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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vacant McEagle Houses Next to New Habitat for Humanity Homes

What's wrong with this picture of Bacon Street in JeffVanderLou?

I think that the problem is obvious: There are brand-new houses next door to vacant buildings. However, in this strange case, the new houses were built before the houses next door went vacant.

There are three vacant houses at 2731, 2733 and 2735 Bacon Street adjacent to the three new houses built lovingly by Habitat for Humanity. Across the street are more new homes by Habitat. This block has turned around from a drug-infested, vacant-lot-strewn area into a stable place.

However, in the midst of this uplift came a company called Sheridan Place LC, controlled by McEagle Properties. In 2006 and 2007, Sheridan Place bought up dozens of houses like these, making sure the residents moved out before closing the sales. That's right -- all three of the houses on Bacon were occupied before being purchased by McEagle.

Why did McEagle need to buy these houses at all? By the time the purchases happened, the Habitat for Humanity development was completed, and new residents had moved in. The three well-kept homes next door were a sign of stability to newcomers on Bacon, but not for long.

On the other side of the new houses on this side of Bacon is another Sheridan Place special at 2745 Bacon Street, missing its windows and wearing the red boards put on it by the Building Division. The Habitat for Humanity homes are book-ended by vacant buildings that were purchased for a large-scale project that has little to do with this block. Because of Habitat's fine work, which should be honored and not insulted by crass speculation, this block can't be subsumed by development. But its vacant homes can be held hostage in a phased development where JeffVanderLou is the last phase scheduled to be completed. These houses still could be vacant in 2025 or later.

McEagle has no business owning these houses. The city should not follow good money with bad by letting the developer hoard houses around areas that have been successfully redeveloped. The city's redevelopment agreement with McEagle should require the sale of houses like these on Bacon. If McEagle receives 50% of the purchase prices back in Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credits, as is expected, then the developer should be able to quickly sell off houses like these at affordable prices. After all, the NorthSide project is supposed to fill in the gaps, not create more.


Anonymous said...

It is becoming more and more apparent that McKee does not know what he is doing and is operating under bad advice.

If he could hit the reset button, he probably would. He'd just as soon walk away from the whole thing than blow another $50,000,000.

Anonymous said...

2745 Bacon. I can't tell you how many CSB requests I have sent on that one in the psat year. Mowing/boards/mowing/boards/mowing/oh-my-goodness-the-weeds-are-above-my-head-can't-you-please-mow-this??? Every time I mentioned that it neighbored very nice Habitat homes thinking that would help things along. I also tried the McEagle property management email but that didn't seem to do much either. This whole block frustrates me. Thanks for drawing a bit of attention to it :)

Czarina said...

Amen, brother. Same goes for McKee's hoarding in Old North outside of the redevelopment area. I can think of one good precedent for this kind of deal in Tower Grove East, in which a property owner was forced to sell three houses he'd allowed to sit vacant for many years in return for aldermanic support on a building he needed to rehabilitate in Shaw. Now all 4 of these buildings are finished and productive.

Anonymous said...

You've done so much work on this issue, but I've not yet seen a post that gives a better sense of the micro/macro problems involved with the entire NorthSide development. If also confounding and often tragic, I'll use the word "great" here, as in "great catch."


Pelagius said...

I worry that McKee knows EXACTLY what he's doing - he just doesn't care about the negative impact it will have on the current residents of the community.

Doug Duckworth said...

McKee wants to assemble land to "create jobs." He wants suburban campuses not housing. If he did then we wouldn't see this and have a legacy property list on the table. McKee said that in 15 years rehabbed neighborhoods were as bad as they were before rehab began: without job effectively it's pointless. So says the suburban tyrant from Huntleigh.

Anonymous said...

I have a job idea McKee could implement. How about giving some guys in the community access to a lawn mover and cut that grass, pull those weeds, etc. Then hand them a nail and really board those houses up. But since he hasn't done that is 5 years, he really thinks people believe this ideas for job creations.

He could have been creating jobs all along.

barbara_on_19th said...

On Sheridan Ave itself, one of the Habitat Homes was worked on by Bob Denlow, who is a prominent eminent domain lawyer. I was driving around the neighborhood with him and he suddenly said "Wait!!! I worked on that house". People can't believe the weirdness of such a prominent, well-known, often charitable businessman acting so aggressively against mainstream organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

Anonymous said...

Just hope all you locals love working in warehouses and learning how to speak Chinese.

samizdat said...

Ah, yes, the air freight connection to China. Do Mr. McKee and his cohorts know how expensive and fuel intensive air freight operations are for the average biz to patronize? Most will only use it in "it has to be there yesterday" scenarios. Day-to-day costs for this type of delvery will be prohibitively expensive for most businesses. This air freight talk is all pure fantasy. I think a large transformative project like Northside is a good idea, except that this group of drivers seems to be doing everything possible to sabotage themselves and their plan.