Update: We went back in the fall of 2022 to see if there had been more construction. The site seems to have been mothballed.
Bonjour mesdames et messieurs! Bienvenue au Château Hoffman!
OK, jokes aside, anyone in the preservation community–or anyone in the wider community in general–who has a problem with the Hoffman Companies buying up real estate in western St. Charles and eastern Warren counties has to tell me what their plan was for redeveloping the old Emmaus Seminary/Homes, which was abandoned several years ago.
The old seminary’s grounds are huge, and short of a huge capital fund, nobody was going to get this place back up and running. First the teenagers would have broken in, then the graffiti would have appeared on the soft limestone, then the windows would have started getting broken out, then the “mysterious” fires would have started destroying one building after another.
Instead we see the beginning of renovations already, though I didn’t know what they’re doing with the excavation of the hillside. They are removing non-historic buildings, as this photo from a newspaper article shows. Sorry, 1970s buildings aren’t romantic. Can you imagine how much money they’re going to make with all the weddings they’re going to host in that chapel up on the hill? By the way, that tree in the foreground is dead.
There’s even this beautiful stream flowing through the grounds. While the architecture of the complex is largely German in style, I don’t blame them for branding the place with a more French flavor. I’m looking forward to seeing how this redevelopment and renovation designed by Killeen Studios turns out.
Note: All photos were taken from the public right-of-way.