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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Blairmont Site Assembly Heading to the Long Final March

Has Paul McKee's Blairmont juggernaut slowed? Not likely. However, word on the street is that they various active purchasing companies -- including Sheridan Place LC, MLK 3000 LLC and Dodier Investors LLC -- are making contracts with close dates as far off as May. The hold-up may be due to capital flow issues, or perhaps it's a strategic timing to avoid greater scrutiny in the wake of recent publicity.

If the hold-up is due to lack of working capital, that is not difficult to understand. A scan of their last day of recorded deeds, January 24, shows four sales totaling $333,500.00.

These purchases are a house and lot at 2219-21 Benton Street with a deed of trust for $80,500.00, a house at 2545 Warren Street ($86,250.00), a house at 2507 North Market ($92,000) and a house at 2911 James Cool Papa Bell.

These prices are very high for older homes in the St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou neighborhoods, but there's good reason for the elevated prices: these four homes were occupied and maintained up to date of the sale. No doubt, the families that owned and occupied these homes were not about to sell out their little acre for pittance, even in the face of the usual rumor-mongering Blairmont's agents have been caught perpetrating.

As the Blairmont machine heads onward in the later stages of site assembly for the "bulldoze the ghetto" project, the last remaining properties are owned by reluctant owners, unyielding owners and unknowing owners. Now that the machine is trying to buy hold-outs and hard-to-locate owners, we may be witnessing the greatest displacement of residents since this whole messy business started in 2002. In the first few years, when few realized the plot, Blairmont purchased properties at sheriff's tax sales and bought vacant land and buildings. Then, the agents began soliciting sales and picked up properties owned by folks ready to sell. They also began making inroads with public agencies, including purchase of the old Benton School site at 2333 Benton from the Board of Education and a disposition from the Public Administrator's office.

Now, all that is left are people who own property that they have intended to maintain as residences and businesses. Now, all that is left is a full-on assault against the strongest parts of near northside neighborhoods. That, and a grab for the crucial public lands.

What will our political leaders say as hundreds of northside residents are displaced and a tremendous public land-grab is planned? So far, they are mostly silent.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Displacement is involuntary relocation. If owners willingly sell, they are not displaced.

Tenants on short term leases are lowest on the totem pole in terms of claims of interest.

Owner occupants are highest. If things come down to acquiring holdouts via eminent domain, then the effort will have risen to a new dimension.

Generally speaking, alderman never support redevelopment plans which acquisition by eminent domain over owner occupants.

If that were to happen in the case of Blairmont, it will take aldermanic support.

Since these owner occupants are voters, most aldermen won't travel down that road.

barbara said...

I'm starting to wonder, who is the 70% owner of the Blairmont companies? BJC? Maybe the 10-acre Forest Park deal is just a big red herring for the 1000 acre deal. Like pickpocketing teams, create a silly distraction so you won't notice while they steal you blind. Ever notice that this big chunk of land and new highway will make it easy for BJC execs to drive up to NorthPark without having to set eyes on an urban landscape or (gasp!) an African-American community.

G of St Louis Place said...

OK Anonymous, great specious logic. You are making the argument for us. This is *exactly* why McKee is resorting to block-busting. He is NOT getting aldermanic support and is doing this the old-fashioned way. Once he has site control, the eminent domain proceeding will be moot, not to mention at a rock-bottom price. Get your head into a less rosy place and THINK with those brains god gave you!

barbara said...

What do you mean by "willing"? Let's look up the definition of ethnic cleansing --

At the most general level, however, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the expulsion of an "undesirable" population from a given territory due to religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these.

-- Andrew Bell-Fialkoff (wiki)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one of Mckee's greatest allies is MoDOT. Already he is getting Hwy 64 expanded and rebuilt to serve Winghaven. The new lanes in Dardenne Prairie will then help qualify 64 as an interstate highway.

These objectives will be further enhanced with the New I64 plans. Any bets on why the New I64, especially at Kingshighway, exhibit abundant amounts of favoritism? Neighborhoods are being destroyed so developers can create their myopic utopia...isn't StL wonderful?

Let's ban all bikes and pedestrians! Make way for the cars, trucks and Segways!

Anonymous said...

It's not just government that is silent.

Other parties invested in the future of this part of the city have to know what's up:

Metro/Bi-State
Great Rivers Greenway District
RHCDA

Anonymous said...

The idea that BJC is the 70% owner is absurd.

Statements like that will get this cause nowhere.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled accross your blog and this is the first I had heard of this Blairmont travesty. Keep up the good work.

A thought. Have you considered contacting some of the current or former african american players on the Rams to enlist their help in this matter? It seems like we have had many community minded players. I can't imagine that they wouldn't take an interest when presented with all the facts.

Ben said...

Lt Gov Peter Kinderer is pushing a $100 million tax credit for Blairmont. Who is this undisclosed developer from St. Charles County who wants a "subsidy for a massive mixed use development in St. Louis"?
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/2EF2C5B02EF7F5578625727C00135BA8?OpenDocument

MattH said...

I saw this article too. It is pretty obvious what is going on. They will be getting subsidies on top of it all........

that legislation is pretty specific as to the type of development that can get the money, so it appears to be set up for this specific developer only......