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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Silent Terrorists

As I just wrapped up hour eleven of working on my house today, a thought hit me that I can't shake.

Old North St. Louis is populated by many people, including an inordinate amount of energetic rehabbers who are sacrificing normal lives, leisure time and money to rescue historic buildings.

The Blairmont syndicate is attracted to buildings in Old North because they know worker bees like us are paving the way for a big pay off for their lazier, more conservative but much wealthier selves.

By not participating in dialogue with us and by continuing to buy historic buildings here and then letting them sit empty as nuisance properties, the owners of the Blairmont companies are inflicting aggression against the residents of my neighborhood. They are using our efforts, and the efforts of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group/Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance, to build their vision. At the same time, they are ensuring that no rehabbed house is less than a block away from a vacant building or lot that is untended. That act can keep values down to the point where they can acquire more property here from frustrated property owners.

In some, they inflict doubt. In others, anger. Some people have never heard of them but feel the pressure of a crack house or weedy, rat-infested lot next door. Blairmont's effect is that of psychological terrorism, whether intentional or not.

Thank goodness that most of my neighbors are strong enough to resist the fear that the Blairmont group is pushing on us. The irony is that most of us would welcome a large development project that improves our neighborhood.


Barbara said...

The thing that is so weird is that they are betting on the neighbors and rehabbers succeeding. They have bet their money on us, but not with us. The cottages at Blair and Hebert (see http://www.builtstlouis.net/northside/old_north010.html
)are next to James & Maria, Doug & Courtney, Nate & Kathy, John & Janie... Blairmont knows these folks are money in the bank. If Paul McKee wants to prove he is not just a malicious speculator, he should spend enough to at least stabilize the cottages. They are so cute and so marketable, even in current condition. Can you imagine with some tuckpointing, new windows, smart layout, and flowers in the yard? Put your heart where your money is, Blairmont, and fix up the cottages!

Anonymous said...

No, the thing that's wierd is that none of these people need the money.

They have chosen to invest on the northside because they are convinced it's a good invesment.

Michael Allen said...

"none of these people need the money"

None of which group? Blairmont?

Bubbles said...

This this man a terrorist?

He looks more like an actor playing a curly-headed kid's uncle.

Surely he is in constant communication with the neighborhood groups on the near northside, coordinating his vision with their needs.

That's what uncles are good for -- they always know when to give you that bottle of pop or that chocolate bar. And a smile. And a ride on the electric golf cart.

Judy said...

Well, don't look now. But, just last week 2701 Blair Avenue fell into the hands of the Blairmont empire, I am sorry to say. About a month ago it went up for sale. It sold to gentlemen who lives in Bridgten of North County. The property was listen in his name, a week latter it was in one of Blairmont's secret group names. With cash upfront they can purcase these fast. The average joe has to go through the banks to get the money inwhich taking longer for in to sit on the market.

north said...

constant communication with the neighborhood groups? eagle realty does not return phone calls to north side residents and the manbehind blairmont has lied to my neighborhood group form what i heard. they are to nice to tell you that but i have to say it.

bubbles. you must be smoking something strong!

Anonymous said...

Paul McKee claims to be a social entrepreneur and a visionary who believes in diversity and his religious faith.

The actions of Blairmont show who he really is. No wonder he's tried to hide his connection.

Anonymous said...

More like an uncle with a creepy little secret. Smile pretty in church so you can take what you want when no one is looking.

Mayberry said...

If McKee is the kindly uncle, is John Steffen the go-get-em nephew?

And Mayor Slay the sheriff asleep on the job after one beer too many during lunch at the tavern?