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New Senior Housing A Bright Spot In East Saint Louis

Like every municipality, East Saint Louis Illinois has had ups and downs, unfortunately, the downs have far outnumbered the ups.  A project is nearing completion now that’ll be a big up, building on other ups (MetroLink light rail, new housing at Emerson Park station) of the last 10-12 years. Jazz at Walter Circle is a green modern transit-oriented senior housing development:

The public-private partnership that financed Jazz @ Walter Circle breaks new ground in closing funding gaps for affordable housing. For the first time, the deal integrates HUD mixed-finance development regulations with NMTC multiuse regulations. Public actors such as the East St. Louis Housing Authority (ESLHA), the city of East St. Louis, the state of Illinois, and HUD collaborated with project developer and owner Eco Jazz, Inc.; the national real estate firm Dudley Ventures; the NMTC firm Hampton Roads Ventures; and a not-for-profit affiliate of the ESLHA to reach a deal. In addition to residential space, Jazz @ Walter Circle will house a community center, office and retail space, a grocery store, and community gardens. The project will be the first LEED Gold certified building in East St. Louis, where 35 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty level.(HUD)

LEED Gold in East St. Louis? Yep! Not only is it green, it is architecturally attractive and has good urban form.

Jazz @ Walter Circle
Jazz @ Walter Circle nearing completion, adjacent to the Emerson Park MetroLink Station in East Saint Louis IL.
Both sides of 15th Street are getting redone
Curbs & sidewalks on both sides of 15th Street are getting redone
The south end near the station includes a public clock

I’ll do a full review once the ribbon has been cut, but so far I’m pretty impressed.

 — Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Agree, it looks good, and I hope it succeeds. My two concerns are will all the storefronts be filled and when will we get past the point where every decent urban project *around here* requires a massive public subsidy? Here, the housing will be subsidized, the retail will be subsidized and the transit is already subsidized. We simply can’t continue down a road where stuff doesn’t start to pay its own way . . . .

     
    • Everything is subsidized. You think St. Charles County wouldn’t have grown without massive federal, state & local highway subsidies? The Page Ave Extension wasn’t free…

       
      • JZ71 says:

        No the Page Extension wasn’t free, it was paid for by taxpayers, many of whom are also using it. If low-income seniors will be occupying the housing here, I doubt that they will be paying much in the way of taxes. And I get it, taxes are all about income redistribution. My point is that many working-class taxpayers have had to make compromises (on both price and location) to afford the location they’re currently living in. Now, they are expected to pay taxes to create something that is substantially nicer than where they currently live, yet they probably will have no opportunity to live there!

         
  2. moe says:

    Interesting that it is in East St. Louis of all the locations available in the metro area. On one hand I think that this is extreme overkill and a waste of tax dollars. On the other hand, if any place needs a nuclear bomb push to improve it’s East St. Louis. In some ways this will be a great reward for those that have survived the war zone for most of their lives. But really…why should they have to get old to enjoy such things? Will this give the leaders (elected and community) the motivation to finally strive to improve or will this be like the other projects in a few years: boarded up windows, broken units, etc? I truly, truly hope so, but only time will tell.

     
    • The Emerson Park station opened in 2001 and housing has been added around it since, all still very nice.

       
      • moe says:

        But look at the projects on and around Route 15 and Missouri…Rehabbed numerous times in the past 40 years…all to just repeat the cycle over and over. The new school isn’t holding up very well either. Well I don’t begrudge the people, I have extremely low faith in the administration of East St. Louis. 10 years is about par…..what’s it going to be in the next 10? There are definite cyclical problems in East St Louis that must be addressed. All the housing in the world isn’t going to stop it, it’s just masking it.

         

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