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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prominent Corner, Vacant Lot

Vacant lot, major street, prominent corner...are there shades of the DeVille Motor Hotel issue at the southwest corner of 14th and Washington downtown? Yes, there are. This would have been the site of the SkyHouse, if the developers had closed on financing and built anything after they demolished the two buildings on this site.

In 2007, I wrote somewhat favorably of the SkyHouse project. Yet in retrospect I should have applied the precautionary principle. Two years later, Washington Avenue has a vacant corner where it previously had a corner-hugging building. While that building's preservation value was debatable, its urban form was superior to a vacant lot.

The DeVille situation is different because the best case (a cleared lot) is the same as the SkyHouse worst case. St. Louis is worthy of a better case.


Dave Reid said...

I don't want to see historic preservation laws abused to save buildings that aren't really historic (I don't know if these were or not). But something must be done to insure demolition doesn't occur unless the new project is really going to be built, as vacant lots are a scourge on cities.

STLgasm said...

I love the Zane Williams building and always thought it was ripe for a loft rehab. Too bad the views are blighted by a sea of surface parking to the east, west and north.

I also wish St. Louis loft rehabs would retain the fire escapes. They add so much character to the buildings. In New York, fire escapes are appreciated a lot more.

kasparowitz said...

Plant large trees in an orchard pattern and you can turn that into an urban oasis that people would love...cheap solution !!