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Archive for the ‘real estate’ Category

Friday, May 16, 2014

Old North House & Community Tour: More Reasons to Attend than a Top 10 List Can Contain

If you haven’t started yet, time is running out to start spreading the news that TOMORROW, Saturday, May 17th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. is our annual celebration of all that is enriching, inspirational, sustainable and just plain cool about living in walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly, diverse, historic neighborhoods; or, in simpler terms: the Old North House & Community Tour.

For a limited time only - the rest of today, to be precise - you can get your tickets for the advance ticket price of just $10.  Click HERE to get your tickets now.

We’ve posted numerous reasons for attending this tour already, but we now offer the following highlights, in no particular order:

AWARDS, AWARDS, and more AWARDS in this Award-Winning Neighborhood

Come see what all of the buzz is about and why so many unbiased, outside observers have deemed Old North and various components of the community here to be worthy of special recognition and awards.

Old North has more Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation” per acre, per capita, or per total number of buildings than just about any other neighborhood in St. Louis.  As reported here a couple days ago, the most recent Landmarks award in Old North has yet to be presented but has been announced.  Come on out Saturday to see the incredible work done on the insides of 1303 North Market, one of the projects that will be recognized with a “Most Enhanced” Award by Landmarks on May 22.

Other properties that have won Landmarks awards will also be on this year’s tour, including 1408 Wright Street and spaces at Crown Square, which received a “Most Enhanced” Award in 2010 for the project as a whole.

Crown Square also won a National Trust for Historic Preservation / HUD Secretary’s Award for Overall Excellence in Historic Preservation in 2010, a Missouri Preservation “McReynolds Award” for historic preservation in 2011, and a J. Timothy Anderson Award from the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association.

The biggest award, however, came from U.S. EPA, which presented Old North with their National 2011 Overall Excellence Award for Smart Growth Achievement.  Old North is the only neighborhood to receive this distinction in the entire Midwest. The only only other overall award-winner in the Midwest was the whole greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area in 2006.

Other awards for the comprehensive revitalization in progress around here have come from East-West Gateway Council of Governments (just last year for public-nonprofit collaboration), U.S. Green Building Council -Missouri Gateway Chapter (also in 2013), American Society of Landscape Architects, St. Louis Chapter (their Civic Stewardship Award in 2011), and Focus St. Louis (with a What’s Right with the Region Award in 2007).

And, did we mention the FREE ICE CREAM?  All ticket-holding tour-goers will receive a free cup of ice cream, courtesy of Crown Candy Kitchen - but being distributed at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery.

And a FREE CUP OF COFFEE for all ticket-holding tour-goers from La Mancha Coffeehouse.

SPOTLIGHT ON CROWN SQUARE BUSINESSES

In addition to an incredible variety of relatively new and historically-rehabbed homes, apartments, and gardens throughout Old North, the tour also will feature businesses in Old North, including Blackmun Footcare and Firecracker Press.

OLD NORTH’S FIRST “LITTLE FREE LIBRARY” in Wingmann Park

As reported here on May 14, this Saturday will mark the official opening of our new Old North Little Free Library in Wingmann Park (along the 1400 block of Wright Street), which also will be one of the stops on the tour.

Environmentally-Friendly SHUTTLES to Transport you between tour stops

This year our shuttle options will include pedi-cabs from St. Louis 3-Wheel Taxi (as shown in our post from Wednesday the 12th) and electric-powered golf carts from St. Louis Golf Cars.

MEET CHARLOTTE

Our post from earlier today introduced Charlotte Harris (click HERE if you missed that).  But, just a reminder now that Saturday will be a great chance to stop by to meet Charlotte and welcome her to ONSLRG.

We’ve got everything set and ready to go - all we need is YOU.  Get your tickets now at the advance-ticket prices by clicking HERE (or on the image below) or by stopping by the ONSLRG office before 5 p.m. today.

And, as noted above, you can always pick up tickets on the day of the tour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at St. Louis Avenue and North 14th Street.  We look forward to seeing you here!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Landmarks Award Will Celebrate Phenomenal Transformation of 1303 North Market - Yet Another Cool Site to See at Old North House & Community Tour

We are happy to share the great news that Landmarks Association of St. Louis has selected 1303 North Market as a winner of one of their 2014 Most Enhanced Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation!  Congratulations to the Lane Family for the many years of hard work, creativity, and determination to make that transformation possible.  As Landmarks Association’s Executive Director, Andrew Weil, put it: “It is an awesome project.”

As cool as the garden space along the eastern side of the building is, the interior of the former abandoned warehouse building demonstrates what can happen when creative people have the freedom to take something others considered unusable and re-shape it to suit their style and needs. The before and after shots below are just a sample of what the Lanes have been able to accomplish at 1303 North Market.

The award from Landmarks will be presented to the Lanes on May 22, but YOU can get first-hand views of this home THIS SATURDAY, May 17 when 1303 North Market will be one of the 17 sites on this year’s Old North House & Community Tour.

For tickets to the Landmarks reception and award ceremony at the Sun Theater on Thursday, May 22, click HERE to purchase them online.  The reception includes food and drinks and lasts from 6:00 until 7:00 with the Award ceremony to follow.

