We've Moved

Ecology of Absence now resides at www.preservationresearch.com. Please change your links and feeds.

Monday, May 19, 2008

McEagle Spokesman: Clemens Chapel Safe, Sale Still On

According to an article in Sunday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( Deteriorated mansion may head toward redevelopment despite wall collapse), McEagle Properties indicates that the chapel at the James Clemens House is safe from imminent destruction:

Dan Brungard, a spokesman for McEagle, a development company from O'Fallon, Mo., said a St. Louis inspector said the damage was weather-related. Brungard said that the property is under contract and that the damage would likely not affect that contract.

"We will do whatever repairs are necessary," he vowed.

Again, McEagle mentions a sales contract. Who is the mystery party?

Speaking of McEagle getting serious about maintenance, Kathleen McLaughlin's article from last week's Riverfront Times, "Mow Your Lawn, Mister?", reveals that a federally-funded job program will be used for grass cutting at the "Blairmont" properties this summer.


Anonymous said...

and on KMOX today, in the middle of a shouting match between Charlie Brennan and Slay-ite Jeff Rainford, Rainford drops the bomb that if everything goes right there will SOON be an announcement of the largest redevelopment that North St. Louis has seen in 50 years.

Brennan to his credit took a hard line with Rainford as well as with a later caller who defended McKee's vision for the area.

In other news, anyone else receiving the Development with Dignity proposals being mailed out to 5th Ward/19th Ward residents? At this point, with an announcement coming, these principles seem fairly meaningless. Given that McKee owns so much land and will able to access state tax credits to acqure the rest, the principles sound tailor made for McKee and his other cronies (ie., Larmer) to sign off on in order to show that they are dealing with residents concerns.

Anonymous said...

Blairmont Associates L.C. owns the property, which already was in trouble. It suffers from roof damage, a water-weakened foundation, boarded-up windows and doors. It sits on a lot with overgrown weeds, trash and dumped debris.

The City must have missed it. Sorry Mr McKee

"We've taken pretty extensive measures to stabilize the house," Brungard said, but he said that the damage was in an area that did not appear to need to be stabilized.

I saw nothing stabalized in the entire building, and it was obviously needed in this area. Outright lie.

Anonymous said...

Largest development in 50 years?

McKee must be the second coming of Jesus Christ!

So what was the story about a fat man and the eye of a needle?

Anonymous said...

From last month's State of the City speech:

Later this spring, I will invite you to join me in announcing an initiative for nearly $150 million in new development over five years in the predominantly African American neighborhoods in north St. Louis.


Michael R. Allen said...

By comparison to the mayor's $150 million figure, the 14th Street redevelopment project costs about $35 million and includes rehabilitation of 28 historic buildings, streetscape improvements and street re-openings. Construction will take about 18 months.

With $150 million in five years scattered across even three neighborhoods, we won't get much.

It's possible the mayor's announcement refers to something other than the McKee Total Vision.

Anonymous said...

"McKee's Total Vision"

What does that mean?

Michael R. Allen said...

"McKee's Total Vision"

What does that mean?

I'd love to know.

Anonymous said...

Is the thinking here that Rainford knows?

Anonymous said...

I actually hadn't seen the reference in the mayor's state of the city. Of course, PE knows all. I can see it now: Francis, Robney, T.E. Jeff Smith, Paul and the rest holding hands swaying softly while catholic church choir sings Kumbya. See you there!!!!

Robert Powers said...

That'll have to be something huge, then. People don't realize it, but there is a LOT of new construction in Blairmontland: the factories south of St. Louis Avenue, entire blocks of brand new houses on Bacon and Coleman Streets, the CONECT project in Old North, and all the new houses around the Flagstaff brewery.

I still don't get why McKee doesn't just clear out the 23rd Street Prairie and build there. That's dozens, maybe hundreds of acres with almost nothing in it. The kind of total site control he seems to be after, however... I won't say it's impossible. But to clear out Blairmontland in its entirety would basically constitute a crime against humanity... not that this is something new to St. Louis.

Anonymous said...

