Updated Tuesday, Sept. 4, with information about the city inspection.
The studio apartment certainly has a unique layout.
And the price and location — $525 a month to live in the heart of the Central West End — are hard to beat, especially when appliances and utilities are included.
The only catch: The kitchen and bathroom are combined.
On one side: a range, a sink and cabinets.
On the other side: a bathtub with a shower.
And sandwiched in between: A commode with a toilet paper dispenser.
Consider it an ideal layout for a multitasker.
It was the photo of the kitchen-bathroom combo that's been tearing up the internet in the past few days, even after the studio was rented and the Craigslist ad for the place was removed.
"It was gross," said one out-of-town reader who alerted the Post-Dispatch on Friday.
The image has shown up on dozens of websites, including several in Russian and others purportedly dealing with rentals in other cities. It's been shared on social media. The Riverfront Times wrote about it Saturday.
On Reddit, the image of the kitchen-bathroom has attracted more than 2,600 comments — mostly from people who wonder how such a design could be legal.
Legal it is, says Harold Karabell, who said Sunday he's already leased the studio to a tenant who's "thrilled to live in the neighborhood" at such a reasonable price.
Karabell is the general manager of S.F. Shannon Real Estate Management LLC, a firm that describes itself as "lodging specialists offering unique experiences in St. Louis."
When the building at 4917 McPherson Avenue was completed in 1907, it had 12 luxury apartments, Karabell says.
But during the Great Depression, it was sliced into smaller units — in this case, 50 units, including the unusual two-room studio. (City records show it actually was subdivided in the early 1920s.)
It's tiny, he says, but "it's a legitimate apartment" — and "it's passed all city inspections," including a Housing Conservation inspection, Karabell says.
The St. Louis Building Division inspector inspected the studio apartment at 4917 McPherson in late 2015 and recommended it be rejected.
The Board of Building Appeals granted the owner's appeal on 4917 McPherson Avenue on Feb. 3, 2016.
On Tuesday, the city provided records that show that the Building Division inspected the unit on Dec. 22, 2015, and issued a violation letter, saying it did not comply with current code because it lacked a separate bathroom, "and a kitchen with both a stove and refrigerator."
Rachel Presley, an owner of the property, turned for help to the city's Board of Building Appeals, which heard her appeal on Jan. 28, 2016. (Presley and her sister, Karen Karabell, are co-owners of S.F. Shannon.)
According to a two-page summary of the proceedings, Building Division Manager Ed Ware told the board that kitchens in several units lacked a required kitchen sink. Presley conceded that while some of the units in the building have a full kitchen and bathroom, eight "only have kitchens without kitchen sinks but full bathrooms."
"She requested that all these units be considered together and that the units be acceptable without kitchen sinks. She stated that these efficiency units are generally used by single people that because of work restrictions, do not use the unit to cook a lot of meals per day. She further indicated that her family bought this building in 1975, and that these smaller units without kitchen sinks were exactly that way, and they did not make any changes."
The board on Feb. 3, 2016, granted the appeal, but stipulated that if any "major improvements" are done to the building, the eight units be upgraded "to include a kitchen sink."
That action appears to have cleared the way for those units to be rented.
Harold Karabell on Sunday seemed unfazed that the apartment attracted so much attention in St. Louis and elsewhere.
"I'm glad so many people find it an amusing oddity, and it gives them something to smile about at the same time," he said.