Home » Events/Meetings » Recent Articles:

Preservation Board To Decide Fate of San Luis Today (Updated)

St. Louis’ Preservation Board will, later today, hear a request by the St. Louis Archdiocese to raze the San Luis.  Built as the DeVille Motor Hotel in the early 1960s, the Archdiocese wants parking rather than a hotel or apartments.  I’m not a fan of the building, but even vacant it is preferable to a parking lot.

The Archdiocese must demonstrate that it is not feasible to rehab the structure. Most likely they will present information to this effect.  The full criteria is in the City’s report to the Preservation Board.  Opponents of the demolition need to stick to the established criteria in the applicable ordinances.

The Preservation Board meeting is scheduled to start at 4pm today (6/22/2009) at 1015 Locust Suite 1200.  This item is the 5th on the agenda.  Those wishing to address the Preservation Board must arrive early and sign in.  I have a presentation in class tonight so I will not be able to attend.  I may stop by after class.

If I were a gambling man I’d say they vote to permit demolition.  It somewhat depends upon which members are absent from the meeting.

– Steve Patterson

Update 6/22/2009 @ 10:30pm — The Preservation Board tonight just before 10pm voted 3-2 to grant preliminary approval to the demolition and construction of a surface parking lot.  I’ve never felt any passion for the building but I do feel strongly against surface parking at this location.  In the end it came down to the fact the Archdioses refused to consider anything other than what they wanted.  I would have denied their request — eventually they would be willing to compromise — getting the parking they want in a renovated & occupuied building.


St. Louis’ Juneteenth Celebration in Fountain Park June 19-21

June 19, 2009 Events/Meetings 3 Comments

St. Louis was sympathetic to the Union but slaves were bought & sold in St. Louis in the 19th Century.  Humans being treated as property.  Beyond me how slavery ever existed in a “civilized” society.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.  (Source: juneteenth.com)

History buffs will correctly note that the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863:

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. (Source: Wikipedia)

So two and a half years later troops enforced the proclamation.  In St. Louis the celebration will take place in Fountain Park (map):

June 19-21, 2009 – Neighbors of Fountain Park Association – will celebrate its third annual Juneteenth Community Awareness Event As Neighbors of Fountain Park Association our mission is to empower, educate and promote healthy living by connecting the community to resources. the weekend is dedicated to making a difference in the community. The Event will host live music, guest speakers,children activities, free food, community education resources, voter registration and much more…
Location: Fountain Park St. Louis, Missouri
Dates: Friday June 19th 3:00p.m.-9:00p.m
Saturday June 20th 9:00a.m.-9:00p.m.
Sunday June 21st 10:30a.m.-8:00p.m.
Activities: games, face painting, entertainments groups, and guest speakers.

I’m going to stop by on my way to the screening of scenes from the upcoming documentary on Pruitt-Igoe (see post).

– Steve Patterson


Screening of Select Scenes from Documentary Film on Pruitt-Igoe

Saturday June 20th scenes from the still in-production documentary film on Pruitt-Igoe will be screened.


The 33 buildings known as Pruitt-Igoe only stood for two decades. The bulk of the site has been vacant now nearly twice as long.

Here is a short clip from a 1981 program entitled Trouble in Utopia:


Pruitt-Igoe’s architect was Minoru Yamasaki.  Yamasaki is best known for the World Trade Center project that was destroyed on 9/11/2001.

The scrrening location is the Des Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park at 5700 Lindell Blvd (map).  Bike parking is presumably available and access is easy from the Forest Park MetroLink light rail stop.

– Steve Patterson


St. Louis’ 22nd Street Interchange Part of McKee’s Plan

I’ll have a full report next week on McEagle Developments vision for North St. Louis but I wanted to put out one tidbit today.  They indicated a desire to create four job centers where large companies could relocate.  One of the four is currently the site of a highway interchange for a highway that was never built, the 22nd street interchange for the 22nd street parkway that was to go around the West edge of downtown.  That was the vision in the early 20th Century.  The highway has been dead for years but the interchange at I-64/highway 40 exists.  I fully support reclaiming this land.  I talked about the idea several years ago when reviewing ideas for the West end of the Gateway Mall.  I last blogged about the idea in December 2008 in the post MoDOT Needs To Put The 22nd Street Interchange On Any Wish List For Funding.  So go back and read that post & comments again so you’ll be up to speed when I mention it again next week as part of my review of Paul McKee’s plan for St. Louis’ North Side.


Controversial “Blairmont” Project to be Revealed Tonight

Tonight we expect politically connected developer Paul McKee, of McEagle Development, to publicly unveil the controversial development project nicknamed “Blairmont.”

The project got this name after one of the early holding companies used to acquire properties, Blairmont Associates LLC.

Here is a video that explains Blairmont:

Another source of info on Blairmont is a January 2007 RFT article.

Out of the controversy came an August 2007 bus tour of McKee’s properties.  Here is 5th Ward Alderman April Ford Griffin:

The next month the meetings continued.  Here is 19th Ward Alderman Marlene Davis:

I got involved by asking a question of Alderman April Ford Griffin.  Griffin is the chair of the Neighborhood Development committee at the Board of Aldermen.  She has a warped view of zoning.  Rather than have excellent zoning that codifies the community vision, she likes outdated zoning so developers must come to her.  The video starts out rough but gets better:

Congressman Clay talks about a hearing held at city hall with a reference to the 1970s Team Four plan that called for reducing services in parts of the city:


Here is a summary of the infamous Team Four plan:

This document contains the technical memorandum that was submitted to the Plan Commission by Team Four, Inc. in 1975. This memorandum proposed public policy guidelines and strategies for implementing the Draft Comprehensive Plan that was prepared by others. It offered a series of considerations concerning the process of adopting, staging, budgeting and ultimately implementing the Draft Comprehensive Plan. In addition, this document contains a preface dated 1976 that attempts to clean up any inconsistencies and or controversies surrounding the proposed implementation strategies and a bibliography or annotated listing of Technical Memoranda and Appendixes. Part I of this document focused on strategies for three generic area types: conservation, redevelopment, and depletion areas; and Part II of this document discussed major urban issues and their solutions.

Today “shrinking cities” are studied and various techniques are debated.  In the 70s in St. Louis the Team Four plan was seen as a racist plot to deny services to a minority population.  We know more today about how to adjust to shrinking populations.

Tonight we will see another, a huge heavily subsidized redevelopment plan.  Many are opposed simply based on the history of the project to date.  I for one plan to go with an open mind. I have reservations about both the developer and the political leadership.  Griffin’s view on the role of zoning doesn’t give me a lot of hope for what may be presented in pretty artist renderings actually being completed as promised.  A good framework of a zoning code can help ensure the promised vision develops into reality.

Tonight’s meeting starts at  7pm at Central Baptist Church Education Building 2843 Washington Ave (Google Map).  I’ll be there and will report on the presentation next week.