Powell Square, Coming Down

Update: The site is now a vacant lot.

Powell Square, a large warehouse sitting right next to the Poplar Street Bridge, is being torn down, having been condemned by the City of St. Louis.

It was supposed to be a component in the revitalization of Chouteau’s Landing, but the economy tanked and nothing ever happened to it.

I liked the massing of the building, and how it occupied its site in an efficient, urban manner. Its windows removed long ago, I suspect that the exposure to the elements affected its structural integrity.

The worst aspect of the demolition of the building is that there will never be a building as large as it on the site ever again. If you look closely in the picture above, you can just see a tent left behind by a homeless inhabitant of Powell Square.

Central Library, Powell Square and Benton Park Arsons 009

Why? Because the Department of Transportation would never allow a building so close to an interstate nowadays. The picture below was taken while standing on a sidewalk of a city street.

Central Library, Powell Square and Benton Park Arsons 007

How many places in America can you do this legally? Not many. The new building, if it’s ever built on the site, will almost certainly be set back further from the on-ramp than it is now.

Central Library, Powell Square and Benton Park Arsons 008

Update: The prediction below came true, as you can see from my photos from November of 2017.

The highway will have to be replaced one day too, judging by the deterioration on the abutments that I examined.

Central Library, Powell Square and Benton Park Arsons 005

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave - St. Louis says:

    Your comment about the highway needing replacement… I read an article about several places in the country where segments of urban interstate have been removed and the fantastically positive results that occurred. San Francisco, NYC, and Milwaukee, among others. The more I think about it, the more I am unconvinced that I-70 through downtown (in particular the “depressed section”) is necessary. You could keep the PSB and the King bridge to tie the traffic that need to get to/from Illinois and to bring people over to 64/55/255 etc., but that middle segment could be removed. Plus there are plenty of other N-S connectors to bypass that as well.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Dave, check out this website that details how this could be done:


  2. Jeff P says:

    The new Busch Stadium is pretty close to the interstate. Is it much farther away than this building? From the upper decks of the first base side it feels like you’re right on the highway.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      That’s I-64/40; this is I-55.

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