Historic St. Louis YMCA building to be transformed into 21c Museum Hotel

Construction is underway to restore and renovate downtown St. Louis’ historic YMCA building into a new 21c Museum Hotel.

21c was founded by husband-and-wife duo Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, avid contemporary art collectors with a belief that, “Art is supposed to be lived with,” as Wilson recently shared with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Merging their passions for art and urban renewal, they started their hospitality brand in 2006 as a single property in Louisville, Kentucky, rehabilitating a series of 19th century warehouses into the first museum hotel.

The 10-story, Renaissance Revival-style YMCA building was built in 1926, and served as the organization’s home for 91 years before a 2017 move to a smaller facility. Leading up to its relocation, YMCA had been occupying the two lower floors; the upper eight had been vacant for a decade, in desperate need of repair.

A multi-firm design team of Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaf + Goettel, with interior designers from Hufft and Bill Rooney Studio, have spent the last few years working alongside 21c the development team to reimagine the 95-year-old building. Like all other locations, 21c St. Louis will offer a unique collective of hospitality, wellness and cultural programming. The property will include 173 guest rooms, including two signature 21c Suites; 13,000 square feet of museum exhibition space that will be free of charge and open to the public 365 days a year; meeting and event space; and multiple food and beverage concepts, including a full-service, uniquely-branded restaurant. Additionally, a wellness center that will include spa and fitness facilities will occupy the lower level, including restored spaces and features from the YMCA, like the original lap pool.

“It is a great privilege to be part of such a special project with an incredible brand like 21c,” said Matthew Hufft. “The YMCA building has such a storied St. Louis past. We’re excited to work with the 21c team and various artists to breathe new life into its design.”

Construction is being led by St. Louis-based Russell HBD and expected to wrap in late 2022. More information about 21c St. Louis can be found on 21c’s website.