The Social Affair at The Station, at 2232 Thurman in the Shaw neighborhood, occupies the site of a former gas station developed some time prior to 1939. The first identified business at the site was a filling station from 1939-1944. Three other businesses operated filling stations until 1975. Some time afterwards, the site was used as an automotive repair shop until 1986. Until cleanup efforts were underway, the site was being used for equipment storage.
In 2011, the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Group applied for and won a Brownfields Assessment Grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program (BVCP). The purpose of the grant was to help facilitate redevelopment of the site. The initial plan was to use the site as a parking lot for nearby housing units.
Extensive testing was done on the site. Historical records showed the presence of three petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs), and one additional UST for used oil. The site also had a pump island with a buried piping system, as well as a hydraulic lift (covered by materials in this image). High levels of TPH-GRO, naphthalene, benzene, and xylenes were detected near the pump island at subsurface depths, indicating significant release. It was considered unsafe for future development without remedial action.
Testing was also done on the building materials; specifically, investigations for asbestos fibers and lead-based paint were carried out. Asbestos was found in the black undercoating of the roof, as well as the exterior window glazing. On the other hand, paint samples tested for lead did not exceed HUD's criterion of 5,000 ppm.
Instead of the initial plans of a residential parking lot, the site of the former filling station/automotive repair shop was lovingly restored and re-purposed by local chef Kelly Spencer. The site now contains The Social Affair at The Station (http://thesocialaffairstl.com), a gourmet catering business serving American cuisine with a southern influence. In addition to serving clients large and small, The Social Affair also opens its doors to the neighborhood with an assortment of refrigerated and other meals.
An interior view of The Station from the entrance. Neighborhood residents as well as other guests are welcome to come for their selection of carry-out food, from various kinds of bread (not pictured here), to a refrigerator full of dishes such as Southern Macaroni and Cheese, Asian Noodle Salad, Dixie Pimento Cheese, Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Squares, and more.
Another view from the catering kitchen. Two large garage doors offer excellent daylighting as well as views of the Shaw neighborhood. Passersby are welcome to see the action for themselves along the way, or to smell the action when the staff opens the garage doors.
The Landmarks Association of St. Louis annually awards projects in order to recognize excellence in the restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of St. Louis' architectural heritage. The Social Affair proudly displays its 2014 award for the preservation of the former gas station.