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Archive for May, 2010

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Busy Times in Old North -Celebrating Asphalt, Quality of Life, Streetballers, and the North City Farmers’ Market

This past week was so full of meetings and events that there wasn’t much time left for blog updates.  The following photos present just a few images of the activities of this action-packed week:

Paving of N. 14th Street Begins

Further evidence that the Crown Square redevelopment is nearing its completion: the first layer of asphalt has been poured on the 2600 block of N. 14th Street was cause for great celebration.

Further evidence that the Crown Square redevelopment is nearing its completion: the first layer of asphalt has been poured on the 2600 block of N. 14th Street was cause for great celebration.

Old North St. Louis Quality of Life Meeting

Lucas Hudson, project coordinator for the North City Farmers' Market, updated community residents on plans for the market's opening day on June 5 and the first Eat.Right.Now. Parade.
Lucas Hudson, project coordinator for the North City Farmers’ Market, updated community residents on plans for the market’s opening day on June 5 and the first ever Eat.Right.Now. Parade, which will lead residents of Hyde Park and St. Louis Place to the market at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street in Old North.
Officer Moran from the 5th District (shown above) and 4th District Officer Daphne Allen took questions about neighborhood safety. ONSLRG is recruiting neighbors for new Nighborhood Watch efforts and will bring in Neighborhood Watch trainers from the police department at the next Quality of Life meeting.
Officer Moran from the 5th District (shown above) and 4th District Officer Daphne Allen took questions about neighborhood safety. ONSLRG is recruiting neighbors for new Nighborhood Watch efforts and will bring in Neighborhood Watch trainers from the police department at the next Quality of Life meeting.

Cinema St. Louis Screening of Streetballers at Old North’s Gallery

The partnership of Cinema St. Louis and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group brought the award-winning film, Streetballers, to the ONSLRG gallery on Friday night.  The movie was filmed in St. Louis with local actors (including Old North resident John Bratkowski, on the screen in the photo above).

The partnership of Cinema St. Louis and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group brought the award-winning film, Streetballers, to the ONSLRG gallery on Friday night. The movie was filmed in St. Louis with local actors (including Old North resident John Bratkowski, on the screen in the photo above).

Writer-Director-Actor Matt Krentz was on hand to discuss the film and take questions from the audience.  Also on hand were other actors Jfrom the film, John Bratkowski and Norman.

Writer-Director-Actor Matt Krentz was on hand to discuss the film and take questions from the audience. Also on hand were other actors from the film, John Bratkowski (2nd from right) and Norman McGowan (on the right).

More details about the film - and an opportunity to support independent film-making and the local film industry by purchasing a copy of the DVD - can be found on the Streetballers website

Thanks also to Cinema St. Louis (especially Cliff Froehlich, Chris Clark, and Brian Spath) and the Kresge Foundation for making this partnership possible.  The next film in our gallery will be the documentary, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, scheduled for Friday, June 25.

Preparations for the opening of the 4th Season of the North City Farmers’ Market

Earlier today volunteers fanned out to go door-to-door throughout the neighborhood to deliver door-hangers about the North City Farmers’ Market and the Eat.Right.Now! parade.  The market opens next Saturday (June 5) at 9 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. (only on opening day) and will return every Saturday from 9-noon through October 16.  The parade will start at Blair and Salisbury in Hyde Park and will take a route that goes through the St. Louis Place neighborhood on the way to the North City Farmers’ Market at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th.  The market will be in operation during the parade, so if you can’t join the parade, you can go straight to the market.

Visit the new and improved website for the North City Farmers’ Market to keep up with all of the news and developments with the 4th season of the market. 

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Old North Film Series with Cinema St. Louis Starts Friday, May 28

Cinema St. Louis launches free Old North St. Louis Screening Series on May 28

Old North St. Louis Screening Series
A co-presentation of Cinema St. Louis and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
What: Screening of film “American Streetballers”
When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 28
Where: Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, 2700 N. 14th Street
How much: Free
More info: www.cinemastlouis.org, 314-289-4150 (Cinema St. Louis), 314-241-5031 (Old North Restoration Group)

Cinema St. Louis – in partnership with Old North St. Louis Restoration Group – launches the Old North St. Louis Screening Series, a free monthly program for neighborhood residents and interested members of the larger St. Louis community. The inaugural offering is “American Streetballers, ” which screens at 7 p.m. Friday, May 28, at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, 2700 N. 14th Street.  Please note that the film contains adult content, including language, violence, and sexual situations which may not be appropriate for younger viewers.

