The Central West End in Transition

Twenty years ago, when I would spend time in my friend’s family restaurant, the Majestic, I would have never imagined the way in which the Central West End south of Lindell would have been transformed in the last ten years.

The signs were appearing, of course. First was the towering Park East, seen above, which replaced a parking lot across from the Majestic. Parking became more difficult!

Then the ridiculously bland, and totally forgettable Doctors Building came down, but the Great Recession led the giant tower that was supposed to replace it to fall by the wayside. Finally, when the economy recovered, we received the rather silly Post-Modernist Orion Apartments, but I love it, despite its terrible architecture, because the corner of Euclid and Pine Boulevard has come alive with pedestrian traffic. The Doctors Building was a Modernist dead zone, and the sad one story building demolished on the southeast corner has been replaced by another apartment building that again, while not architecturally groundbreaking, has enlivened Euclid in ways not seen in a century. I like people walking, spending money and generating tax dollars. It is the only way St. Louis will be saved. That does not mean I want historically or architecturally significant buildings torn down, just bland and boring ones doing nothing for St. Louis.

Looking west down Pine Boulevard, past that bland, boring pile of crap Modernist apartment building that creates another dead zone, we are actually getting an exciting piece of architecture, replacing a parking lot. More about that tomorrow.

Again, at the northeast corner of Euclid and Lindell Boulevard, we are not getting a design by Donato Bramante or something, but we are getting a building full of people and ground floor retail, replacing a ridiculously trashed out parking lot. I see this as a win. It’s strange to look back at this photo from May of 2008 now.

This is such an improvement from the dead corner that was here for at least a generation.

Now, if there can just be a solution for the dead zone of the frequently deserted parking lot on the southwest corner of Lindell and Euclid.

Further down Pine Boulevard, one of the changes in the mid-Twentieth Century, which I alluded to with the Doctors Building, was the addition of the street life-killing Modernist building, such as the one below. I have no love lost when they are demolished in the City, unless they are of exceptional architectural merit.

The humanly scaled houses, the first generation of construction in the Central West End, are still there, though west of Taylor Avenue they are often lawyers’ offices or apartments.

This house, for example, was wedded together with the apartment building next door.

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