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Friday, September 1, 2006

Coming Soon:
A Miracle on 14th Street

This past Tuesday evening a good mix of ONSL’s diverse population filled the seats at the fellowship hall of True Gospel Temple to hear about plans for transforming the 14th Street Mall into the type of “town center” that every neighborhood is going to wish it had. It’s been a long time coming, but the new plans represent a fulfillment of a community vision that has been taking shape over many years.

On March 26, 1977, the 14th Street Mall was formally dedicated as a pedestrian mall with great fanfare and high ambitions of reviving the declining commercial district. Unfortunately, the plan failed miserably. What once was a thriving and well-loved commercial corridor became a ghost town of vacant, deteriorating buildings. Over the past twenty-plus years, residents of Old North St. Louis have contributed huge amounts of time and thought to numerous meetings and visioning sessions to create a redevelopment plan for the failed mall.

All of these plans got nowhere, however, due to a lack of site control. Too much of the mall has been owned by too many separate owners to get anything accomplished — and nobody had the funds to acquire the properties.

Now, all of that has changed. After more than a year-and-a-half’s worth of negotiations and property acquisitions, we finally can talk about this major development that will shape the direction of Old North St. Louis for generations to come. Because we’ve been inundated by predatory property speculators, we didn’t want to draw any more attention to this neighborhood while we were in the midst of delicate discussions with property owners along and adjacent to the 14th Street pedestrian mall. But on Tuesday, August 29th, we announced to the community that their hopes and dreams for the 14th Street Mall are really going to come true.
Sitting side-by-side were long-time residents and some of the 25 families who have moved into new homes and apartments along North Market and Monroe over the past 9 months. The main message of the meeting was that the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has established a partnership with the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (RHCDA) to bring a mixed-use development to the mall. The street will be re-opened and more than 20 historic buildings along and adjacent to the mall will be rehabbed for a mix of residential, commercial, and retail uses. We’re still early in the process and expect to close on the financing in the spring of 2007 and construction to start shortly afterward. More details will be announced as the planning progresses.

–posted by Sean Thomas

This entry was posted on Friday, September 1st, 2006 at 1:08 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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WHAT'S NEW IN OLD NORTH

Welcome to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group's blog. What's New in Old North chronicles the dramatic transformation under way in the neighborhood of Old North St. Louis. As a neighborhood just north of Downtown St. Louis, Old North is becoming a dynamic urban village of new and historic homes, a landmark eating establishment, beautiful community gardens, and a diverse, friendly, and engaged community.

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