A gripping urban drama about street basketball, “American Streetballers” tells the crisscrossing stories of two junior-college students – one black, one white – who find release and therapy while playing on one of the most competitive street courts in the U.S.  Written and directed by local hero Matthew Scott Krentz, who also co-stars, “Streetballers” reveals unexpected aspects of St. Louis. The Riverfront Times, which named Krentz a “MasterMind” at the paper’s inaugural arts awards, noted: “More enthralling than the movie’s story line, perhaps, is the cinematography and onsite filming of many of St. Louis’ unsung landmarks. The movie opens with a time-elapsed shot of O’Fallon Park in north St. Louis.” Krentz and others involved in the film’s creation will attend the screening and participate in a post-film Q&A.  Old North resident John Bratkowski, one of the actors in the film, will also be present.

The series will continue on Friday, June 25, with a work-in-progress screening of the documentary “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.”  Director Chad Freidrichs, the film’s producers, will attend, and several of the documentary’s subjects will also participate. Former residents of Pruitt-Igoe, which was located nearby, are particularly encouraged to attend and provide feedback.

Future films will include documentaries that focus on issues of concern or interest to the area; fiction films with particular appeal to neighborhood population; family-friendly films; and relevant locally produced works. In addition, Cinema St. Louis will offer special presentations of films from the St. Louis International Film Festival, both during the November festival and throughout the year. Whenever possible, guests will accompany the film, including both filmmakers and experts who will lead post-screening discussions of issues raised by the films.

The Old North Screening Series is made possible through a $10,000 grant from Kresge Arts in St. Louis, a partnership of the Kresge Foundation, the Arts and Education Council and the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation in St. Louis. The program challenges communities to use art and culture as a tool to address broader community issues and uses Baltimore, Detroit, and St. Louis as the pilot sites. Cinema St. Louis was one of 10 local organizations to receive grants for 2010.

For more information, contact Cinema St. Louis at 314-289-4150 or the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group at 314-241-5031.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Encouragement from Natural Resources Defense Council

Kaid Benfield, director of the Smart Growth Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC, has been following the revitalization of Old North St. Louis for a while now, and occasionally he shares his views with readers of his blog.  On Monday, Kaid once again did his part to let others all over the world know about the progress in Old North.  His blog post explained how the neighborhood-wide, community-based redevelopment in progress in Old North fits into the context of larger issues of sustainability:

Frequent readers know that I love revitalization stories most of all, because restoring distressed neighborhoods in our cities is the ultimate anti-sprawl.  It is a way to capture development and growth without expanding the footprint of our suburbs and consuming farmland, creating longer driving distances, spreading pavement across previously undeveloped watersheds, and more.  In addition, revitalization conserves resources that would otherwise go for new infrastructure and buildings.  It can and also should be done in a way that avoids displacement and lifts up distressed city populations with reinvestment.  All these things are happening in Old North, whose story I have been following for two years now. 

  Other comments included the following:

The excitement of Crown Square is not the only good thing happening in Old North, of course.  The 13th Street and Hebert community gardens have been planted, there’s a grocery co-op in the works, and residential rehabs are popping up all over.  The Restoration Group’s web site contains a real estate section, which lists properties available for homebuying, renting, rehabbing, or commercial development, including abandoned, delinquent or donated properties that have been held by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority.  This story is only going to get better with time.

With lots of photos from our blog and website and from former resident Claire Nowak-Boyd, Kaid’s post does a good job of capturing the character of the neighborhood and the level of energy and activity throughout the community.  One special treat was a link to a music video that was shot at the former 14th Street Mall several years ago, which provides a great reminder of how bleak things looked before the Crown Square project started the transformation.  To read the full content, check out Kaid’s blog on the NRDC website.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two of Landmarks’ 11 Most Enhanced Awards Presented to Projects in Old North

On Friday evening Landmarks Association of St. Louis presented their annual 11 “Most Enhanced” Awards to outstanding rehabilitation projects in the St. Louis area.  Among the award-winners, two were from Old North.

Nico & Nicole Leone were honored for their rehabilitation of 1408 Wright Street, which they had purchased from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in 2002.  The two-family home built in the 1890s, features a new interior staircase constructed entirely from reclaimed, 100 year-old lumber and a spectacular, 3rd floor master bedroom suite in what had been unfinished attic space.

The cover of the evening’s program featured before and after photos of the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall.  The award for that project was presented to Crown Square’s co-developers, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance.

A staff member from the office of State Rep. James Morris presented a resolution honoring the Crown Square project to ONSLRG executive director Sean Thomas and RHCDA executive director Stephen Acree.

A staff member from the office of State Rep. James Morris presented a resolution honoring the Crown Square project to ONSLRG executive director Sean Thomas and RHCDA executive director Stephen Acree. Rep. Morris also sent a resolution honoring the Leones' work at 1408 Wright.

