Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heidi & Ben: Another Old North Success Story in Progress

Above: Heidi & Ben Sever along with Nate & Kathy Sprehe at the Sept. 30 Crown Square meeting.

If you ever start losing faith in the prospects of revitalization in places like Old North St. Louis, just strike up a conversation with some of the people who are in the midst of establishing a new home in Old North. The passion, energy, and vision of these folks will remind you why Old North continues to attract creative people who are willing to roll up their sleeves to make something really cool and restore the beauty to long-neglected properties.

Case in point: Heidi & Ben Sever, who will be moving into Old North from Webster Groves when they finish rehabbing a historic building in the northwest corner of ONSL. Ben is an attorney, and Heidi is a stockbroker-turned glass beadmaker and jewelry designer (check out her handmade glass beads and jewelry by clicking HERE). Just over a month ago, the Severs closed on their purchase of a vacant shell that had been a problem property for at least a dozen years and sitting in the city’s inventory of Land Reutilization Agency (LRA)-owned properties for the past seven years.

If you don’t get a chance to meet them or see the building they’re rehabbing in person, you can visit the Severs’ website, to gain some insights into who they are and some images of their phenomenal rehab project on N. 19th Street. In addition to sharing their experiences and lessons learned in the process of bringing a forsaken piece of real estate back to life, Heidi puts in some nice plugs for the neighborhood (”You have got to check out this community!”) and their new neighbors:
On that work day alone, 12, yes TWELVE! (I counted each one) different neighbors came over to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. Seven of them, yes, 7!!!, stayed an hour to several hours working right along with us doing demolition and trash removal. Yucky, tiring, dirty work. What a way to say ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’!

Long before their home is ready for occupancy, Heidi and Ben have established themselves as good neighbors, as well. They come out to neighborhood meetings and help out at neighborhood clean-ups (see Ben below helping clear a vacant lot this past May).The Severs are now part of a growing list of people who are redeveloping LRA properties in Old North and demonstrating how revitalization happens. We still have a good number of LRA buildings in Old North ready for new owners and ONSLRG has staff ready to help. Give Karen Heet a call at 314-241-5031 or send her an email ( to learn what’s available and how to get in on the excitement.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 9th, 2008 at 3:44 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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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