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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Washington University Plans to Demolish Three Loop-Area Buildings

This news just came in from a tipster:

Washington University is seeking demolition permits from University City for three buildings: apartment buildings at 701 and 707 Eastgate north of Delmar, both built in 1925, and a house at 6654 Washington south of Delmar, built in 1918. The apartments have been empty for a few years, while the house was rented to students until this spring. The university claims that the costs of rehabilitation of these buildings exceed the return on the investment, but has no plans to redevelop the sites if demolition occurs.

I have no idea how far along in the process the university is, but I assume that the matter will follow proper demolition permit procedures and be heard by University City's Historic Preservation Commission.


Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

WHAT THE FUCK? I don't think this would be okay in even a marginal neighborhood, but it ain't even like it's a rough area.

After all the Forest West (operated by Wash U) demos in FPSE that are going on right now, and now this ridiculous junk, I think it's pretty obvious what kind of property owner and neighbor Wash U is for the St. Louis area. Yuck.

Paul said...

If this is allowed to go through, it would set a very dangerous precedent for Wash U to tear down many other buildings that it owns that are grouped in three area, The Parkview Gardens area, where the two apartment buildings are located (which happens to be a National Register Historic District that spans both U-City and a portion of the St. Louis), an area south of Delmar in U-City, and in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood in St. Louis (also a historic district). Combined, this represents well over 100 buildings, mostly 4-6 family apartment buildings and a handful of large multi-unit buildings that Wash U uses for student housing. All of these buildings were built in a relatively short time span in the teens & twenties of the last century, so they are all relatively close in age. While there were sure to be some that were in worse shape than others as they acquired them over the last decade or so, if they are saying that these are not cost effective to rehabilitate, then if they are successful, with these demolitions, then this could potentially open the floodgates for them to tear down many more buildings using the same excuse in coming years. If they truly cannot make the numbers work, then Wash U should sell the buildings to a developer who can. There are other buildings in the immediate area that are being converted over to condos as well as a flurry of new construction, so the market is obviously there.