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Not all residents are happy with the King

May 20, 2008 Downtown, Real Estate 6 Comments

Some owners of lofts in the King Bee building on Washington Ave have taken their complaints to court.  From a current RFT article:

In 2006 building and fire inspectors confirmed several problems: a furnace system without proper ventilation; a four-story staircase with several air conditioners stored on landings, also improperly ventilated; and untested sprinkler and alarm systems.

St. Louis’ acting building commissioner Frank Oswald calls the violations at the King Bee “major,” but says none of them are severe enough to warrant condemnation. What’s unusual to Oswald is the way they arose in the first place.

“Usually when somebody else is [violating code],” says Oswald, “they’re doing it on their property, and they haven’t sold it as a condominium.”

The fundamental issue, adds Oswald, is that the developer failed to alert the St. Louis Building Division before converting the warehouse to residences. He explains that most developers begin by filing a plan, which kicks off a series of reviews and inspections, before anyone moves in. “It clearly was not done appropriately,” Oswald says.

Deputy Fire Marshal Baron Ross agrees. “The life-safety requirements for a warehouse or factory are quite different from where people are going to be sleeping,” he explains.

Interesting.  As the article also notes, the developers asked for and received tax abatement.   So while the building division didn’t have a master plan in front of them the developers would have had to show something to St Louis Dev Corp and the Board of Aldermen.  This is probably one of the most glaring examples of a breakdown in communications between the many city departments and agencies.


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. M says:

    Seeing who the players involved are, I would say much less to do with lack of communication within the city and much more to do with several palms being greased………………but let’s blame the city for everything.

  2. M says:

    Edit…….regarding blaming the city…….not that we can’t be p**sed that the folks who allowed this are indeed running our city and development. I just meant to say that lack of communication within city hall probably isn’t the culprit here.

  3. Jerry says:

    “This is probably one of the most glaring examples of a breakdown in communications between the many city departments and agencies.”

    No. Just another example of Sam Glasser & Dave Jump putting profit ahead of everything.

  4. john says:

    A truism about government is that “it never appoints anyone who knows what they’re doing”. True about MOdot, Metro and the agencies responsible for building/zoning throughout the StL region. The over-expanded units of government has created a pool of undertrained/poorly supervised staffs. If these agencies were managed like a business (ie. sensitive to the needs/demands of consumers and regulations), a “For Sale CHEAP” due to foreclosure will be out front.

  5. samizdat says:

    ^^^Oh, I don’t know about that. I’ve worked for afew companies that were run right into the ground. For-profit companies. I believe that making the case that government is always incompetently managed is a bit erroneous. Seems to me the current crises in the financial markets don’t lend themselves well to the defense of your argument,. Not to mention the failure of for-profit companies to protect their employees and the citizens surrounding the plant from workplace and environmental hazards. I could probably name a few right off the top of my head, but there would be hundreds more, with a little research, which would indicate that the business v. horrible guvmint argument will fall flat on its face. Good management is good management. Whether it winds up at the head of a non-profit or GE is purely a matter of luck. It’s quite obvious, as well, that paying some mook many hundreds of times more than the lowest-paid worker won’t necessarily guarantee good on the job performance. I will grant you, however, that the current management of City, MO state, and Bush fed leave much to be desired. This was not always so. I think that two of the most important hallmarks of good management is working with what you have and planning for a future in which you can have the luxury of planning with more. Conversely, managing your way through the lean times will earn you points in my book. When cities are doing well and the tax revenue is coming in no really notices the stupidity that goes on because the joint is flush with cash. The same goes for a corporation. Besides, how well does any corporation perform with regards to customer service these days. That’s always a fairly good indicator of the companies’ health and commitment to its’ future.

  6. Frodo says:

    While I think the city has some blame due to the lack of communication or at least cross-checking among the various departments, the truth of the matter is that developers were the ones intent on bypassing law and safety requirements to make a buck…not the city officials. The violations of the building code are obvious (condensors in an egress stair…are you joking?) and could hardly be chalked up to incompetence or ignorance. The blame and repercussions should fall squarely on the shoulders of Jump and Glasser.


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