Wrecking ball rant
It’s no secret that far too many quality buildings in the City of St. Louis fall victim to the wrecking ball. With some buildings, only the most die-hard preservationists take notice and offense. But every once in a while something is torn down that raises the “What were they thinking?” flag.
Case in point, 2001 South Jefferson, in the Fox Park Neighborhood. The property is located at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Allen, directly south of the McDonald’s. Not unlike many properties along this stretch of Jefferson, this one could use some work. It’s clearly been idle for some time and needs reinvestment. The forces of renovation, however, are close at hand. Many of the commercial and mixed-use properties in the area have been renovated in recent years and it seemed like a matter of time before this one joined the mix.
A few days ago a banner for New Vision Contracting, noting an upcoming demolition, appeared on the property. Clever name for a demo company. Checking up on the matter, it seems the City had some major concerns over structural issues and issued a rush demo order. Before berating the powers-that-be over this seemingly unnecessary move, I drove by the property this morning. It seems that the rear porch was removed in the past few years (verified through Geo St. Louis permit records) and the building wasn’t properly reinforced. Weather and time finally took their toll and part of the rear wall collapsed. You can see a picture for yourself in the gallery below.
Does this damage require attention? Yes is does. To leave it be would invite a lawsuit. That doesn’t mean the property needs to be torn down. Why not sell the property off to a developer who will fix the issue. Sell it to them for $1. What is there to lose? That would save the building and improve the area in one stroke. Instead we’ll be left with another vacant city lot that will erode the streetscape. Now that’s forward thinking action.
The sad thing is that this kind of thing happens every day. Its just that many of these properties are in North City or more isolated areas so they aren’t as significant on the cultural radar. But don’t follow yourself. St. Louis is allowing itself to be torn down brick for brick. Who can tell what agenda is being satisfied here, but it clearly isn’t the agenda of common sense. Nice going City.
If you’re into the historic preservation issues, I recommend check out the Ecology of Absence blog.