Nicole & Nico, on the left, with other award winners, including Stephen Acree (3rd from right), representing RHCDA, and Sean Thomas (2nd from right), representing ONSLRG.

Nicole & Nico Leone (2nd & 3rd from the left) with other award winners, including Stephen Acree (3rd from right), representing RHCDA, and Sean Thomas (2nd from right), representing ONSLRG.

Crown Square in the News
Crown Square has been receiving a good deal of media attention lately, including a mention in a St. Louis Beacon article on Friday about the Most Enhanced Awards.  Click HERE to see the story.
Earlier in the week, both Fox2 News and Channel 11 aired a report about the interest in commercial spaces at Crown Square (and since both news channels run the same stories - with different anchors introducing them - both stations included the same reference to Crown Square as being the “former Gateway Mall” rather than the former 14th Street Mall). 

The Fox2 story included some good views of the sidewalk and new street work in progress along N. 14th Street.

The Fox2 story included some good views of the sidewalk and new street work in progress along N. 14th Street.

The Channel 11 story also provided some good views of the work in progress.

The Channel 11 story also provided some good views of the work in progress.

The two news reports have been posted to the respective stations’ websites (and since both are the same, feel free to pick one of the two links below to see the story):
The Crown Square project also received some positive press courtesy of the May issue of Multi-Family Executive.
And since you might have a little trouble finding that publication at your favorite news-stand, you can click on the following link to download a PDF of the article:  multifamily-executive-article-on-crown-square-may2010.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scenes from the Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour

Although the new street along N. 14th Street didn’t quite arrive in time for this year’s tour, the weather was sunny and crisp on Saturday for all of the visitors who came out to see all of the changes that have taken place in Old North over the past year.

House Tour chairperson Kathleen Parvis spent much of the day selling tickets and handing out tour booklets in front of the ONSLRG office; music from the Webster Jazz Ensemble kept visitors, staff, and volunteers entertained.

House Tour chairperson Kathleen Parvis spent much of the day selling tickets and handing out tour booklets in front of the ONSLRG office; music from the Webster Jazz Ensemble kept visitors, staff, and volunteers entertained.

 The tour featured the great variety of homes in Old North, from works in progress to meticulously restored Victorian townhouses, from 3-story, single-family houses to 1-bedroom apartments.

The 13th Street Community Garden was on the tour last year, but this year marked the debut of the new chicken coop and its new residents:

Thom Fletcher discussed the variety of chickens to the Fosdick family.

Thom Fletcher discussed the variety of chickens to the Fosdick family.

 

Inside the future Old North Grocery Co-op, Stefene Russell & practicum student Meghan Baer explained how the store will function.

Inside the future Old North Grocery Co-op, Stefene Russell & practicum student Meghan Baer explained how the store will function.

Teresa Johnson & Ben Sever handled the duties of dispensing the complimentary ice cream to all tour-goers.  Thank you to Crown Candy Kitchen for contributing the ice cream!

Teresa Johnson & Ben Sever handled the duties of dispensing the complimentary ice cream to all tour-goers. Thank you to Crown Candy Kitchen for contributing the ice cream!

 

On their way to picking up their ice cream, visitors had a chance to browse before & after shots of the 27 buildings at Crown Square in ONSLRG's new gallery.

On their way to picking up their ice cream, visitors had a chance to enjoy ONSLRG's new gallery by taking a look at before & after photos of the 27 buildings at Crown Square.

Artwork from Nick Riggio and Christopher Ruess filled the commercial space at 2612 N. 14th Street.

Artwork from Nick Riggio and Christopher Ruess filled the commercial space at 2612 N. 14th Street.

Shuttle service was provided by Kohner Properties, managers of Jackson Park Senior Apartments, and Call-A-Cart.

Shuttle service was provided by Kohner Properties, managers of Jackson Park Senior Apartments, and Call-A-Cart.

Above: ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin, who stopped by to show her support.

Above: ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin, who stopped by to show her support.

Inside the kitchen, members of Team Bank of America helped Tino & Zoila prepare the lunches for volunteers; outside, volunteers from Fuel for the City helped direct traffic in the new parking lot.

Inside the kitchen, members of Team Bank of America helped Tino & Zoila prepare the lunches for volunteers; outside, volunteers from Fuel for the City helped direct traffic in the new parking lot.

And thank you to all other sponsors, those who gave of your time, opened your homes, or came to visit us!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

More Scenes from Most Enhanced Award-Winning Crown Square

Yesterday we announced that Crown Square would be receiving a “Most Enhanced Award” from Landmarks Association and used the occasion to put the spotlight on some of the before and after shots of a sampling of the project’s 27 buildings that have been brought back to life after years of abandonment.  Now, time for some views of other historically rehabbed buildings at Crown Square:

2607 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2607 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2607-09 N. 14th Street earlier today.

