The Midwest is fortunate to be home to some of the more unusual retail buildings in the country. And few are as, well, cool, as the Flying Saucer building in St. Louis.
Originally built in 1967 to house a Phillips 66 gas station, the Flying Saucer building looks exactly look what it sounds like, an unidentified flying object.
It’s one of those iconic buildings that you just want to see customers flock to. Thanks to the work of St. Louis real estate developer Union Square Enterprises, this looks to be the positive fate awaiting the Flying Saucer building.
Union Square Enterprises recently announced an agreement to lease the Flying Saucer Del Taco building to Starbucks and Chipotle restaurants, two high-quality tenants that almost guarantee a steady flow of customers.
The building, located at the corner of Grand Avenue and Forest Park Parkway at the entrance to the St. Louis University campus, will house both restaurants, which are scheduled to open in September.
“This is the solution we were hoping for from the very beginning,” said Rick Yackey, partner with Union Square Enterprises, which owns the building, in a written statement. “There is a passion for unique architecture in St. Louis, and the public made it loud and clear last summer. The addition of Starbucks and Chipotle restaurants to the mid-town area and St. Louis University campus will be great for students and the surrounding community. The fact that these restaurants will be housed in such a unique space and will allow the ‘Flying Saucer’ to be saved is great for anyone who’s passionate about the architectural integrity of St. Louis.”
Del Taco, the most recent tenant of the building, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and closed the restaurant in 2011, prompting the developers to consider building a larger and more efficient building in its place. According to a press release announcing the fate of the saucer building, a Facebook campaign last summer drew widespread media attention locally and nationally prompting Union Square Enterprises to continue looking for new tenants to save the building.
The building was designed by now-retired architect Richard Henmi and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
“This will bring new life and a new chapter to a popular building that people love, and we couldn’t be happier with this result,” said Hany Abounader, another partner with Union Square Enterprises, in a written statement.
— Dan Rafter