Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fundraiser Wednesday for Century Building SLAPP Suit Victims

Its been four and a half years since the last of the Century Building came crashing down with a shock wave that shook the surrounding block blocks in early February 2005.  Yet after this much time, Desco, the City of St. Louis, and the State of Missouri are still pushing forward their vendetta with a lawsuit against those who dared challenge the Century's demolition.  This coming Wednesday, August 12th, Revitalize St. Louis will be hosting a fundraiser at The Royale for the legal defense fund of Marcia Behrendt and Roger Plackemeier.  Please come support Marcia and Roger or consider mailing a donation if you cannot attend.

Here is more information from the event invitation:

The Century Building may be gone, but not forgotten! Preservationists Marcia Behrendt and Roger Plackemeier are defendants in a SLAPP suit from the City of St. Louis and the State of Missouri over the demolition of this historic landmark. You can aid their defense and show a support for St. Louis’ architectural treasures.

Drebes Players will be the featured entertainment. Complimentary appetizers will be provided by the Royale. Suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Downtown residents, Marcia
Behrendt and Roger Plackemeier, took action in attempt to save the Century Building. They were plaintiffs in litigation that, among other things, sought to prevent its demolition and save our city’s architectural heritage. The City of St. Louis, the State of Missouri and the project developers filed a counter lawsuit against them, alleging malicious prosecution — and seeking actual damages exceeding $1.5 million, plus punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to deter said defendants and others from like conduct.” 

This malicious prosecution has continued for over four years and the trial is set for September 14, 2009.

Marcia and Roger took a stand for their neighborhood – downtown – and all who love our City’s architectural heritage. The lawsuit against them is a classic
SLAPP suit - a strategic lawsuit against public participation. Presumably the city and state, through agencies, have unlimited funds to pursue these two individuals for years. This is where you can help! Marcia and Roger need assistance with their legal costs. Your donation will help.

Please come and support Marcia and Roger and learn more about the status of the litigation and what you can do to help.

All donations will be accepted and are tax-deductible. Check or money orders should be payable to
ReVitalize St. Louis and mailed to:

Royale Treatment – Downtown Defense Fund
ReVitalize St. Louis
PO Box 771751
St. Louis, MO 63177

Royale Treatment – Downtown Defense Fund is sponsored by ReVitalize St. Louis and the Royale. ReVitalize St. Louis is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization. For more information, please visit To learn more about the Royale, please visit

While on the subject of being slapped in the face, this Tuesday,August 11th, Desco's Culinaria market is scheduled to open on the first floor of the Garage Mahol.  The announcement of the long rumored store opening (February 2008) came after Craig Heller had already announced plans to expand City Grocers (November 2006) into the large first floor space in the Syndicate Trust Building, across the street from their current location and directly backing up to the Culinaria.  After Schnucks finally made their announcement, City Grocers dropped its plan to expand, and will instead re-invent itself as City Gourmet, which will focus on expanded deli and prepared foods, wines, specialty products, and less on traditional grocery items.  The first floor of the Syndicate is still available for lease.

By the way, the Culinaria received a whopping $4.14 million subsidy from the City, State of Missouri, and Federal New Markets tax credits.  That comes to a nearly $200 per square foot interior build-out allowance for the 20,800 s.f. space, which is more than a complete out of ground building costs to construct.  While I a glad that a full service grocery is finally opening Downtown, and agree that this will be great for Downtown in the long run, it is sad that it came about through such a convoluted chain of events.  Like many urbanists and preservationists I know, I will be staying out of the Culinaria unless absolutely necessary.  It would have been nice if Schnucks had not abandoned Downtown in the first place when they closed their store at 7th & Olive in the 1980's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I glad that a full service grocery is finally opening Downtown, and agree that this will be great for Downtown in the long run.........
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