A LANDMARK COMEBACK: BOWL A FRAME, CATCH A FLICK, LIVE THE LIFE AT THE MOOLAH TEMPLE
A Multi-Million Dollar Restoration Project Gives the Former Home of The Shriners New Life, Focus, and Fun in the Heart of Grand Center
ST. LOUIS (December 29, 2004) - What was once prime real estate for Pigeons is now one of the most unique entertainment and living destinations in St.Louis. Today, Restoration St. Louis is announcing the completion of the ambitious, multi-million dollar renovation of the Moolah Temple building on Lindell. The $17.2 million project has not only brought the landmark back to life, it has given St. Louis its first massive single-screen movie theater in decades, plus an eight-lane retro-styled bowling alley, and 40 luxury lofts giving residents an incomparable view of this unique city neighborhood. There is truly nothing like it. The 110,000 square foot Moolah was originally built in 1913 as the home for the Shriners. The group left the building in the mid 1980's, moving to their new facility in Creve Coeur. Rodney Thomas, Chairman of TRiSTAR Business, purchased the vacant property in 1988 with plans to eventually convert the building into offices. Although a few businesses showed interest in the project, none committed to become tenants. TRiSTAR decided not to pursue its redevelopment plans, and the building was left unchanged. For nearly twenty years, the Moolah building stood vacant. By 2002, the property was in a desperate state, and bringing the structure back to its original grandeur would take an almost Herculean effort. Amrit and Amy Gill, considered two of the premier developers of historic properties in St. Louis, took on the massive project.
The Gills have been active in redevelopment since 1991 and their company, Restoration St. Louis responsible for the Moolah rehab. "When we first toured the Moolah in 2002, it was in extreme disrepair,"says Amy Gill of Restoration St. Louis." "We had to carefully maneuver our way through piles of discarded wood and debris. Pigeons were living in every crack and crevice. The paint was peeling and the floor was cracked and damaged. It was heartbreaking. But, even with all that was wrong with the building, we knew it could be rescued. The incredible architecture, the Moorish influences in the design, the vast space. this building was a treasure that needed to be restored."
Construction began on December 15, 2003 -- the rehab focused on restoring the vibrant colors and architecture of the Moorish design while giving the building purpose. The design called for a building that exuded quirky charm and provided unusual amenities, including a movie theater and bowling alley.
The finishing touches were added in the winter of 2004, and the Moolah is ready to welcome a new generation of visitors to the cultural heart of St.Louis. Harman Moseley, owner and operator of the Chase Park Plaza Cinemas And Galleria 6 Cinemas, along with his daughter Julia serve as the visionaries behind the Moolah Theater and Lounge. "We wanted to generate some excitement in the city, and I think we've Done that," says Harman Moseley. "This movie theater is like no other in town. We are catering to those who are looking for an alternative to Massive movieplexes by offering personal touches you can't find anywhere else. We have installed St. Louis' biggest screen measuring 20' X 45' screen, provided lush leather couches and loveseats plus a full balcony and stadium seating for up to 400 people. Patrons can visit our Movie Theater Lounge either before or after a show and enjoy a drink at the bar or bring their beverage into the theater with them."
From the massive movie theater located on the Moolah's main level, Guests are invited to head downstairs to another quirky find: The Moolah Lanes," St. Louis' Bowling Temple." The retro-styled bowling alley will feature eight full lanes plus pool tables, video games and a grill. The décor is vivid, bright lights fill the space and custom designed cityscapes of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and St. Louis hang over the lanes. One very important high-tech addition to the Moolah Lanes is the StarLink Internet Jukebox, a system that operates without cd's, features a flat panel touch screen surface, and offers access to thousands of songs and artists.
Jim Barton, who has made Maplewood's Saratoga Lanes a landmark in its own right,will operate Moolah Lanes. "Where else can you see a movie, enjoy a drink after work, bowl a few frames, and then head upstairs to your loft? Nowhere." said Barton.
"That's why the Moolah is so special. You'll have your pick of things to do in a building that will constantly surprise you. From the huge barrel-vaulted ceiling in the theater to the bowling alley bar that is designed as an actual lane, you can't predict what you'll see around the next corner. Families will enjoy the Moolah, single people will enjoy the Moolah. there is truly something for everyone here." Loft living is a growing trend in St. Louis city, and the Moolah's Living space reflects that popularity. Half of the 42 units have already been reserved, chosen by a diverse group of residents interested in the excitement and convenience of an urban lifestyle. The Moolah's units are large, ranging from an 800 square-foot pied-a-terre to a truly massive two-story, three bedroom living and working space. The lofts include high-speed internet access, telephone and cable, with monthly rent ranging from $700 to $2100.
To restore its unique Moorish flavor, Restoration St. Louis tapped Building specialists BSI Contractors and architects from Trivers & Associates. Designer Kevin Kerwin, AIA, of HKW, did the interior design. A triumph of restoration and revitalization, the newly rehabbed Moolah Temple building will celebrate its grand reopening January 20, 2005.