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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Corner Storefront on Cass Avenue

This corner storefront and at 2742 Cass Avenue in JeffVanderLou was one of the properties recently purchased by Larmer LC from the Cass Corporation for $739,000. Actually, these are two separate buildings. While Geo St. Louis dates the buildings to 1885, that's probably wrong. Most of the Geo St. Louis building information comes from unreliable city records, not building permits. Likely, these buildings are earlier and the storefronts added later.

Across the city in the post-Civil War era, many builders built tenement housing over commercial space like this on streets in "suburban" areas away from the central city. Some streets were main thoroughfares and shifted to commercial uses. When those changes came, building owners would often reconfigure tenement buildings with ground-floor commercial uses by putting a cast iron storefront in place of the brick wall on the first floor. That's what seems to be the case here. In other cases, storefronts were inserted in place of residential space.

The cast iron front allowed for greater glazed area than a heavy masonry wall; stores needed exposure of goods to the passers-by. This was long before automobile-clad consumers learned about goods through television and computers before heading to the local windowless big box.

Cast iron fronts are structural as well as decorative. The columns, poured into attractive classical forms, bear the weight distributed across the front by paired steel I-beams. Adding wide storefronts must have been interesting surgery!


Anonymous said...

$739,000??? That sounds like some creative financing!

Chris said...

That does seem awfully high; could it be fore more than just these properties?

GMichaud said...

The money is way too much, something is wrong. But I guess that is obvious even without an absurd purchase price. Maybe the price includes bribes.
Maybe mortgage fraud?
Who knows, what a sick bunch of people.

Robert Powers said...

Visit it while you can, folks. That yellow thing is a wreckers' sign on the facade. Probably coming down very soon.

GMichaud said...

The purchase price has to include other properties, but it high nevertheless. It does point to one thing cited before the state passed the multi million dollar tax credit for McKee. The tax credit will allow McKee and his cronies to be high bidder on all north side properties, since he gets much his funds back from the state.
In other words the people of Missouri are funding McKee to take over a large swath of St. Louis to the exclusion of other citizens.

This country is so screwed up this tax credit for McKee and it's aftermath are treated as normal business. There was a few criticisms from the Post Dispatch and KMOX has followed up on this travesty. But for the most part it means nothing to the major media and McKee is allowed to run roughshod over the Northside. Meanwhile the city sits quietly allowing the destruction of neighborhoods by one man and his associates and fails to represent its citizens in these affected wards.

Perhaps there is a way to initiate a lawsuit against McKee and also the city for failing to uphold its own laws.
As I mentioned before St. Louis County has a top ten problem property program (north, central and south) where the government (public works, legal staff, the police etc) actually work with the citizens to improve communities.

That is what is needed here,to identify the slackers, the criminals, McKee being number one, and throwing the book at them.