Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Carnage

Yesterday, Nate and Nick started the demo of the ceiling of the Peace Printing office. Greg was out for the day so Julie and I sat in the office while the demo started on the other side of the wall. The sound of the hammering and the plaster hitting the concrete 13 feet below echoed off of the walls of the empty space. It sounded like they were beating a confession out of the building.

It looks like he crawled out of a mine shaft before he asked me to check his e-mail.

That was yesterday. Today, they were dressed to handle uranium, kidnap ET and after lunch get rid of some bodies.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Have No Superlatives For Our Dumpster

Progress today was not very photogenic. Nick and Nate prepped the space for destruction and took down bits of conduit, bric a brac and pondered mysterious, semi-structural beams that run parallel to the joists. I for one shuffled papers around, wrapped my noggin around money stuff and generally froze my butt off since I have the coldest seat in temporary office.

But hey, the dumpster came.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Destruction Awaits

Nick and Nathan made short work of the rest of the office. I helped demolish the hung ceiling, which was extremely antisocial but very satisfying. I asked that the carptet be destroyed in my absens. In the twenty years that it's been down, it's been cleaned exactly zero times, so it's anybody's guess how dead the dead rat was that fell on Nick's neck as he picked up the carpet and got ready to cut it.

In case you're wondering, no, I don't pay either of them even close to enough to deal with that.

As the ceiling was taken down, the lights were moved into the back space and a few were plugged in for a little light. They cast a creepy light on the whole space.

Bonus picture of the Wine Bar (such as it is).

Oh and some more of the future kitchen/current mess:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh God It Was Horrible

It wasn't really, it was just really hard, and dusty and stressful.

We moved the office into a smaller room in the warehouse part of the building in preparation for demolition on Monday. It all happened very quickly, and twenty five years of crap was moved into the new space, put back into the "Creepy Room" (more on that later) or dragged into the printing room to await later demolition. All that is left now are a bunch of wires that go to nothing, some odd bits of hung ceiling and a very very worn out carpet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Temp Facade: Cute As A Ladybug's Toenail

Not satisfied to simply slap up some plywood and call it a day, our general contractor primed the sheets in blue and had his daughter's Brownie troup go to town on them. I suggested a "Wine and Beer" or an "Ol' Gaslight Square" theme, but in the end, the girls chose to go with "Underwater". Check it out!

I introduced myself to a guy walking his dog to the dog run. He was under the impression that we were opening a pet store. Time for some signage. If I only knew of a good printer...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blast From The Past

This building and four others used to be owned by one screen printing company. They blasted holes in the walls between the buildings and ran forklifts through them. When they were parceled out, the holes were bricked up and largely forgotten. Now that the equipment is out of the space, I was able to peek behind the doorway and discover that SCREENPRINTERS DO IT BEST!

Also behind the door was an O.G "Have A Nice Day" bumper sticker. I've never been sure what the heck the original sticker was supposed to mean, but in an era where ol' smiley is synonamous with cheaply made goods from Walmart, I say to you all HAVE A NICE DAY!

Everybody Out

The last of the equipment got booted out of the wine bar space. What was formerly the darkroom is now the future kitchen. Greg is going to be getting a fancy new computer to plate system, so this was an unceremonial end of an era.

Whatever it was, we had to drain all of the developing fluid from the machines into buckets and it stank to high heaven. I went to my other meetings today knowing full well that I stank of dust and toner.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Moving Out

Nathan, Nick, Matt and I spent the day moving the "smaller pieces" of equipment that were left after the cutter and printing press rapture. It was a lot of grunting and strategizing and using an implement called a Mule (essentially a very small right angle attached to a very long pole for maximum leverage). By the end of the day, the printing room was cleared of all of the semi-antique equipment and is now perfect for a game of handball. I'll have pics of the new printing room soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rig It Up








Let there be now doubt about it, I had absolutely, positively no hand in moving this stuff. I just stood around and worried. The riggers were great, even if there was some unpleasantness in the business aspects of the whole thing.

Slept About As Much As I Figgered I Would

A commercial real estate agent once told me, "if you wake up before five, you woke up the day before." If that's true, I woke up yesterday at 4:22 am and am now about to go to work. The riggers should be good at their job, right?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Threading The Needle

I'm all atwitter about tomorrow, when the printing room will get a much awaited equipment-ectomy. The furnace is online, the electricians are ready, the front doorway is all set to be blasted out and covered with plywood.

Here's what has to happen:




After that, it's just a simple matter of moving the other several tons of crap outta there, taking out the ceiling, busting up the floors and filling the place with wine bar. Piece of cake!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sign Mystery

So in the alleyway between my building and the next is this enormous, decaying sign from the bygone Gaslight Square era. Check it out:

as you can not so clearly see, the sign clearly says "Gaslight Square". I've been trying to find out from people just where the heck this used to reside. So far, I've been told by one old timer that it was in front of the Crystal Palace, which used to be located on the southwest corner of Olive and Boyle.

