Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gills Again Have Chemical Building under Contract with Plans to Expand Hotel St. Louis, Add Apartments

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gills Again Have Chemical Building under Contract with Plans to Expand Hotel St. Louis, Add Apartments

Article excerpt

Just months after opening Hotel St. Louis in the historic Union Trust building, Amy and Amrit Gill are setting their sights on another downtown architectural gem: the Chemical Building.

The Gills' Restoration St. Louis entered into a letter of intent to acquire the 17-story red brick and terra cotta Chemical Building, located at 721 Olive Street, next door to Hotel St. Louis.

Restoration St. Louis plans to convert the mostly vacant building, owned by an affiliate of Pittsford, N.Y.-based apartment operator Morgan Communities, into 84 additional hotel rooms, 72 luxury apartments, a ballroom, restaurant and a rooftop bar. The Gills hope to begin the $54 million project by the third quarter and complete the renovation by fall 2020. They're working with BSI Constructors and Checkmate Design .

"These two buildings, architectural wonders made all the more special by the fact they are just a few feet apart, also represent the essence of our mission -- restoring a vacant landscape and transforming it into a revitalized neighborhood that, as St. Louisans, we can all be proud of," Amy Gill said in a statement announcing the pending sale.

The 1896 Chemical Building, designed by prominent architect Henry Ives Cobb, has been through several owners in the last decade and was foreclosed on twice as plans for apartments and other conversions stalled.

Restoration St. Louis, though, said it has financing secured, and the transaction with Morgan Communities would transfer $17 million in historic tax credits already allocated to the building's rehab. The local developers are working with the same consortium of banks that financed Hotel St. Louis and hope to close the $5 million transaction in 150 days. A member of Morgan Communities may retain a minority interest , though negotiations are ongoing, Amrit Gill said. …

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