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Undated photo of Gable Tea Room

Undated photo of Gable Tea Room. It is also sometimes called the Gables Tea Room.

Reuse of a small building designed by St. Louis architect Harris Armstrong is preferred by University City officials who are seeking private redevelopment of the site on Olive Boulevard.

Officials released on Monday a "request for proposals" for seven adjoining, city-owned properties in the 7300 block of Olive, just west of Midland Boulevard. The grassy site's only building is the vacant Armstrong-designed structure built in 1931. Known as the Gable Tea Room, the building also had housed a speakeasy, according to the city's request for development.

Armstrong, who died in 1973, was a well-known Modernist architect in St. Louis. Among structures he designed is the Magic Chef building, now a U-Haul facility, on South Kingshighway at Interstate 44 in St. Louis.

University City bought the seven parcels on Olive between 2007 and 2009 to eliminate problem properties. The city's goal is to redevelop the land-banked site with a bakery, a coffee shop and other small retailers. The project should have an active street front that will attract people day and night, according to the city's request. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. July 25.

The area is within the "International" section of the Olive Link, a University City marketing program to revitalize all four miles of Olive within the municipality.

Near the redevelopment site is the planned Senn Bierwerks microbrewery to be built in the 7500 block of Olive. On part of the site previously was the Arcade Lanes bowling alley that burned in 2003 after nearly 60 years in business.

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