If you look at this documentary at minute 13:30, you can see that either this sign or it's twin was used to mark "The Guilded Cage, another Gaslight Square joint. I put in an e-mail to the documentary filmmaker, hopefully I'll get the whole mystery solved in time to negotiate fixing the damend thing up to put in front of the building.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Grey Lady Weighs In On Extreme Beers

The NY Times Wine reviewers weigh in on"extreme beers". It's a pretty good article with some interactive bits and reviews. There is the above photo of the tattooed wild man enjoying a hoppy beer and getting an adorable little IPA mustache which I'd like to address. The photo indicates, and rightly so, that true enjoyment of "extreme beers" can only be obtained shirtless, bald and tatted up. Though you can't see the New York Times' Eric Asimov in the recorded reviews I can assure you that Mr. Asimov was shirtless while speaking into the microphone. I have it on good confidence that he was ejected multiple times from Brooklyn's Spuyten Duyvil bar for defying their "no shirt, no service policy".

Seriously though, great article. I want to get my hands on the first case of Dogfish Head 90 Minute that they give to beer distributors in St. Louis. You'll see why.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Face of Things To Come

Drama this week regarding the facade of the building. There are hundreds of buildings in St. Louis that have covered up their once glass filled facades in the last 50 years, as the business and population bled out of the city and into the county. I've seen everything from wood, glass blocks, bricks and concrete slabs used. The building in question was filled in by wood, sheeting which was insulated then covered on the inside with drywall. Now that we're doing a historic renovation, we're going to go ahead and rebuild a facsimile of what the building used to be like when it was built in the early 'oughts.

Which brings us to the pole. There's is a monster, six inch wide pole that supports the facade of the building. The pole is the proverbial sleeping dragon and we're committed to building around it. A few months back, two architects daintily cut out a square of drywall, found the pole and measured the distance between the pole and the walls in order to build the facade around it. Their intentions wer better than their measurments though and the facade they designed was off by a foot and a half in regards, or disregard to the pole.

Insert joke here calculating numbers of architects neccessary to measure one pole.

After some panic, much cussing we changed things around a bit so that we could appease the need for symmetry, the ADA, historical accuracy and of course, the pole.

Here's hoping.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Ugly Part

Sure there'll be later posts where I go on about the deep, rich tastes of certain wines, where I'll give pretty pictorals of my times touring Missouri vinyards and post self-indulgant pictures of me and my attractive friends eating large loaves of bread on handsomely made quilts. I'll even tackle harder issues like the increase in hop pricing and it's possible effects on the November election. But now, today, I'm more concerned with toilets flushing.

Imagine if you will the printing room: Nick, Nate and I took down the dropped ceiling as best we could (so as not to disturb the cutter or the Heidelberg press). Greg working to finish a job on the Heidelberg and the plumbers rocking a jackhammer to bust up some concrete. I'm not sure if you could see me laughing through my dust mask.

This is what the back looks like without the dropped ceiling:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Good Plumbing News

We popped for the building equivilant of a colonoscopy and had the sewer lines video-snaked. If I get the video and it's at all interesting, I'm tempted to post it with a little YouTube link. Dunno which of our potential customers would want to know just WHERE the toilet flushes to, but am I really the one to decide? Full disclosure is full disclosure. The news that we got was pretty good, they were able to drill our a little blockage and the ten foot span of pipe that would have to be put in is now about three.

My biggest concern now is to find an electrician to move the electricity back to the new printing room. Once that is nailed down, then I can spend some time doing a some other projects I've been wanting to get to like, oh, I don't know....getting a liquor license!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Little Taste Of What Was

I'll try to get some better stuff (and probably do a little historic walking tour) but here's a little youtube taste of what Gaslight Square used to be.

Rapid Acceleration

I've been at this project for about six months, Greg has had the idea for the wine bar for close to two years. The bank has known about it for about three months and they were good enough to give us the money. We've got the drawings, the permit, an extremely competent general contractor and now we've got to GO!

By the thirtieth of this month:
Create a room in the back of the building for the twelve tons of printing equipment to go.
Move the HVAC back and create a climate controlled room for the paper and equipment.
Have riggers MOVE all of the equipment out of a blasted out hole in the facade, around the block and into the new printing room in the back of the building.
Move every last lick of usable stuff from the printing office into the envelope printing room (phones, computers, desks, Greg's golfing trophies etc).
Violently demolish everything left over.

Friday, January 4, 2008

About Us


Greg Stevens:
Last of the great St. Louis, Pinko-Commie, Union Printers
Owner, Printer, Peace Institute Printing

The Project: Turn the former printing room (or press room if you like) at Peace Institute Printing into a wine bar, thereby giving the old Gaslight District a well needed shot in the arm.

What we have to work with: