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Affordable Housing In Granite City, IL

October 30, 2010 Metro East, Real Estate 6 Comments

Eight new homes were recently completed on infill lots to the east of downtown Granite City, IL.


Assistance was provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The homes were developed by Justine PETERSEN.


ABOVE: Master bathroom in one of the accessible house

The one-story house I toured was very basic, a good home for someone needing an accessible residence.  Granite City, IL still needs to work on sidewalks and curb ramps so that a disabled resident living in one of these houses could reach the grocery store, bank, post office, bus transfer station and so on.

ABOVE: Washington Ave in Granite City where some of the homes were built
The two-story homes on North Lincoln have impressive detailing, especially for affordable housing

The model Justine PETERSON is using for the houses is interesting, an affordable rent-to-buy arrangement.

  • Those eligible must be below 80% of the median income.
  • Rent is $595.
  • The current value of the homes is $150,000; after the 15-year rental tenure, the tenant pays 60% of the market value of the home at that juncture.

– Steve Patterson


Loft apartments going into midtown buildings once targeted for razing

June 19, 2010 Midtown, Real Estate, SLU 7 Comments

A few years ago Saint Louis University (SLU) wanted to raze many buildings they had purchased in midtown near their main campus to construct a new arena.  After the objections of many (and a few lawsuits the arena plans were shifted to another campus adjacent location.  SLU did raze one building on Locust for a parking lot (view prior post) but others remained.  The area is emerging with restaurants, lofts, shops and clubs so the decision to put loft apartments into two structures is welcomed news.

These two buildings are being transformed into the West Locust Lofts:

“West Locust Lofts is located in Midtown Saint Louis, one block north of Saint Louis University. With 12,000 theatre seats within four blocks, 12 galleries and museums and over 1500 cultural events with 1.3 million visitors each year, this Saint Louis neighborhood is unique in the country.”

Not so sure about the unique part, many universities are in vibrant urban areas.

– Steve Patterson


Work on Dick Gregory Place Apartments well underway

The other day I was driving in and around the Ville neighborhood and I spotted work on the Dick Gregory Place Apartments:

ABOVE: New construction at the corner of Aldine Ave & Marcus Ave

This project was one of a handful of projects that got the go ahead with help from federal stimulus funds used by Missouri to provide gap funding:

“$7,875,000 for the Dick Gregory Place Apartments, located in the 1500 to 1900 blocks of Dick Gregory Place, the 4600 block of Aldine, and the 4600 block of Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis. The project is being developed by two community organizations – Northside Community Housing Inc. and the Greater Ville Neighborhood Preservation Commission. The development will have a mix of 40 newly constructed and renovated units.”  (Source: Stimulus boosts eight projects for $18 million – St. Louis Business Journal)

The project includes both new construction and renovations of existing structures.  I’m thrilled to see two buildings included:

ABOVE: Building at corner of MLK and Marcus Ave, May 2010

The above building on the NE corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Dr and Marcus Ave. is among my favorites in the city. The buff brick, overall massing, the arched openings onto Marcus & MLK and the 2nd floor bay window are features that make it a winner.  I’ve been following it for a while.

ABOVE: MLK & Marcus, January 2009
April 2006
ABOVE: MLK & Marcus in April 2006

In the far right of the above picture you can see the other building I’m fond of.

ABOVE: May 2010
January 2009
ABOVE: January 2009
April 2006
ABOVE: April 2006

Both of these structures have come very close to being razed, especially in the last few years.  The impact of this project will be outstanding for the area — both in utilizing vacant structures and filling in holes where other structures had been razed.

– Steve Patterson


The future of the Alverne?

ABOVE: Fire equiment blocked parts of Locust, 11th and Olive on Monday 5/24/2010
ABOVE: Fire equiment blocked parts of Locust, 11th and Olive on Monday 5/24/2010 as crews put out a 3-alarm fire in the Alverne (left)

The long-vacant Alverne at the SE corner of 11th & Locust had a fire on Monday:

“Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire at an old downtown hotel building Monday evening.

Heavy black smoke billowed from the 15-story, building at the corner of 11th and Locust streets. Several streets in the area of the fire were shut down for hoses and equipment.” (KMOV)

Reports indicate the fire started in the basement and spread to the first floor.  From the exterior you can’t really tell except for the plywood over the doors and windows and the new fire smell.

My question is what does the future hold for this building?  During the height of the loft boom this building was not rehabbed.  But first a bit of history:

“Originally home to a progressive social club, then the Desoto Hotel after 1933. It was then home to a convent for many years, then a seniors residence. The building has lost virtually every bit of its original ornament; however, with the coming of the convent, it gained a stylized 1960s street level facade.” (Source: Built St. Louis)

Reasons for not being rehabbed are numerous:.

“The small windows on the building’s north and west elevations most likely negatively affect its conduciveness for use as an office building, but the building would work well as apartments or a hotel. It has two ballrooms, including one on the top floor that features some amazing views of the city. Its ground floor is ideal for retail or a restaurant.” (source: Downtown St. Louis Business)

I’ve heard greedy owners and a small floor plate as well.  But if we look at an aerial image:

Aerial view of Louderman (left) & Alverne (right)
Aerial view of Louderman (left) & Alverne (right)

We see the Alverne (right) appears to have larger floors than the Louderman (left).  The Louderman has both lofts and offices (lower floors).  Perhaps the location of the stairs and elevator shaft make arranging residential spaces difficult?  I hope someone can find a way to reuse the building.  It is better as a vacant building than as a vacant lot.

– Steve Patterson


Walkable environs still seeing investment

The economy tanked and work stopped.  New strip centers on the suburban fringe are not getting built and many that exist are quite vacant.  But in older established areas we are seeing individual buildings and spaces within buildings get renovated.

It has been a joy watching crews working to renovate the interior and exterior of this building on Washington Ave.  The detailing around the openings on the ground level had been badly damaged over the years but they are repairing it.  The big projects are on hold but the small projects are so much more exciting to me.

– Steve Patterson