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Last Blumeyer High Rise Tower Coming Down

Now that residents of the last tower at the former Blumeyer public housing project have been relocated, see New Phases of North Sarah Apartments, Buildings on Vandeventer, the balding is being razed.

The last Blumeyer tower being razed
The last Blumeyer tower being razed, demolition started on October 23rd
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3501 Franklin in March 2012
Blumeyer Elderly Apartments, January 2007
Most of the Blumeyer towers were razed years ago, photo from January 2007

A 2011 article says the site will become “green space.”  I doubt it’ll be quality park space, just a green-ish rectangle.

— Steve Patterson

 

Housing For Homeless Veterans Nearing Completion At 4011 Delmar

I February 2010 I posted I would live at 4005 Delmar, then a vacant & boarded building, I was dreaming of it being renovated.

Boarded storefronts at sidewalk level
Boarded storefronts at sidewalk level, February 2010

The building at 4005-4011 Delmar has since attracted the attention of a developer, who also dreams:

We believe being a dreamer is every bit as important as being a do’er. In our personal and our professional lives, the members of The Vecino Group are dedicated to imagining a better world and then working to make it happen. 

I too agree it is important to dream, I’ve shared mine here for over 9 years.

Last year:

A housing developer from Springfield, Mo., has embarked on a $12.7 million project to renovate the building as 68 affordable apartments for homeless vets. The five-story building, at 4011 Delmar Boulevard, is in the city’s Vandeventer neighborhood, about three blocks from the John Cochran VA Medical Center.

Plans call for the building, named Freedom Place by the developer, to be redone as 20 studio apartments, 24 one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units. Monthly rents are scheduled to range from $369 to $640. (stltoday)

According to city records, the building had 100 one-bedroom apartments and three “other” units. Hopefully the new mix of units will work well.

I pass by this project on the #97 MetroBus, but recently I was in the area photographing for my post on the North Sarah Apartments so I got a closer look at the progress.

New windows greatly improve the appearance
New windows greatly improve the appearance

I’m curious to see how the ground-level will be used. Will a neighborhood coffeehouse be able to open?  A small local market perhaps? The area desperately needs economic activity to create jobs for the veterans that will live here, as well as others.

Directly across the street a 1945 commercial building is vacant. With its side parking lot this could be a good market.
Directly across the street a 1945 commercial building is vacant. With its side parking lot this could be a good market for the area.
At 4035 the later commercial store front in from of a 19th century house has collapsed.
At 4035 a commercial storefront  addition in from of a 19th century house has collapsed.

Housing for these vets is huge, but we must also finds ways to rebuild the local economic base to create jobs. One local effort is Bridge Bread:

Bridge Bread is a social entrepreneurship initiative designed to provide job opportunities for guests of The Bridge. The goal of the initiative is to help disadvantaged guests engage in a financially rewarding effort that enhances self-worth, promotes dignity and enables the guests to help themselves.

It takes much more than a shelter cot to rebuild the lives of the homeless. Kudos to the people behind The Vecino Group!

— Steve Patterson

 

New Phases of North Sarah Apartments, Buildings on Vandeventer

In June 2012 I posted about Excellent Urban Infill: North Sarah Apartments By McCormack Baron Salazar. Since then the project has expanded, across Sarah to the west, and at Vandeventer, to the east. The ribbon cutting on the new phase was Friday afternoon, but I visited Wednesday.

New construction on the west side of Sarah (right) gives an urban feel missing in the original only on the east side of Sarah.
New construction on the west side of Sarah (right) gives an urban feel missing in the original only on the east side of Sarah. The #42 (Sarah) MetroBus line is popular.
Some of the original live/work units have businesses in them. Not a busy retail street, but a start. The new building on the west side of Sarah also features live/work units.
Some of the original live/work units have businesses in them. Not a busy retail street, but a start. The new building on the west side of Sarah also features live/work units. In time I hope we’ll see more than closed blinds…
When I was here in 2012 the landscaping wasn't complete. These rain gardens will be problematic with grass instead of perennials
When I was here in 2012 the landscaping wasn’t complete. These rain gardens will be problematic with grass instead of perennials.

In 2012 I noted the rough surface of the impervious concrete sidewalks. They’ve not held up well, they’re even rougher, broken, etc. Pervious concrete works well for parking areas, but not for public sidewalks. I mentioned this to city officials after I experienced it in 2012, it wasn’t used again for recent sidewalks at this project. I returned to the area because I’d been seeing construction on North Vandeventer as I crossed on the #97 Delmar bus. I waited until I thought the work was complete.

Heading north on Vandeventer from Delmar, the new buildings are visible in the background,
Heading north on Vandeventer from Delmar, the new buildings are visible in the background, an Urban League building on the left looks out of place now.
Here 3-story buildings were used at Vandeventer & CD Banks Ave
Here 3-story buildings were used at Vandeventer & CD Banks Ave, click image for map

Two blocks of urban buildings on one side of Vandeventer is a start, but the corridor needs more of this. Unfortunately, due to a lack of coordinated planning, it seems unlikely even in the next 15-20 years. The church across the street was built in 2000, the car wash in 1981, the Urban League in 1990. In the block to the north is a single-story building set back behind parking built in 2009.

