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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Coming Down This Week

Urban Review St. Louis reports that the Doering Mansion is almost gone. Demolition began last week.

Also nearly gone this week is the art deco Regal Theater on Martin Luther King Boulevard. I have been following the saga there and hope to post more information and photographs on our website soon. In the meantime, the other endangered art deco movie house in town, the Avalon Theater, still stands and could be restored.

And still: On our way back from the Wellston Loop last night, we passed at least three in-progress demolition sites on Martin Luther King Boulevard. The north side is still bleeding!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seriously Michael,

The Avalon is a dump. If it qualifies as art deco, it must be on the bottom end of the scale.

I remember the old Michigan Theater in Carondelet. When they finally tore it down, they found an old car inside of the building. The abuse of the Avalon by its current owner isn't much different. A roof collapse similar to the Michigan Theater's can't be far off.

I will granted you that the new homes built on the site of the Michigan Theater are butt-ugly. However, at the time, the Michigan Theater had become such an eyesore and breeding ground for vermin, that neighborhood residents were ready to take almost anything in its place. New market rate housing was a priority (pre-Stein Row days), and the housing developer offered to build the homes there without subsidy.

Over at the Avalon, the owner qualifies as the vermin, and to date the locals have articulated little vision for what should happen at the site, other that to abate the nuisance. (Please, correct me if I'm wrong here, for my main sources are neighborhood newsletters, and the Town Talk column in the Journal!)

I know that at one time QuikTrip badly wanted the entire Avalon block, from the corner of Kingshighway and Chippewa to Lawn and Winona, but the price tag was so high, that they reluctantly moved up Kingshighway (toward the Royale) and settled for a mid-block location (loath to do under their site location formula).

What would be a pleasant south side change of routine would be to see the Magdalen Community Improvement Corporation, the Southampton Neighborhood Association, Alderman Gregali, and the South Kingshighway Business Association all work together to set a clear plan of action for the improvement of the entire block (understanding that the two and four family buildings on Lawn Avenue are going downhill fast.)

Ald. Gregali does report that there is rehab on line for boarded up Lawn Avenue rentals, but at this point, I have more faith in the seeing of luxury condos rise at Ballpark Village, than seeing substantial, non-tax credit financed, rehabs of Lawn Avenue flats.