By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
Two weeks before a century-old former, vacant office building on South Grand Avenue was scheduled to be razed, a dedicated project team sprang into action and began design on what is now a six-story, 28-unit apartment building that is wrapping up construction by April 1.
Trivers Principal Joel Fuoss, whose firm has redesigned and rehabilitated more than 100 buildings on the National Historic Register including four national landmarks and one national monument, says the architectural firm was at another meeting for another project in the Midtown redevelopment area during 2020 when St. Louis Redevelopment Corporation Executive Director Brooks Goedeker mentioned the 1500 South Grand Avenue building that was built in 1912 by developer and constructor Nicholas Pelligreen. Goedeker asked if anyone were interested in the structure, which was on the list for imminent demolition.
“We’d been speaking with (AHM Group Co-Founder and Principal) Kyle Howerton about other work he was doing,” said Fuoss. “I reached out to Kyle that very evening and he said he’d love to take a look at it. Kyle spoke with Brooks and made it happen.”
In late summer to early fall of 2020, the project team began the redesign with owner/developer AHM Group, general contractor Blackline Design + Construction, civil engineer Civil Design, Inc. and KPFF Consulting Engineers. The $8 million project is just wrapping up now.
“Our collective vision is that The Nicholas (named after Pelligreen) is designed to be a respite from the hectic, stressful nature of the healthcare environment as a destination for those working at Saint Louis University, SSM Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, all of which are within walking distance of the building,” Fuoss said. “This restoration aims to add vibrancy and density to Midtown.”
AHM Group Principal Brian Pratt agrees. “Neighborhood redevelopment is critical to the revitalization of St. Louis,” he said. “This rehabilitated property in a highly visible location will be a good example of how we can strengthen and grow this community through design and development.”
In addition to apartments, the ground floor has commercial spaces at the corner and at its previous, historic main entrance along Grand Avenue.