The Develop with dignity project was drawn from the residents of the 5th and 19th wards. We have absolutly no desire to help Paul Mckee we live in the middle of the hell he has created. Why would we help him. We wish that someone would have helped us when the butouts began. We were never warned and that is how Mckee was able to aquire so much property without an organized effort against it. Now we are in limbo. Our neighbors have been told their homes would be ok as long as we don't sell our homes but what about all that is happening around us brick theft, arsons, roof collapse. We feel disrepected and ignored. We believe that exposing the condition of properties held by Mckee and LRA it would do more to bring attention to our plight. If you Anon 1:33 May19 have any ideas that could help us to advance our cause you are more than welcome to come to Sts Teresa and Bridget church to speak with Fr Gary aor you may e-mail me at Justice@ststb.org. We are looking to organize as may neighbors as we can. We will soon begin to meet on a regular basis as soon as we find a place in the 5th or 19th ward that can give us a regular space and time. I will be at the 5th ward meeting this Wed if anyone wants to talk.

Sheila Rendon
Neighbors for Social Justice

Anonymous said...

In order for residents to participate meaningfully in development decisions, they need to demand the right to participate. At this point, a developer like Paul McKee could sign the principles and still do whatever project he wants--and use state tax credits to buy out holdouts. Public participation at that point will be the meaningless system of LRA hearings, blighting bill committee meetings, and the obligatory meeting before the 5th ward meeting at the firehouse.

What is missing from the principles is a statement that calls for a resident-lead organization to review and update master plans for the affected area and review proposed developments. Many of us went through the long planning processes in both the 5th and 19th wards; why wouldn't be demand such a level of participation at this point when the stakes are so high?

I generally support the develop with dignity principles; however, if you want residents to take leadership, then you need to invite them to meetings to develop the common platform, not invite to participate after the principles have been written.

Just my two cents...

Anonymous said...

^ the last post seems like sour grapes. In the void of organized community groups in the 5th and 19th ward areas (not counting ONSL which is mostly outside of McKee's area), at least the Develop with Dignity Coalition is trying to pull people together.

If community people continue to battle each other over process rather than joining together, they'll never have any meaningful role. It plays right into McKee's hands. Then, at the end of the day, community people will be pointing the finger at each other.

What will be very interesting is how McKee gets to the point of having a redevelopment plan approved by the city.

Will Ford or Davis introduce the bill? Will annother alderman or the Mayor?

That is the most mysterious open question of this whole drama.

And then if you represent McKee, is that political suicide, or a political victory?

Anonymous said...

It will be Slay that makes such announcement. The alderman in the 5th and 19th oppose Mckee and his ways. I used to have open dialogue with Slay till I mentioned Mckee to him..... Since no return Email, No return telephone cals, No return anything!!! He has been involved from the begining of this whole mess and will be paid well I am sure!

Sam, reporting from Jerusalem said...

Wait, not only does he not get fined for code violations, he gets the Feds to pay for his maintenance? How do I get in on this?

GMichaud said...

I have been involved in many different community organizations for years. It is hard at best to engage everyone, or even attempt to engage everyone.
It is difficult with families, jobs and life that continues on a daily basis.
A leader is someone who helps bring all of the concerned parties together, whether it be Develop with Dignity, ONSL or Landmarks.
Ultimately someone has to step up to the plate to take the lead and the heat if McKee is to stop degrading neighborhoods.
The city is clearly no help, although they should be pressured to follow their own damn laws.
The press is doing better, McKee was a darling of the establishment, but is losing his status over his proven incompetent ability as he has so visibly demonstrated.
No doubt McKee, along with government officials who are cooperating, assume the poor dumb ass citizens have no idea what they are talking about.
We are the god like developers!, the visionaries, They think!

Good luck from the south side, I'll pitch in where I can. At one point I tried to get more involved on the north side, but was rebuffed. Nevertheless it is an important fight for all of St. Louis and for America.
For too long everything has been run to benefit the McKee's of the world. (Hence the multi million dollar tax credit for McKee)

It is time for major changes in government and in policy. As I stated before St. Louis County has a top ten problem property list (North, south and central, much like the top ten FBI list there are other properties that move up after the top ten properties are resolved). It is a situation where government officials actually work with citizens (public works, cops, highways, legal etc) to curtail and eliminate the kind of crap McKee continues to dump on North St. Louis.
St. Louis County efforts should be used as a model for fighting McKee's terrorism.

Chris said...

You know one thing I am interested in is McEagle's statement that they have carefully removed key architectural fragments for "safekeeping" until the building is restored.

I would love to see these, if they really exist. I wonder what would happen if someone asked. Does anyone have their contact info, or is interested?

Anonymous said...

McKee was a darling of the establishment, but is losing his status over his proven incompetent ability as he has so visibly demonstrated.

Really? You mean like the near-universal acclaim for his NorthPark project or the strong community support for his China trade initiative?