at the turn of the century. Ornamental terra cotta graces its top two floors. Both the Chemical Building and the former Union Trust Building (1893), now Hotel Saint Louis, provide an impressive architectural contrast of design.
“With the development of the Chemical Building, we will be expanding the visibility and vitality of our region’s downtown footprint, increasing the fun factor one block at a time for both residents and visitors alike,” said Amy Gill. “These two buildings, architectural wonders made all the more special by the fact they are just a few feet apart, also represent the essence of our mission – restoring a vacant landscape and transforming it into a revitalized neighborhood that, as St. Louisans, we can all be proud of. ”
Restoration St. Louis, led by Amrit and Amy Gill, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the revitalization of architecturally significant buildings, neighborhoods and thriving communities throughout the country. The organization, formed in 2001, initiates real estate development programs and partnerships with both city-based and minority-owned businesses.