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The St. James Hotel was designed by Lewis E. Reynolds in 1859, it was noted for its use of cast-iron architectural features on the facade.  The building was purchased by the Produce Exchange in 1883 and James Freret, architect, designed their building behind the hotel.  By 1889, the Board of Trade had acquired the structure, utilizing the hotel lobby as the entrance to their new building.


In 1967, the badly deteriorated hotel was demolished, salvaging the cast iron elements from that historic building to be reused in the design of the Plaza. The cast iron colonnade, created from the original facade of the first floor of the hotel, acts as a loggia for the Plaza, while serving as the Magazine St. entrance to the Board of Trade.  This unique urban park was created to give the Board of Trade a presence on Magazine St., and is intended  as a pleasant open space in the heart of a busy commercial area, a small enclosed  park of the type seen in many parts of Paris.  It was awarded the prestigious Citation for Excellence in Community Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.  A well-detailed cast iron fence and gate allow the Plaza to be secured without obscuring the view of the Board of Trade building beyond.

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