Saturday, November 8, 2008

LRA Rehab Opportunity in the West End

One very positive outcome of the October Preservation Board meeting (where the demo of 921 & 923 Locust were approved) was the Board's voting to deny a demolition permit to the LRA to destroy a home at 6044 Cates in the West End neighborhood. Acting on a request from 26th Ward Alderman Frank Williamson the LRA, who had recently acquired the home from an absentee owner, LRA immediately applied for a demolition permit without first attempting to market the property. The home is located in the Hamilton Place National Register historic district, so demolition would need approval from the Preservation Board (here is the agenda item from the meeting). Fortunately, the majority of board members agreed that the LRA should make an attempt at marketing the building for sale instead of simply demolishing it. This is the second time the board has voted to spare this home, as the previous owners had applied for demolition in 2007.
The porch with almost all historic detailing intact

The home sits near the end of a cul-de-saced block which is mostly intact and has seen many renovations and some new construction in the past several years. Understandably, many neighbors have been upset with the home's condition in recent years and asked the Williams to make it go away. The street's cul-de-sac is at Hodiamont Avenue, which places the home only 2 blocks north of the Delmar MetroLink station and only 3 blocks north of the Loop's east end making it a very convenient location to live.
Well maintained homes on the same block

While photographing the home, the neighbor to the west came out on the front porch. She first said she wished the home would get torn down, but after I said it had potential she admitted that she would much rather see the home rehabbed than have it torn down and have a vacant lot next door. She added that her home, which is beautifully maintained once looked like the vacant home, and that she had put a lot into restoring her home.
6044 Cates and the neighbor's restored home

The home is in generally sound structural condition, but needs some masonry work mostly on the rear and east side of the building. The masonry issues while in need of attention, are not as extensive as seen in many abandoned LRA properties and do not currently threaten the structural integrity of the home. It is apparent that someone started rehabbing the home in recent years, working inside installing framing to furr out the walls and installing windows, when they really should have tackled the masonry shell issues first.
Masonry work is needed mainly on the rear wall
The east wall also needs some masonry work

The home's location in a National Register district makes it eligible for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. For an owner-occupant buyer, 25% of rehab cost would be returned under the Missouri state tax credit and if a buyer wanted to rent out the home for a minimum of 5 years they would be eligible for an additional 20% tax credit under the Federal program.
The gutted but structurally intact interior of the home

Anyone interested in purchasing and rehabbing the home should take a look at the LRA's web pages that explain the process (LRA is part of the St. Louis Development Corporation, a City agency). According to the Standard Price List for vacant properties and land, the home would be available for $1,000.00. This reasonable price combined with the tax credit incentives make the property a real opportunity to have a nice home even in these tough economic times. For more photos of the home, see my Flickr set.

The West End neighborhood where the home is located has seen a huge turn around for the better in the last decade. The mostly intact blocks west of Hamilton which compose the historic district have seen dozens of renovations and infill on vacant lots. East of Hamilton, which had large tracts of vacant land where severely deteriorated apartment blocks were taken down has the construction of well over 100 new homes. These homes for the most part are not starter homes, and have been successfully marketed to attract upper middle class residents back to the neighborhood. These blocks while having several unfortunate demolitions, have also seen the renovation of many beautiful large homes. Many rehab opportunities also exist as well, although the blocks east of Hamilton are not covered by the historic district and therefore do not enjoy the tax credit incentives.
A recently renovated home on Clemens east of Hamilton
Newly constructed homes on the same block of Clemens
A rehab opportunity on Cates near Goodfellow
Another partially rehabbed opportunity just east of the one above

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
Sorry to contact you via comment but I didn't see an email address for you on your site. I wanted to let you know about a book I just published. It is called Disappearing St. Louis and it presents 55 color images I captured over a three-year period. They depict the poor conditions of homes, churches, and commercial buildings across the city in historic neighborhoods such as Old North St. Louis, Vandeventer, Fountain Park, Academy, JeffVanderLou, and Hyde Park.

I created this book because I wanted to bring greater awareness to the issues faced by the city in the hopes of bringing greater support to help solve them. As part of that goal, I have decided to donate all profits from the sale of my book to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.

If you'd like to help spread the word, would you consider mentioning the book on your site? You can learn more about it here (


Amy Fontinelle
Seeing St. Louis