Tucked away in the northeast corner of the Benton Park neighborhood of South St. Louis at 1920 Shenandoah, neglected and lonely, is the former Falstaff Brewery. It might not be as beautiful or well known as the Lemp Brewery 10 blocks to the south, but a piece of local history nonetheless. But while talk has continual gone on for years about redeveloping the old Lemp complex and other former Falstaff breweries get a second life around the country, this gem has gotten far less fan fare.
In the past few of years, the only significant mention of the Falstaff name locally was the fire that happened at the site in February of 2008 (ended up being nothing major) and the proposed redevelopment (see St. Louis Business Journal article) of the other, less attractive, former Falstaff Brewery in town at 3674 Forest Park Blvd. This brewery has less character than the one in Benton Park, but the proximity to the SLU campus made it an attractive development option. Unfortunately, it seems that the project never really got off the ground.
As for the brewery at 1920 Shenandoah, it is gradually showing signs of its age. Other than the fire, structural problems have continued to mount due to decaying mortar and water damage. As you can see from the picture gallery, there are a number of openings and crumbling bricks around the perimeter. Nothing unfix-able, but if left untended for too much longer it could become a problem. The property has been listed for sale (see brochure) for a few years now, but the $1.3 million price tag and uncertain housing market makes investing in this 129,214 sq ft behemoth a bit questionable to the big guys in town and around the country.
The good thing is that there is still plenty of time for someone to come in an fix up the building. Although it is deteriorating as is expected of any untended building, it is long from a lost cause. Since the building is located just north of the most redeveloped section of the Benton Park neighborhood (near Blues City Deli) and only a few blocks from McGurk’s and all the traditional Soulard attractions, one would think that someone will soon recognize the potential of this gem as the market slowly warms back up in the coming years. For a look around the exterior of the complex check out the picture gallery below. Note that this gallery also includes pictures of the adjoining building at 2300 Salena, which is currently for lease.