Moolah Temple gets new life

Along with buildings such as the Continental Life Building and Coronado Place, Midtown St. Louis will witness the renovation of a historic building in the ongoing process of revitalizing of the area.

Grand Center President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Schoemehl, Jr., announced last Monday that the Moolah Temple at 3821 Lindell Blvd. will undergo a two-year restoration plan resulting in both living and entertainment space.

The Moolah Temple of the Mystic Shrine was purchased by Amy and Amrit Gill, owners of Lindell Towers, Coronado Place and the Lindell/Vandeventer apartments, in late April 2002. They bought the temple, along with a white house located next door, for $800,000.

Plans for the 88,500-square-foot, three-story tall building include a single-screen movie theater, 38 apartments, dining options, a bowling alley, a billiards lounge and a coffee shop. The theater will show independent films, cult classics and specialty films.

“Saint Louis University students will have another avenue to see more art films and hang out at a bowling alley,” Amrit Gill said. “We hope to bring back a little of old Grand Center.”

Gill said the entire project should cost somewhere near $16 million and should be completed by August of 2004. Construction is set to begin this fall, with Trivers Associates of St. Louis as the architect. The project will be privately financed.

The apartments, which will be built into the stage fly-loft and upper balcony sections of the auditorium, will feature 34 two-bedroom apartments averaging 1,300 square feet. The other four apartments will be smaller one-bedroom units. Rent prices should start at $750. Reservations for the apartments will begin in March 2004.

The Moolah Temple was originally designed in 1912 for the Shriners’ fraternal organization and opened for its first meeting on March 18, 1914. In 1988 the Shriners moved to a new location in West County, leaving the temple vacant for 15 years until the Gills purchased it.