A historic St. Louis School building has a new lease on life as a new development in north city’s 22nd Ward.
The Arlington School, designed by pioneering St. Louis Architect William Ittner was built in 1898. The school was closed in 1994 and fell into extreme disrepair. I filed a story for NPR in 2009 about ten of Ittner's schools, including Arlington, which were facing uncertain futures.
Now Arlington is home to loft-style apartments and surrounded by several blocks of new townhomes collectively called “Arlington Grove”. 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd says he remembers when Arlington was a working school.
“Some of us even remember when the MLK corridor was the shopping mecca of the St. Louis region,” said Boyd. “I’m here to tell you we are working on bringing that back.”
St. Louis Congressman Lacy Clay was also on hand for the grand opening. Clay said he remembered when the old school served as a polling place, 30 years ago.
Clay was instrumental in securing $10 million in stimulus funding toward the overall price tag of $34 million.
Richard Baron, of the firm McCormack, Baron, Salazar helped design and build the project. He says the development will merge nicely with the new mulit-million dollar Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church. Together, he says, the two projects could provide a nice anchor for additional investment.
“We’re just hoping that we’ll be able to do more phases here,” said Baron. “This neighborhood is clearly in the process of redeveloping itself with the residents and the church…and we’re just thrilled to be part of it.”
According to the developer approximately 60 percent of the residents of Arlington Grove will be children below the age of 18. Many live in single-parent households.
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