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Site of former “Praxair Explosion” remains idle

When a chemical storage warehouse in the St. Louis neighborhood of Lafayette Square exploded in 2005, it garnered national media attention (see video of the fire here). The damage to the warehouse at 2210 Chouteau Avenue and the surrounding buildings was fairly substantial, though thankfully nobody was injured. Following the fire, the surrounding buildings were soon repaired and the building’s owner, Praxair Inc. moved out of the area. Significant though the fire was, it also represented an opportunity for new residental and commercial development on the northern end of the neighborhood. 

Skip ahead five years 2010 and behold what has become of the site. If you look to the pictures below, you’ll notice that NOTHING has come of it. Plans have been proposed for the site through the years, but nothing has ever come together. Currently, Praixar still owns the 4.077 acre property at 2210 Chouteau and has it listed for sale for $2.25 million by Green Street Properties (who happens to be handling the $22 million Chouteau Crossing project across the street). Their website lists the parcel as being currently “under contract” though the ultimate fate of that transaction is still unknown.

Directly connected to the Praixar site, but owned by different people, are two additional lots worth mention. The 2.105 acre property at 2118 Chouteau is owned by Chouteau Towers LLC and is also listed for sale by Green Street Properties at $710,000. This property is directly to the east of the Praxair site and is currently an idle parking lot. The third parcel is located directly south of Praxair at 2207 Hickory Street. Owned by Great Western Development, this 1.31 acre property is so overgrown that it resembles a small forest more than an urban neighborhood. This property is not on the market.

All total, these properties represnt 7.492 unused acres of land on the south side of Chouteau in Lafayette Square. That’s a lot of land for such a developed section of St. Louis. Of course, its likely a matter of when, not if something will happen to these sites, but after all these years patience is not easy to come by. However, hopefully it doesn’t take another five years before this vacant island of asphalt, scrub trees and corroded metal becomes something worthwhile.

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