Archive for September, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finish Line in Sight for Mullanphy Stabilization!

First, a reminder about the meeting Tuesday evening regarding the progress at Crown Square and information about job training and readiness assistance for job-seekers and prospective employers. Take a look at our blog post from this past Friday for more details.

Now, for an update on the progress at Mullanphy: Thanks to another infusion of funds from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s general revenue, our construction crews from E.M. Harris are almost finished with sealing up all openings at the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building — for the first time in nearly two-and-a-half years!

Above: the windows along the block wall at the south end have been boarded to keep the elements out; face brick will be added later as funding allows. Above: the opening at the north end of the building that was created by the second storm to hit the building is just about closed up now.

We still have a way to go with the full stabilization, but getting the building buttoned up before the onset of winter weather is a huge achievement - and made possible by the generosity of many. You can help us cover these costs, pay off some loans, and keep us moving toward full stabilization by making a financial contribution to Mullanphy Emigrant Home LLC (click on the “Make a Donation” button along the right side of this site).

You can also help support the cause & spread the word at the same time by purchasing your own “Save Mullanphy” t-shirt for just $15. To find out how you can get one of these shirts for yourself, your family, friends, or colleagues, stop by the ONSLRG office or give us a call at 314-241-5031.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Growing Buzz About Crown Square

If you’d like to learn more about the progress being achieved at the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Mall, please come on out next Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. (see below for details).One of the reasons for holding the meeting on Tuesday is to encourage neighborhood residents to sign up with SLATE so that they can be on the job referral list when new Crown Square businesses start hiring. SLATE will have representatives on hand to explain the training and job readiness programming that they can offer to prospective employees and for prospective businesses looking for workers. With some of these prospects getting very serious about signing a lease, we want to make sure that everybody is aware of the incentives and support available. At the same time, we want to offer the community a chance to get an update on how the 27-building development is progressing. Consequently, the meeting will take place in one of the commercial spaces nearing completion, the old Parks Drug Store building at 2718 N. 14th Street.

Even though that space isn’t quite ready yet, we already hosted an event there on Sept. 16 when an organization called Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) held a lunch program that featured a presentation on Crown Square.
With approximately 130 attendees enjoying the lunch, guest speakers Stephen Acree of RHCDA and Sean Thomas of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group discussed how the Crown Square project came about and how it fits into the comprehensive revitalization in progress throughout Old North.Meanwhile, we’ve been keeping busy providing a lot of tours of the development for a wide range of interested parties. Last week, we hosted a visit by Pete Ramsel, Executive Director of the Missouri Housing Development Commission, State Senator Joan Bray, and State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford. Among other recent visitors were groups from Crossroads School, Enterprise Community Partners, the Lawrence Group, Mackey Mitchell Architects, and the Society of Design Administrators.
Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Day of Hope and a New Challenge

Saturday was a day full of mixed emotions, from the energy and excitement of prospective rehabbers at ONSLRG’s Rehabbers and Developers Fair to the sadness and frustration upon learning that a serious fire was consuming the core of the former 4th Baptist Church building on Sullivan & N. 13th Street. By the end of the day, we were reminded that Old North is now enjoying a tremendous rebirth precisely because the community continues to attract new waves of people from far and wide, reflecting diverse backgrounds and different walks of life but sharing a desire to take on something that others had given up on and possessing a vision to make it their own. And as many long-time residents and newcomers alike have expressed to us, what they love about ONSL is the strong sense of community - and the type of warmth, generosity and kindness expressed during difficult times. All of that was evident on Saturday.

Despite the troubles in the real estate and financial markets well beyond Old North, the Rehabbers and Developers Fair still attracted a healthy attendance and a good amount of interest from many who couldn’t make it on Saturday. The attendees received a welcome from ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa (in the photo at right), who shared some of the reasons why he is happy to be a resident of ONSL. Other speakers included Laura Costello, director of real estate for the St. Louis Development Corp., who discussed the process for acquiring LRA properties in Old North; Rick Horn (in the photo at the top of this post), who described how a 203k purchase-rehab loan works; Judy McDaniels from Lead Safe St. Louis; and developer/contractor Kevin Dickherber, who completed a rehab project in ONSL after attending our Developers Fair in 2005.
After all of the talking, attendees took a short walking tour to see some of the LRA properties available in Old North. Along the way, two of ONSL’s recent purchasers of LRA property, Viveca & Graham (seen below), opened up the formerly vacant garage that they are transforming into their home and Graham’s sculpture studio.
If you want to learn more about what was discussed at Saturday’s program or to pick up some of the materials distributed there, contact Real Estate Development Coordinator Karen Heet at the ONSLRG office (314-241-5031) or via email:
4th Baptist Church Building Fire
Meanwhile, we expect to find out more this week about the extent of the damage to the 4th Baptist Church building. As of Sunday evening, most of the exterior walls were still standing, but much of the inside was completely destroyed. Neighbors and members of the congregation rushed to the scene but could only watch as firefighters attempted to bring the fire under control and keep it from spreading to nearby buildings. The congregation has not used the church building for several years now because the costs of the buildings repairs and maintenance were beyond the budget of the 4th Baptist community. Nevertheless, Pastor Richard Taylor, his family, and members of the congregation continued to hold out hope that they would find a way to preserve and restore the buildiing to its former glory. The fire on Saturday dealt a severe blow to those hopes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rehabbers & Developers Fair THIS SATURDAY, Sept. 20

Come find out how you or your favorite rehabber can get started on a rehab project in Old North! This Saturday, ONSLRG will host our second Old North St. Louis - LRA Rehabbers’ Fair from 9 a.m. - 12 noon.

The event will focus on acquiring and developing property currently owned by the City’s Land Reutilization Authority and located in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood . Please note that Saturday’s program will NOT be held at ONSLRG’s office but at 1400 North Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63106. (Click on this address for a link to a Mapquest map of the location and the option of getting directions to that address from any other location.) The site of Saturday’s program was once a vacant and burned-out LRA property that was rehabbed in 2006.

On Saturday, you will be able to learn:
▪ How to purchase property from LRA;
▪ What loan products are available for gut renovations;
▪ The financial incentives to renovating LRA properties in Old North;
▪ The lessons learned from people who have gone through – or are in the midst of - the process;
▪ Which LRA property is available in Old North.

A tour of some available LRA properties will conclude the Fair. All attendees will receive a packet including a map of the neighborhood, a list of available LRA properties, the forms necessary for submitting an offer for LRA properties, and more.

Seating is limited, so please RSVP to Karen Heet, Real Estate Development Coordinator, at 314-241-5031 or by Wednesday, September 17th.

We want to ensure that we’ll have enough copiesof the handouts, so contact Karen soon to let her know you’ll be coming.Just last month, the LRA Commission approved extending an option to rehabbers who will be taking on the buildings above, at 1946 and 1948-50 Palm. Meanwhile, the former LRA building below on N. 19th Street is partially occupied and well on its way to completion.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crown Square Progress Photo of the Week

A recent view of Crown Square on a drizzly September evening.


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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