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Friday, January 30, 2009

Preservation Board Meeting, January 26, 2009 - Outcome

First of all, does anyone know where, besides Landmarks Association, that I can find Board meeting minutes online? The results of these meetings seem like information that should be more public--meaning, put online.

I happened to call the Board yesterday to find out about the fate of three buildings proposed for demolition.

1108-10 Mallinckrodt was not given consideration since the owner did not show up.

Apparently, the rear of the structure has collapsed. Despite this, the other walls remain solid. Adjacent propert owners complain of continual debris on account of this building and would like to see it come down. Concerned for the demolition of historic properties in his Ward, Third Ward Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr. would like to see the building remain standing.

I applaud the alderman's commitment to see this 1892 building be preserved. I hope that he can work with the nearby residents to assuage their concerns. I believe that the city should eminent domain the property, secure it, and auction it off at a later date. The Hyde Park Historic District cannot afford another gap, especially so close to Interstate 70.

Luckily, 5214-16 Kensington in Academy was denied a demolition permit.

Finally, 7001-03 S. Broadway in Carondelet was approved a demolition permit.

This is a shame, particularly due to the age and size of the building. St. Louis has very few structures remaining from the antebellum period. This one was constructed in 1857. By virtue of that fact, it should likely be left alone. Yet, its inobtrusive size makes this demolition even more puzzling. It rests at the edge of the lot, actually facing Quincy and not Broadway--the city demolished the main structure in 2000 under an emergency demo permit.

The CRO staff report notes that the owner wishes to "clear the lot for future development". Considering that, fairly recently, a building used to be on this lot in front of the tiny structure in question, why is it that the original footprint of this already demolished building cannot be used for this unclear "future" development?

The New Orleans preservation agency, called the Historic Districts and Landmarks Commission (HDLC), does not allow demolition without a redevelopment plan having been submitted first. Further, if the plan is for a parking lot, it is usually denied. If the parking or other lesser use happens to be approved, it is reassessed each year to determine if parking is needed and if there are no other development plans. Urbanistically speaking, this just makes sense. The St. Louis Preservation Board should not approve any demolition without a submitted statement of purpose and redevelopment plan.

From a preservationist standpoint, it pains me to see the loss of an early Carondelet structure--even if it has been altered with permastone.

Recall that Steins Row, another one-story rowhouse from the 1850s, was almost knocked down for a service station.

I already emailed Matt Villa, 11th Ward Alderman, urging him to deny this demo, but received no word back. The application notes that he supported the destrution of 7001 S. Broadway.


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