Photo by Diane Cox
The unusual architecture of East Alton’s Citizens Building has been drawing the eye of residents and visitors for the last 52 years. The building is scheduled to be torn down by late spring after being vacant for nearly a decade.
EAST ALTON — For more than half a century, the Citizens Building was seen as a futuristic wonder with its unusual architectural design.
After more than seven years of vacancy, the round building with a drawbridge entrance and retro details will join nearly half a dozen other demolished East Alton and Wood River buildings that many residents considered landmarks.
Designed by Alvin L. Stolze of the Keeny & Stolze Firm, the building was constructed in 1964 at 700 Berkshire Blvd. and Wood River Avenue and kept visitors in awe over the years. The building has housed banks, limousine services and other businesses.
“It was a great building back in its day, but it’s gone downhill over the years,” East Alton Superintendent of Building and Zoning Roger Werts said. “It had been on the market for almost a decade, but potential owners would had to have made a major investment in the building. It’s an energy efficiency nightmare. The cost of the energy bills alone would have cost a fortune.”
The building recently was donated to the village of East Alton by previous owner P and B Real Estate. After years of being vacant, vandals have broken some of the glass bricks that make up the shell of the three-story structure.
“We don’t have a date set for the demolition,” Werts said. “It’ll take a few months to get things in order. We need to allow excavation companies time to place bids for the job. It’ll look so different when that building is gone. It’s been an East Alton icon for around 50 years. People use the Citizens Building when giving directions like ‘turn right at the round building.’ It’ll be an adjustment for residents.”
No immediate plans are in place for the property after the building’s demolition.
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