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Starbucks Opens In 'Flying Saucer'

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A new Starbucks opened Friday in a Midtown St. Louis building often called the 'flying saucer.'

The modern building faced an uncertain future last year when Del Taco closed and the developer Rick Yackey wanted to tear it down.

Preservationists and even some politicians fought for the saucer, and Yackey changed his mind, instead luring national tenants.

St. Louis architectural historian Michael Allen says it was a big save.

"I think it’s one of the most exciting preservation victories in the last 20 years," Allen said. "A building that many would have thought expendable; a type of architecture that has wide public support but is maybe not old enough to meet our expectations of what a historic building is."

The saucer was designed by the firm, Schwartz & Van Hoeffen, and was originally a Phillips 66.

Local resident Jeff Steinmann said he watched the efforts to save the building closely and wanted to see what it looked like.

"I just wanted to be here on the first day, because I think it’s just so cool that the building was not only saved but turned into something that looks really nice and is going to be something that I think is really cool for the area," Steinmann said.

A Chipotle restaurant is also is slated to open in the building.

Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.