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Symphony's Powell Hall expansion would see historic home demolished

The city of St. Louis' Cultural Resources Office said the project requires demolition of the two-and-a-half story building at 3514 Delmar Blvd.
Credit: City of St. Louis via St. Louis Business Journal
3514 Delmar Blvd., targeted for demolition for an expansion of the symphony's Powell Hall in Grand Center.

ST. LOUIS — The proposed $100 million renovation and expansion of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's Powell Hall in Grand Center would see a historic home dating to the 1880s demolished.

The disclosure, concerning a large home at 3514 Delmar Blvd., came Friday in a city document. The symphony owns the structure.

It's planning a renovation and 65,000-square-foot expansion of Powell, targeted for completion in 2025. The expansion would extend the building east with a contemporary addition, impacting 3514 Delmar. Capacity would be reduced by about 500 seats, but features would be added to improve comfort, such as new, bigger seats, as well as accessibility, including added accessible seating, handrails and three elevators. A backstage space and new lobby would also be added. 

The city of St. Louis' Cultural Resources Office said the project requires demolition of the two-and-a-half story building at 3514 Delmar, but added that its demolition is outside of the preservation agency's jurisdiction and that of the city's Preservation Board. That's because the building is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, nor located within a city historic district or preservation review district, the office said. However, the Preservation Board, which meets Monday, must approve the project at Powell since it is a city landmark. The Cultural Resources Office is recommending approval.

"We are looking forward to the Preservation Board meeting on Monday and sharing our plans to renovate and expand Powell Hall, preserving this remarkable building that’s on the National Register of Historic Places," a spokeswoman told the Business Journal. "The vacant building at 3514 Delmar is not in the jurisdiction of the Preservation Board/Cultural Resources Office. We have been developing a salvage plan to preserve the cultural and historical architectural elements of the building – and will share those plans as we have details to share."

But preservationists are raising alarm about the loss of 3514 Delmar. The nonprofit Landmarks Association of Saint Louis said in a social media post this week that "this is not a building we want lost to history," and encouraged people to contact the symphony and members of its board "to let them know you would like the building saved."

Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.

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