Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Preservation Board Full of Demolition Requests

3252 N. 19th: From "For Sale" to the chopping block, the LRA way.

This months Preservation Board agenda is crowded with demolition requests including three in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood's Murphy-Blair National Register Historic District. Curiously, all three have "For Sale" signs on them in the photos taken by the City, many of which are very recent.

The rear of 3252 N. 19th

This pair of townhouses at 1415-17 Dodier is literally right around the corner to the north from Crown Candy. Why this pair would be up for demolition is a mystery. Aerial views show no major breaches in the roofs. They appear quite sound from the front.

The rear is no worse, with none of the tell-tale signs of major deterioration. In fact, the lighter areas of mortar joints indicate that the wall has been tuck-pointed!

And less than a month ago. Not much change.

By far this appears to be the worst of the three buildings that LRA is requesting to demolish. The missing rear wall however is not insurmountable. Unfortunately missing or heavily damaged rear walls are not too uncommon in abandoned houses (with rear sloping flat roofs). Once the gutter disappears, water takes its toll and the rear wall rapidly deteriorates. Re-building the rear wall of a building like this is actually not as difficult as it might seem. While it is preferable to do this with masonry, where the budget for that is not available, a framed wall w/plywood and siding will do.

The rear of the building last month. Again, little change here, so why the rush to demolition?

The last potential demo on the agenda is 4106 Virginia, in Dutchtown. The 2-family home is located in the Gravois Jefferson Streetcar Suburb National Register Historic District.

A tale of two houses: 4106 Virginia on the right was inspected in July of 2009 with 7 violations. Now the City's Department of Public Safety wants a condemnation for demolition. Funny thing is that its neighbor, 4102 Virginia on the left according to the City's property data was in 2004 "Condemned for Occupancy; Can't Demolish". So what is it about 4106 that warrants demolition?

Both Ecology of Absence and Dotage St. Louis have coverage of another proposed demolition of two buildings on Southwest Avenue by Favazza's restaurant. The demolitions are likely wanted to add additional surface parking. The restaurant owns an existing parking lot west of the buildings.

As always, I encourage citizens who are concerned about the continual loss of our fair City's built environment to attend the Preservation Board meeting on Monday, November 23rd at 4:00 PM at 1015 Locust Street, Suite 1200 and testify or send your comments in before the meeting. Comments should be sent to:

St. Louis Preservation Board c/o
Adonna Buford, Secretary
1015 Locust Street, Suite 1100
St. Louis, MO 63101

Or email:


Michael R. Allen said...

Often these condemnation for demolition orders are denied by CRO and removed from the Preservation board agenda. That happened last month. I doubt that these buildings will remain on the agenda.

barbara_on_19th said...

The first 3 ONSL buildings have For Sale signs on them with the phone number of the Old North St Louis Restoration Group. They are for sale for $500 each. ONSLRG has marketed and sold properties in similar condition, including backless, to rehabbers that now live in them. ONSLRG has also rebuilt buildings in far worse condition. I am certain they will be contacting LRA/CRO to intervene. If these remain on the agenda, several ONSL neighbors are certain to appear at the hearing to oppose demo.

Sean said...

I live directly behind the ones on Dodier, in fact I had just cleaned up the backyard a couple of weeks ago. They are in good shape except for the floor has gave way. I won't be able to attend the meeting but will be sending an email.

AF said...

Preservation board mtgs are open to anyone, right?

Vanishing STL said...

Yes, Preservation Board meetings are public meetings open to all. Before the meeting there are typically sign-up sheets on a table at the back of room for people who want to comment about the various proposals. If you happen to get there late, you can still speak when an item comes up for public comments.