Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Hall Open House Today 50-Year-Old Building Begins a Fourth Life with Its New Offices

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Hall Open House Today 50-Year-Old Building Begins a Fourth Life with Its New Offices

Article excerpt

City officials in Edwardsville have put their own twist on the old saying about a silk purse and a sow's ear.

They made a beautiful City Hall out of an ugly Sears building.

Sporting a new, stone facade and a colorful, redesigned interior, the 50-year-old building at 118 Hillsboro Avenue has started a fourth life. Built as a grocery store, it then became a Sears store and had most recently provided office space for Madison County. It had been vacant since the construction of the nearby County Administration Building three years ago.

For decades, the plain, two-story, red-brick structure had been known only as "the Sears building." It had declined to a condition Mayor Gary Niebur called "somewhat dilapidated."

But the county signed it over to the city for $1 two years ago, and the building took on yet another identity.

The new incarnation will be shown off at an open house from 5 to 8:30 p.m. today.

"The public is certainly invited to come and see what we've done," said a proud mayor from his corner office on the second floor. "It came out just beautifully."

Architect Joe Mannisi, of Mannisi & Associates Inc. of Edwardsville, said he designed the outside of the building to compliment the nearby courthouse complex and other buildings in downtown Edwardsville.

Tan stone panels form archways over entrances and are used as accents on the front and east side. The original brick that remains visible has been painted shades that compliment the stone.

Mannisi called the design "traditional . . . post-modern."

He said using turquoise for the roof and window frames gave the conservative style "a fresher look."

Niebur said the interior was redesigned, keeping only a few walls and the elevator that had been installed by the county. The halls and offices seem to sparkle with white walls and turquoise door frames.

The building provides 18,000 square feet for city offices, compared to the 10,000 available at the old City Hall at 315 North Main Street. …

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