2607-09 N. 14th Street earlier today.

2711 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2711 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2711 N. 14th Street earlier today.

2711 N. 14th Street earlier today.

2712 N. 14th Street in 2008.

2712 N. 14th Street in 2008.

2712 N. 14th Street in March of this year.

2712 N. 14th Street in March of this year.

2717 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2717 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2717 N. 14th Street in March on the way to its new life as home to a new fashion boutique called Therapy.

2717 N. 14th Street in March on the way to its new life as home to a new fashion boutique called Therapy.

For more details on how you can see these buildings at this coming Saturday’s Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour, or to join us for the award celebration on May 14, see yesterday’s post.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Crown Square Wins “Most Enhanced Award” from Landmarks Association

A few days ago we learned that Landmarks Association of St. Louis  will present the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall with one of their coveted “Most Enhanced Awards” on Friday, May 14.  Because this award for “outstanding rehabilitation projects” comes from an organization whose mission is “to preserve, enhance, and promote St. Louis’ architectural heritage and to encourage sound planning and good contemporary design,” it is indeed an honor to receive this recognition.

As the entire Crown Square redevelopment nears the finish line, this award provides another good opportunity to review the transformation that has been happening over the past couple years.  The following photos show how these crumbling eyesores have been rescued before they ended up as more rubble in a landfill somewhere.  By recycling and re-using these historic structures, we’re not only preserving the irreplaceable historic and architectural character of the community, but we’re also bringing high quality housing opportunities for households across the economic spectrum and attracting businesses to locate in the community, along with the jobs and tax revenue they generate.

2601 N. 14th Street in 2006

2601 N. 14th Street in 2006

2601 N. 14th Street last month, ready for residents to move in upstairs and almost ready for new businesses in the storefront spaces.

2601 N. 14th Street last month, ready for residents to move in upstairs and almost ready for new businesses in the storefront spaces.

2605 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2605 N. 14th Street in 2004.

2605 N. 14th Street last month.

2605 N. 14th Street last month.

2600 N. 14th Street in 2004, long after its glory days as the Peters Bros. Dry Goods & Clothing Store in 1881 and later as home to the 1st JCPenney in the City of St. Louis, from 1928 to 1975.

2600 N. 14th Street in 2004, long after its glory days as the Peters Bros. Dry Goods & Clothing Store in 1881 and later as home to the 1st JCPenney in the City of St. Louis, from 1928 to 1975.

2600-10 N. 14th Street in December.  The south-facing apartments upstairs offer fantastic skyline views.

2600-10 N. 14th Street in December. The south-facing apartments upstairs offer fantastic skyline views.

2612-24 N. 14th Street in 2007.  The building, with the name Rosenbaum on the front, was known to most residents as the Sobel Dept. Store building.

2612-24 N. 14th Street in 2007. The building, with the name Rosenbaum on the front, was known to most residents as the Sobel Dept. Store building.

2612-24 N. 14th Street, earlier today. With apartments upstairs, the building offers ideal space for a restaurant on the ground floor, including ample space for sidewalk cafe in front (with a great view of the Arch) and along the Montgomery Street side.

2612-24 N. 14th Street, earlier today. With apartments upstairs, the building offers ideal space for a restaurant on the ground floor, including ample space for sidewalk seating in front (with a great view of the Arch) and along the Montgomery Street side.

2611 N. 14th Street.  Once the home of Rubenstein's Shoes and later Otto & Joe's shoe store.

2611 N. 14th Street. Once the home of Rubenstein's Shoe Store.

2611 N. 14th Street in December.

2611 N. 14th Street in December.

These are just a sampling of the 27 buildings (and just some of the buildings on the 2600 block of N. 14th) that have experienced full historic rehabilitation as part of the Crown Square redevelopment, a collaboration of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance with E.M. Harris Construction Co. as general contractor and Rosemann & Associates as the architectural firm.  Check back tomorrow for some more before and after views of other buildings in the project.  And come on out next Saturday to see all of this in person at the Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour.  Tickets can be purchased online from the link on this website.  With the award this year for the Crown Square project, and another award to yet another Old North property (1408 Wright Street), the 2010 Old North tour will feature 4 Most Enhanced Award-winning projects.

And please join us on May 14th to celebrate the award.  The award ceremony and celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Paradowski Creative’s new space in the former Missouri Electric & Power Co. building, 1928 Locust.  Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling Landmarks Association at 314-421-6474.

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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