Continental Building renovations continue; Marina, Feathers future remains unknown

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No . but it certainly is standing tall.

One of the major projects currently in the works is the renovation of the Continental Building, commonly referred to as the “Superman” building, located at 3615 Olive St. Saint Louis University loaned developer Steven Trampe $1.5 million to aid the development when its financing was at risk.

The Continental, constructed in 1930, was once considered the finest high-rise building in St. Louis.

Vacant since 1974, the building has since become an eyesore to many. But will soon be glorious once again. Plans for the renovation include 106 apartments, a restaurant and a parking garage with a pool and bocci courts on the top level.

The University has master-leased 15 apartments that are scheduled to be ready for occupancy in August, Trampe said. However, the $28 million renovation will not be completely finished until October, he said.

The first floor of the building is where the restaurant will be located, said Rick Sambo, foreman for the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

One level below is the boiler room, where a fitness center will be constructed with a skylight roof.

The second and third floors will consist of retail stores in the front of the building, while the back portion will be converted to living space. The fourth floor, and the fifth floor, which was torn out, will be turned into two-story townhouses, Sambo said.

The sixth to 16th floors will contain five apartments a piece, the 17th to 20th floors will consist of two larger apartments a piece and the top two floors will be penthouses, which Sambo said could be rented out for $7,000 a month.

“I think it is good for St. Louis and Midtown to put money back into the building instead of demolishing it,” Sambo said. “It helps to keep St. Louis architecture alive as well as preserving part of the city’s history.”

The elevators, which were originally the most high-tech elevators available at the time, are also being torn out and renovated, Sambo said.

Marina and Feathers buildings

While plans for the Continental building are well under way, significant progress is yet to be seen in the development of the site where the Marina and Feathers buildings now stand.

According to Kathleen Brady, vice president for Facilities Management and Civic Affairs, a developer has yet to be selected, though the process of choosing one should begin soon.

Although a developer has yet to be found, “The University hopes to see a mixed-use development at that corner with retail, commercial, parking and possibly residential [opportunities],” Brady said.

She also said that parking will most likely have to be a component of the development. “The University also owns the site of the former Jack-in-the Box located North of Campus so parking should easily be able to be incorporated into the plans,” Brady said.