Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SLU to Demolish Laclede Houses

3741-53 Laclede

The University News of St. Louis University is reporting that SLU has announced that it will close the Laclede Houses, a group of 3 two-family apartment buildings at 3741 Laclede and that the buildings will be demolished. The story states that the buildings will be closed at the end of the spring semester in 2013. The three buildings owned by SLU were acquired in 1999. The fourth building at left in the photo above (sans blue awning) is not owned by SLU.
3741-53 Laclede Aerial
The buildings are located on Laclede between the newer University Village apartments to the west and the former Forest Pharmaceutical Building to the east. According to City of St. Louis property records, the buildings were built in 1892 and 1893. While the loss of these three buildings is somewhat less impactful due to loss of context and the fact that they don't stand out as highly significant from an architectural standpoint, the buildings are in livable sound condition.

This statement by Joshua Walehwa, director of the Department of Housing and Residence Life summarizes SLU's stance on the buildings, and from past actions, seemingly their stance on everything around them: “The value of the houses compared to what it would cost to truly renovate them and put them on par with what our standards and expectations for housing are is way more expensive than the value of the houses.”

This statement can be said of almost any old building that is in need of rehabilitation of its basic systems due to age and use but clearly illustrates SLU's values.

6100 Pershing
In stark contract to SLU's disregard, Washington University owns dozens of older apartment buildings in surrounding neighborhoods, mostly ranging from two to six-family buildings and several larger buildings. Many of these were acquired by Wash U in the late 90's when the owners of Parkview Properties decided to sell their portfolio. 

While the buildings had been maintained in very good shape over the years, like most buildings built in the early 20th century, their basic plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems needed attention. Last year, Washington University began implementing a program of complete renovation to these buildings, beginning with this pair at 6100 Pershing. This year, Wash U is renovating an additional three buildings closer to Skinker in what will be a multi-year project. Unlike SLU, Washington University has been able to see that there is value that goes beyond simple numbers.


Anonymous said...

WashU has much more money to renovate with.

Anonymous said...

Your juxtaposition lacks context. You could include at least one mention of Fr. Biondi.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea: all of you who want to save the houses: raise the money to do it. Don't sit around and wait for someone to just do it for you. If they are that important to you, save them. I'm pretty sure you could get an estimate for the amount of money it would cost to renovate them and go to the administration with a plan to save them...they might be more willing to listen to that than "BUT BUT BUT we have memories there!" You will still have your memories, regardless of whether the houses are standing or not.

William Nordmann said...

I have been in these houses they are in very poor condition and lack the required fire safety exits for the upper floors to be used as campus housing.

In their prime they were nice houses, but I think their time passed decades ago.

Stephanie said...

I lived in the first house for 3.5 years (the white one) while I attended SLU. It didn't have the proper fire escape, so the top floor was unlivable.

The rest of the house was in ok condition, but at full capacity, only 4-5 students could live there.

The other houses weren't much better. The middle one had pretty bad issues with sewage.

Kinda sad to see it go, but

Anonymous said...

If the site were quickly redeveloped with unit(s) similar to the adjacent University Village apartments, this demo would be no big deal. If it just becomes more lawn or surface parking, not so good.

Anonymous said...

If they dont have the vision to renovate, why doesn't SLU put them up for sale or even board them up and mothball them for a future owner. Another patch of grass will not help the future of the city.

Adam said...

"Here's an idea: all of you who want to save the houses: raise the money to do it. Don't sit around and wait for someone to just do it for you. If they are that important to you, save them."

are you naive? SLU has to put them up for sale before anybody can buy them. how likely is that, do you think?

and for those of you complaining about their condition, have you never noticed that buildings can be, and are, renovated?

it amazes me that some people insist on defending SLU no matter how wasteful, capitalistic, or poorly planned their actions.

Anonymous said...

capitalism is bad??? wow!

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the people who live in the houses haven't "just sat around and waited for someone to save them for us." They've schedule multiple meetings with high ranking members of Res Life in hopes they could change their minds. When it became apparent that they wouldn't, they got estimates of what it would cost to turn the houses into "Green Houses." Res Life told them they weren't planning on renovating it in any way.

I understand why SLU wants to tear down these houses, but people need to know that the students living there weren't just sitting on their hands while all of this was going on.