October, 2017 Cultural Resources Office - Preservation Board Meeting

Paying close attention to St. Louis development activity can be a nice diversion from the problems we face. The city needs to grow and attract new people. The thing we need most is new ideas and new energy, not the same old same old. Keeping an eye on the Cultural Resources Office Preservation Board Meeting agendas in one such place to tune into the development plans being floated throughout the city.

Per the St. Louis City website:

The Cultural Resources Office is the Preservation agency of the City of St. Louis. Its staff is responsible for review of exterior work within of the City’s 17 locally-designated historic districts, 130 landmarks, public parks and buildings, and encroachments in the public right-of-way.

The Office reviews proposed demolitions or Building Division Condemnations in those Wards that have been established as Preservation Review Districts and of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as contributing resources within a Historic District.

The CRO staff performs over 3,000 reviews a year, ranging from large development projects to small home repair applications. The staff assists approximately 600 people a year with technical advice and assistance.
— https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/planning/cultural-resources/cultural-resources/

The October agenda was an interesting one for me personally, as I live in the 6th Ward and there are five separate projects being proposed in Wards 6, 7 and 9, all in my stomping grounds. 

All five projects happen to be infill new construction proposals. I think we can all agree that vacant lots being filled with new construction is a net positive on all fronts. More people, more new housing options, more of a tax base, less holes in the street wall. Right?

So I decided to visit each site to get a feel for the surroundings and how a new home might change the block.

Source:  https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/planning/cultural-resources/documents/upload/PREL-AGENDA-10-23-2017-2.pdf

Source:  https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/planning/cultural-resources/documents/upload/PREL-AGENDA-10-23-2017-2.pdf

3012 Longfellow is in the Compton Heights Neighborhood and is one of two non-linear, winding streets that are home to some of St. Louis' most beautiful mansions. So, the stakes are high for this project. In fact, the property fronts Russell Boulevard, one of the most well-traveled east-west streets in this part of the city. High visibility for sure.

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NextSTL reported on the development back in May, 2017 and the design certainly looks like it will fit in quite well. 

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The orientation of the front of the home along Russell makes me wonder why it wouldn't be a Russell address as opposed to Longfellow, but who cares, this will improve the view from this stretch of Russell for sure.

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Moving on to 2867 Indiana Avenue in the Benton Park Neighborhood. Two single family homes are proposed for this corner property that is an empty lot.

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Benton Park has been hot, there is evidence of new construction in the area that is fresh and contemporary, yet sensitive to the original brick beauties.

This project will hopefully complement the cool buildings across Pestalozzi and fill in some gaps near the perimeter of the neighborhood near Jefferson Avenue.

Next one is at 2266 and 2268 Missouri Avenue in the McKinley Heights Neighborhood. This large empty lot is ripe for infill as the recently constructed "Charless Village" homes across the street are now occupied with St. Louisans. I blogged on this property back in November, 2016 and again in February, 2017. Check those blogs out if you want to know the history behind the name "Charless Village" and watch the construction as it progressed.  These homes rebuilt a street wall that is varied enough in design and finish to be a great new addition to the neighborhood 

Charless Village new homes in the McKinley Heights Neighborhood

Charless Village new homes in the McKinley Heights Neighborhood

The new construction across the street will really help fill this part of the neighborhood out. Being a historic district, I'm certain the homes will blend in with the existing buildings and will be a compliment to the street. 

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Then there is 1215-1217 Dolman Street in Lafayette Square. This stretch of Dolman between Park Avenue and 18th Street has seen lots and lots of infill. The eastern edge of this well-known neighborhood used to be a massive vacant field. There are still quite a few holes in the street face, but man is it getting better.

New homes on Dolman Street in Lafayette Square

New homes on Dolman Street in Lafayette Square

The latest review for new infill construction is on the west side of the street and will take one more vacant lot off the books and add the thing this city needs most...more residents. I wish the homes on this side of the street were being built closer like the ones in the photo above, but some have purchased side lots for large yards which lowers the density...but, I get the desire for more personal space. Here's what the property today:

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More construction is going on across the street:

Dolman Street looking east toward Peabody Darst Webbe and Downtown

Dolman Street looking east toward Peabody Darst Webbe and Downtown

Finally, you have 1817 LaSale Street in Lafayette Square. This is really a fantastic St. Louis street. Tree-lined, beautiful homes on each side of the street. This home will bridge one of the few remaining gaps in the street wall on this stretch of LaSalle between Mississippi and 18th Street.

only three more holes in the street wall in the 1800 block of LaSalle

only three more holes in the street wall in the 1800 block of LaSalle

This neighborhood has a good track record with tasteful infill, looking forward to adding another home to this nice stretch of classic St. Louis architecture. The property today is a little cut through that people use to walk their dogs. Here's the space that will hopefully have a new home:

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Here's to more homes, more people and a more dense and whole city.