Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Can someone tell me again WHY we sold him MORE property?

Sunday afternoon I went to Crown Candy for an Easter bunny and cherry malt fix. On the way home, I stopped abruptly when I saw that the devastation of the Winkelmann mansion located at 1930 St. Louis Avenue has worsened greatly. The mansion was purchased fully intact in 2006 by N & G Ventures LC, a Paul McKee shell company and transferred to Northside Regeneration LLC in 2010. For the last five years the mansion has been under attack by brick thieves, and has now reached the point where its final destruction seems inevitable. 

Just a mere year and a half ago, while most of the later additions to the mansion and its original rear ell had already been largely destroyed, the main portion of the original three story mansion was still quite intact and very much salvageable. If the main portion of the home had been secured, stabilized and protected, there is no doubt that the mansion could have been mostly saved and rehabilitated. See this post from September 2009 for more exterior and interior photos of what was then still intact.

Today however, not much is stable beyond the beautiful front facade. The rear and much of the east walls of the mansion have evaporated and the roof and third floor have largely collapsed. The remaining pieces of the once elegant east bay window now hang precariously.

By this time next year, this is probably all that will be left. Will the Clemens Mansion be next to fall prey to this blatant criminal neglect? Just last month, the City of St. Louis agreed to sell McKee 1,233 additional parcels and buildings totaling 162 acres. With this type of disregard for the hundreds of properties already owned including so called "heritage properties" I'm still trying to figure out WHY?


Adam said...

did McKee ever release the list of "legacy properties"? is the Winkelmann mansion on the list? this is bewildering... there is basically zero chance it's going to be preserved in any way. since McKee clearly doesn't give a f*ck, maybe a group of people (and NOT the brick thieves, who should be shot) should dismantle the facade for reconstruction somewhere else. how difficult would that be?

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

He didn't even board this one up for so, so long, and not for lack of reports to the city. Even after years of watching the destruction, watching this one makes me ache--as you point out, it was in good shape just a few years ago. THIS WAS PREVENTABLE, and prevention of total demise CAN still happen!

Some of my North City neighbors referred to this building affectionately as the "Wedding Cake Funeral Home" because of its ornateness.

Vanishing STL said...

Claire, this is one of those rare occasions where I would advocate for "facademy" (keeping the facade and building new behind)... the other was Gaslight Square. Yes, this was very preventable! But as Adam mentions, McKee doesn't give a shit so it probably will fall... although maybe the brick thieves will leave the facade alone since it is stone. One can hope... or not.

I'm not sure if the "legacy" list has ever been published. Anyone else know?

GMichaud said...

Make no mistake about, McKee is a disaster for the City of St. Louis, now and in the future. I hope I'm wrong, but evidence such as this makes clear he is nothing but a profit mongering developer, concerned about nothing else. Unfortunately City government is complicit in his activities.
I can't imagine what he is going to build new, so for he managed to build a new building on Delmar for a business already in St. Louis, big deal, I'm sure many, many financial favors were dispensed to all concerned to make his one very minor success happen.
There are serious questions about the framework of what he intends to do and how it fits into the future of St. Louis. Do we know what is going to happen, NO! And thanks to our representatives in the mayors office and board of alderman we are not likely to find out.
I guess they think it is better the citizens know as little as possible.

Chris said...

Maybe he'll die soon and then he can't come up with any new schemes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the city should do something about the thieves that are tearing this building down ,brick by brick.Is this not stealing.

Adam said...

^ it is stealing, but the city doesn't have the resources to police thousands of vacant properties, and they're too spineless (or accomodating) to demand that owners like McKee do it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Good thing you saved Del Taco - still empty and more of an eye sore than before.

K said...

This is probably going to sound odd, but is there a way I can email you? I am doing a project based on what we as a society decide to abandon and discard instead of fix (on the basis that those things can tell us a much about a group of people as do the things we fix and consume) and I really want to go take photos of some of these places but am sure I don't know all of them and how to go about doing that safely

Vanishing STL said...

K, Sure, you can email me at