2018 Most Enhanced Awards/Photo courtesy of Landmarks Association of St. Louis

2018 Most Enhanced Awards/Photo courtesy of Landmarks Association of St. Louis

MONTERREY: Landmarks Association's Most Enhanced Awards

Debbie Monterrey
June 10, 2018 - 7:03 pm
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by Debbie Monterrey, [email protected]

Inspiring. Uplifting. Celebratory. It is one of my favorite events of the year.  The Landmarks Association's Most Enhanced Awards. 

It's an evening celebrating projects around the St. Louis area, big and small (sometimes tiny) where an historic (or just old) property was saved, given a new lease on life. Sometimes, the property is significant. Sometimes, it's just a private (or formerly abandoned) house. In most cases, it's a place that was an eyesore, that was written off by 99% of people who saw it. But it was saved, renovated, rehabilitated, restored. And in most cases, the change will make your jaw drop.

Most Enhanced Awards. Monterrey, Landmarks' Exec. Director Andrew Weil, Mayor Lyda Krewson. Photo Courtesy of Landmarks Association of STL
Most Enhanced Awards. Monterrey, Landmarks' Exec. Director Andrew Weil, Mayor Lyda Krewson. Photo Courtesy of Landmarks Association of STL

For 22 years, the Landmarks Association of St. Louis has been honoring outstanding rehabs and renovations, and each year, there are more and more entries.

"I wish we could honor all the projects," says Landmarks' Executive Director Andrew Weil, who understands that anyone who embarks on the journey of saving an old house/building/structure falls in love with the project and the transformation. 

This year, 14 projects were honored (one project encompassed a dozen rehabs! That's the East Fox Homes project, a collaboration between Messiah Lutheran and LDG, with support from Rise Community Development. Messiah Lutheran embarked upon this project after hearing from new refugee families about the dearth of affordable housing in the area).

The projects varied from an old-firehouse-turned-cidery (Brick River Cider) to a school-turned-apartments (Sherman Lofts on Flad) to a tiny shotgun house in The Grove restored to an historic stripmall on Washington gutted by fire but turned into beautiful lofts with groundfloor retail (The Beatrice Lofts).

The Beatrice Lofts on Washington/Most Enhanced winner/Photo courtesy of Landmarks Association of STL
The Beatrice Lofts on Washington/Most Enhanced winner/Photo courtesy of Landmarks Association of STL

The Beatrice Lofts on Washington/Most Enhanced winner/Photo courtesy of Landmarks Association of STL
The Beatrice Lofts on Washington/Most Enhanced winner/Photo courtesy of Landmarks Association of STL

An important message was repeated often throughout the awards ceremony as developers, architects and renovators came up to accept their awards. Keep the State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (which was recently drastically cut by the MO State Legislature), which they say has returned $78 billion in private investment since its inception. Without it, many of these historic buildings would never be renovated and would meet the wrecking ball instead of adding to the unique character of our architecturally rich city. 

The 2018 Most Enhanced Awards was held at the Wild Carrot, a new event space in the Shaw neighborhood that I wrote about when it was still in progress. It was a winner, as well. Laura Bunch and her husband moved here from Kansas City, impressed with St. Louis and it's city neighborhoods. They purchased the ramshackle eyesore on the corner of 39th and Shaw and transformed it back to its past. It looks just like the old Shaw Theater, built a century ago.

Before and After:

BEFORE: 39th & Shaw
BEFORE: 39th & Shaw

AFTER: Wild Carrot, 39th & Shaw (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)
AFTER: Wild Carrot, 39th & Shaw (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

Inside during the awards:

Inside Wild Carrot (photo courtesy of Mayor Krewson's office)
Inside Wild Carrot (photo courtesy of Mayor Krewson's office)

Many thanks to all of you in the rehab community for taking a chance on these lovely old places. Looking forward to the 2019 Most Enhanced Awards!

 

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