Del Taco Flying Saucer Renovation
Known lovingly in St. Louis as the "Flying Saucer" on Grand, this unusual structure located next to the St. Louis University campus was originally built in 1967 as a Phillips 66 gas station. As of the time of this photo, the building is being gutted and rebuilt for use as a combined Starbucks and Chipotle Restaurant. A photo of the building as it looked prior to the reconstruction project can be seen on my flickr stream here: www.flickr.com/photos/nikon66/5906274491/in/set-721576001...
The original architects were the firm of Schwartz & Van Hoeffen, who are responsible for many buildings in St. Louis. Over the years, it had been the home for several businesses, most recently a Del Taco restaurant. Del Taco closed the store in June 2011, and for many months the fate of this building was uncertain. On July 8, 2011, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a redevelopment plan for the South Grand Boulevard historic district that would have lead to the demolition of the flying-saucer-shaped Del Taco building. However, thanks in part to an active Facebook campaign, the owner hired an architect to investigate ways to reuse the building in its current form. The owners of the building should be applauded as they could have made much more money tearing down the building and putting the lot to better use. The story even made the July 10, 2012 edition of the New York Times:
"Rather than build a new, the developer Richard K. Yackey will begin a $1 million renovation this month on the property, which has 3,200 square feet of usable space. The roof, which is 12,000 square feet, will cost $100,000 to replace. When construction is complete next year, the station will house a Chipotle restaurant and a Starbucks and have a 1,300 square feet addition.
“If you do the math, it doesn’t make a lot of sense economically,” Mr. Yackey said, adding that constructing a building on the property would have provided him with more space to lease."
The saucer lives to fly another day.
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