The Urban League at 965 N. Vandeventer was built in 1990
The Urban League at 965 N. Vandeventer was built in 1990
The car wash at 1036 N. Vandeventer was built in 1981
The car wash at 1036 N. Vandeventer was built in 1981

Without a corridor plan to guide development, North Vandeventer will remain a hodgepodge. In time more phases will fill in the area between Vandeventer and Sarah. They’ll likely remain a nice island unless groups come together to plan how Sarah & Vandeventer should look & feel in the coming decades.

— Steve Patterson

 

Unfinished Business

There’s a building on West Florissant Ave, across from the entrance to Calvary Cemetary, that has intrigued me for years. A former gas station with a large unfinished 2-story addition, city records show the original was built in 1971 but no indication when the addition was started.

5250 W. Florissant back in late April
5250 W. Florissant back in late April 2014, click image for map link
A few days ago
A few days ago

It’s always looked vacant to me, but the other day I noticed someone entering or exiting the building as I passed by on the #74 MetroBus. The building is owned by a husband & wife, both lawyers, they’re also part of the ownership of the package liquor store inside. The property was previously part of the 1st ward, but became part of the 3rd ward after the last redistricting. I looked at aerial images on HistoricAerials.com, the addition existed in 1998 — 16 years ago. I don’t recall a time before the addition, I moved to St. Louis in 1990. I can’t believe how long this has been like this, how much could it cost to put some vinyl siding over the plywood sheathing? — Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Businessman Paul J. Wielandy Born 150 Years Ago Today

June 5, 2014 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, North City Comments Off on St. Louis Businessman Paul J. Wielandy Born 150 Years Ago Today

You’re asking yourself, “Who was Paul Wielandy?” The 1906 book titled “The Book of St. Louisans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of St. Louis and Vicinity” tells us about Paul J. Wielandy:

WIELANDY, Paul J., books and stationary; born Jefferson City, Mo., June 5, 1864; son of John F. and Junigunde (Wagner) Wielandy; educated in St. Louis public schools; married, St. Louis, June 28, 1904, Louise Angermueller. Entered employ of Shorb & Boland, wholesale booksellers and stationers, 1879; travelled for John L. Boland, successor of Shorb & Boland, in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. 1884-1901; in Jan., 1902, with A. M. Blackwell, of Las Vegas, N. M., organized the Blackwell-Wielandy Book and Stationary Co., of St. Louis, Mo., importers of jobbers of books, stationary, fancy goods, etc., of which is vice-president. Republican. Protestant. 32º Mason. Knight Templar. Club: Mercantile. Favorite recreations: fishing and hunting. Office: 714-720 Washington Ave. Residence: 2928 Harper St.   (pages 610-611)

His business address of 714-720 Washington Ave is now the site of the US Bank Tower, formerly Mercantile Bank. In 1907, the firm Wielandy used to work for, built a new warehouse at 1601 Locust:

In 1910, the Boland company was acquired by the Blackwell-Wielandy Book & Stationery Company which moved into the 16th and Locust building from their head quarters at 714-20 Washington Avenue. One of the founders of Blackwell-Wielandy, St. Louisan Paul J. Wielandy, formerly had been employed for twenty years as a sales man for Boland. During his pioneering years as Boland’s representative in the Southwest, Wielandy met Missouri-born Arthur M. Blackwell who by then, was a successful merchant and bank director in New Mexico. In 1901, the two men returned to St. Louis where they established the firm bearing their names. Among the innovative new products first manufactured by Blackwell-Wielandy around 1912 were an adjustable ring device for loose leaf notebooks and the Blue Jay writing tablet — both popular items with the school trade. The Blue Jay brand was later extended to other supplies such as ink, crayons, paste aid composition and notebooks. (source)

Let’s take a look:

Designed by  Designed by St. Louis architect Albert B. Groves, March 1983 photo from nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, click to view
Designed by Designed by St. Louis architect Albert B. Groves, March 1983 photo from nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, click to view
Entry to Blackwell-Wielandy
Entry to 1601 Locust St, Blackwell-Wielandy’s office & warehouse
1601 Locust is a privately-owned surface parking lot next to Printers Lofts (1611 Locust). Loftworks had planned new construction to attach to Printers.
Sadly, 1601 Locust burned in a suspicious fire, was razed in 1988, has been surface parking ever since.

The building with the red wall, above, was built in 1919 as an annex to their original building. Within the last decade the annex was converted to condos, I’ve lived here since November 2007.  The original was wood framed, the annex has a concrete interior structure.

In 1906 Wielandy lived in North St. Louis at 2928 Harper St.
In 1906 Wielandy lived in North St. Louis at 2928 Harper St.

Paul J. Wielandy died on March 4, 1953, two months before his 89th birthday (death certificate), he’s buried at Saint Peter’s Cemetery in Normandy (find-a-grave entry).  According to the bio he was “a director of the Municipal Opera Association & of the St. Louis Safety Council & was a member of the first Highway Commission.”  I need to research when Jefferson Ave was straightened out, widened, and connected to Natural Bridge, just blocks from Wielandy’s home, no doubt he supported the idea, making his drive to work on Locust St easier.

— Steve Patterson

 

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