Bee Hat Building at 1021 Washington Avenue, 1899

From Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). In this splendid photograph, we see the 11th Street Realty Company Building at 1021 Washington Avenue immediately after being finished out. The building, designed by Isaac Taylor, is now known as the Bee Hat Building from its use by a hat company from the 1940s through the late 1990s. It was renovated in the early 2000s to become part of the vibrant loft district on Washington Avenue. From the St. Louis Business Journal in 2005:

The sale of the Bee Hat building, which has been vacant for several years, took place at about the time the newspaper was going to press.

BHat Development, formed for the purpose of developing the building, plans to convert the second through seventh floors into 36 one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 900 to 1,300 square feet and renting from $990 to $1,430 a month, said real estate appraiser Matt Burghoff, one of two partners in BHat Development. Burghoff said his partner prefers to remain anonymous. There will be space for about 30 residents' cars in the basement.

A restaurant will occupy 7,500 square feet of the building's 9,000-square-foot first-floor commercial space, with a boutique retail store in 900 feet. The restaurant owner is a well-established and respected St. Louis restaurateur, Burghoff said, but he declined to name either of the tenants, who have signed letters of intent to occupy the space.

Eleven terra cotta lion heads on the outside of the building are a signature feature of the structure. The heads were attached to the gutters and drained water to the street. BHat wants to link them up to steam lines and have each lion roar every half-hour or so, Burghoff said.

The building now does sport steam roaring lions, by the way. A fitting addition to the lovely terra cotta on the building.

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