Pacific hotel at Meramec Valley Community School

The former Meramec Valley Community School stands at 413 W. Union St. in Pacific. Lisa and Tony Troglio hope to purchase the building and receive a conditional use permit to build an event center, boutique hotel and craft cocktail lounge on the property.  

Lisa and Tony Troglio have a new lesson plan for the old Meramec Valley Community School in Pacific.

The married couple asked the city’s planning and zoning commission during its Tuesday meeting for a conditional use permit to allow them to build a 4,300-square-foot event center, 22-room boutique hotel and a 40- to 50-person craft cocktail lounge with a courtyard on the property at 413 W. Union Street, which they plan to purchase from TriStar Properties of St. Louis.

They’re calling it “The Pacific School Hotel.”

Although they are not yet under contract, they said that they have a contingency agreement “in the high six figures,” but they didn’t want to disclose exact pricing yet.

In a presentation to the commission, Lisa Troglio described an upscale bar concept “almost similar to a speakeasy.”

They plan to have a revolving display of sculptures and lots of indoor artwork with a focus on local artists.

“There will be a surprise around every corner,” Lisa Troglio said. “We’re envisioning a lot of art, unique touches. We know there’s that beautiful archway; we’re hoping to highlight that somehow.”

She also mentioned putting up plaques commemorating former students’ and community members’ memories with the old school.

“We’ve heard comments like, ‘Why do we need another boutique hotel in town because we have the Landing Hub?’ ” said Lisa Troglio. “The Landing Hub has a different market audience. They’re mostly gearing their hotel to families and pets.”

She said the target demographics for The Pacific School Hotel are wedding guests, business travelers and Route 66 tourists.

The site would include 82 parking spaces, but the Troglios also are seeking arrangements with surrounding property owners to allow their patrons to park at neighboring properties. No such agreement had been made at the time of the meeting, but they said with these spaces, the hotel hopes to have a total of 105 spaces. There will be no on-street parking under their current plans.

The property currently houses two buildings that were used as school buildings from 1870 until 2019 and have since sat vacant.

Tony Troglio said the two have been speaking to TriStar Properties since February to draft the plans.

In their presentation, he outlined the proposed site plan and the renovation plan, including converting the school’s gym into the event center; installing awnings; removing a diseased tree; installing new windows; removing electric poles and burying electrical wires; all new wiring, all new heating and all new plumbing.

They expect to spend around $4 million to $5 million on renovations, Tony Troglio told The Missourian. “It’s a complete renovation.”

He also addressed nearby residents’ concerns, including traffic, which he said would be alleviated by moving the main entrance to Osage Street; noise, which would be alleviated by holding large events indoors; and lighting, which he said would only face the parking lot and building.

Lisa Troglio is a retired chief master sergeant with the Missouri Air National Guard, and Tony Troglio is a soon-to-be retired project engineer with the Boeing international weapons program.

The Missourian was unable to reach TriStar Properties before press time Friday.

City staff gave a positive response to the plans.

“Without the proposed renovation and willingness of investors to repurpose this facility, and without the appropriate maintenance and upkeep required, it wouldn’t be long before the structure could become in danger of being blighted. It is therefore in the best interest of the community welfare that this property is renovated and repurposed,” Pacific Community Development Director Steve Myers said. 

He also said the proposed hotel, which is compliant with the city’s comprehensive plan, would contribute to the city’s tourism and property taxes. 

The commission responded positively with a few small concerns.

Commissioner Donna Brocato asked how they were going to stop people from parking on the street, to which they replied that they didn’t think they’d be able to stop it.

“We recognize the concern,” Tony Troglio said. “We currently don’t have a solution.”

Commissioner Linda Bruns said that the two “went above and beyond.”

In the end, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the board of aldermen approve the conditional use permit with the condition that the applicants get 105 off-street parking spaces and that there is an 11 p.m. curfew for outdoor music on weekends and 10 p.m. on weekdays. The aldermen consider the proposal at its Dec. 7 meeting and hold a vote Dec. 21.