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Monday, April 9, 2007

Demolition Likely to Proceed on Three Houses on Washington

Word on the street is that demolition is proceeding on the three houses owned by Saaman Development on the 4000 block of Washington Avenue. Read more on Urban Review here in a blog entry from April 2006.

The houses are located in the city's Eighteenth Ward, represented by Alderman Terry Kennedy, who is also a member of the Preservation Board. Kennedy has opted not to include his ward in the voluntary ward-by-ward preservation review program that ensures that buildings like these receive review for reuse potential.

The houses are also located in the Central West End neighborhood, renowned for its historic architecture and high residential density.


Doug Duckworth said...

Rather than practical reason, Kennedy is demolishing the homes. There are three vacant lots on Enright which provide the same square footage for Saaman's condos. Kennedy could blight the land and issue subsidy for Saaman, while Saaman could rehab the homes or sell to a rehabber. The demolition costs of these mansions are at least 20k a piece. It is more cost effective for Saaman to retain the homes and build the condos on Enright. Kennedy would, not doubt, be appreciated as he is saving Saaman money.

I do not understand the politics in this town. It is truly disturbing as it defies logic at every turn.

Anonymous said...

I sent the following comment to Alderman Kennedy:

Dear Alderman Kennedy:

As a resident of the nearby 17th Ward who is dedicated to the preservation of St. Louis's profound architecture, I am shocked to hear of the impending loss of three historic structures on Washington Boulevard. Several individuals in the planning and architecture fields feel that these houses are salvageable. Constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these structures have weathered their environments gracefully despite years of neglect. Several examples exist in St. Louis of much more damaged buildings being spared from the wrecking ball. North side neighborhood Old North St. Louis can attest to that!

Clearly, the eastern portion of the Central West End, part of which you represent, has become viable for investment once more. Though I am certain I do not need to summarize them for you, the Gaslight Square development, the revitalization of Sarah Street with Six North and Terrene, the redevelopment of the Salad Bowl site all contribute to a more vital "East West End" that will go a long way in linking long-divided SLU/Midtown from the Central West End.

At first glance, three large residential structures may be seen to have little influence on the redevelopment of the larger neighborhood. Much to the contrary, I and others dedicated to preserving these remarkable and inimitable examples of turn of the century St. Louis architecture believe their presence is much needed in the neighborhood.

Absent a plan to replace the structures with something more beneficial to the community than a vacant lot or new construction with suburban scale and massing, this is a potential loss to the Central West End and surrounding neighborhoods. I urge you to reconsider the allowance of demolition permits for 4011, 4019, and 4021 Washington. Please take a stand against senseless wrecking of structures that have existed peaceably on their lots for a century. If they "must" be demolished, please tell us what will provide the community greater benefit so as to offset these most avoidable and unfortunate losses.

Anonymous said...

I'm not impressed at all with Saaman's new construction. So they chose to tear down buildings that have stood for a century. Will their new buildings last a century? Pathetic.

Doug Duckworth said...

Saaman is building new condos at Arsenal and Dalton across from the new homes of Park Ridge. These will not last 100 years.

Michael R. Allen said...

Why is the standard here *only* a century? Many old St. Louis buildings will easily survive 250 years with proper maintenance.

Then again, with construction standards today, getting a new buidling that could stand 100 years would be a great accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know someone who may be interested in purchasing one of these homes for ~$600k? If these are to be saved, we need to put forth something viable.