On the topic of Landmarks “Most Enhanced Award”-winning properties, another home that received this award a couple years ago will also be open for this year’s tour.  The two-family residential building at 1408 Wright Street has been on the tour before, but this year the home features a completely different style that represents the building’s new occupants who moved into Old North last year.

Across the street from 1408 Wright is another product of Graham Lane’s creative hands that will also be on display at the Old North House & Community Tour this Saturday: the neighborhood’s first Little Free Library, which was installed today in Wingmann Park.  Graham converted an old safe into the box which will hold the books that will be free to take and return on an honor system.  Old North’s resident metal-smith, Janet Sanders, will soon complete fabrication of a new door for the box so that the library can be fully stocked by Old North’s resident librarian, Gina Sheridan, in time for its grand opening on Saturday.

Old North’s Little Free Library is part of an international movement to bring books and other reading materials to communities that don’t have full-fledged libraries.  As described on the LittleFreeLibrary.org website, a little free library is “a ‘take a book, return a book’ gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”

But wait, there’s more…

In addition to getting a chance to visit the Little Free Library and all of the award-winning homes, gardens, businesses on the tour, visitors with tickets to the tour will be able to stop by La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2800 N. 14th Street for a free cup of coffee before heading down to the ONSLRG Gallery for a free cup of Crown Candy ice cream.

To take advantage of the advance ticket price of only $10 for a home & community tour unlike any other in St. Louis, get your tickets now by clicking HERE.  Tickets will also be available at the ONSLRG office between now and Saturday.  Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the tour for $12.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

5 Days to Go: Still Time to Buy Tickets & Recruit Others to Join You at Old North House & Community Tour

We’re down to the final 5 days, so time is running out to get your tickets at the advance ticket price of only $10 for the Old North House & Community Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Click HERE to purchase your tickets online now.

This year’s tour features a chance to get inside views of an eclectic mix of homes, businesses, and gardens, some of which are shown below, as well as in our previous post.

Although each of the 17 stops on the tour would be worth a visit on their own, the Old North House & Community Tour showcases more than distinctive but scattered places.   Our tour allows visitors an opportunity to see how all of these pieces fit together to create a vibrant community in the midst of dynamic, positive transformation.

While you’re in the neighborhood for the Old North House & Community Tour, be sure to visit the two stl250 cakes in Old North, in honor of our city’s 250th birthday.  Above: the stl250 cake in front of Crown Candy Kitchen. By the way, it’s worth noting that, once again, Crown Candy will be donating ice cream to ONSLRG to distribute to ticket-holding attendees of the tour.

The second stl250 cake can be found in front of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office.

Speaking of public art, Jamaica Ray’s mannequins will most likely be hanging out somewhere in the vicinity of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street, while Jamaica Ray himself will probably be playing his steel drums somewhere nearby or riding his bike along N. 14th Street (see below).

Among the other sites to admire along the street: the recently completed pocket park / garden at 2709 N. 14th Street (above), made possible with funding support from Equifax Foundation, design work by St. Louis ArtWorks apprentices, volunteer labor from Scottrade and Equifax employees, and oversight by Rebuilding Together St. Louis.

And, as with every visit to Old North, a leisurely stroll along the streets of the neighborhood provides multiple occasions to pause and appreciate the rich architectural character of the building stock that gives Old North an authentic sense of place.

However, if you’d rather catch a ride along the tour route or from one tour stop to the next, we’ll provide a couple of different, environmentally friendly shuttle options: golf cart shuttles and pedicabs from St. Louis 3-Wheel Taxi (see below).

So now it’s just a matter of getting your tickets - and rounding up as many friends as you can to join you in Old North this coming Saturday, May 17.  Click HERE or on the image below to buy your tickets online.

If you’d like to purchase advance tickets in person, stop by the ONSLRG office at 2700 N. 14th Street between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. the rest of this week.  For more information or to volunteer to help with the tour, give us a call at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Annual Old North House & Community Tour - Saturday, May 17

Get your tickets now! Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Old North House & Community Tour is rapidly approaching.   The big day which celebrates and shows off the comprehensive, neighborhood-wide sustainable revitalization of Old North will take place on Saturday, May 17th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Advance tickets at $10 per person can be purchased online (on the “Buy Stuff” page of ONSL.org) by clicking HERE or they can be purchased in person at the ONSLRG office, 2700 N. 14th Street during regular business hours up until the day before the tour.  Tickets on the day of the tour will be available for $12 at the registration tent on the corner of St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street.

Proceeds from the tour help support the continued work of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group throughout the year.  We have a lot more work to do.  With your support we will achieve our goal of becoming a sustainable, urban, neighborhood neighborhood of choice on the edge of Downtown.   In the days ahead, we’ll be posting more updates about the tour and previews of the various homes, businesses, gardens, and other sights that will be on the tour.  Until then, you can get a feel for the tour and enjoy some images of past tours by clicking HERE.

Although time is running out, there is still time to support the tour as a sponsor.  Click HERE for sponsorship benefits and details. The tour is made possible by the generous support of many sponsors, including PNC Bank, our lead sponsor and “Tour Presenter” once again this year.  We also thank other sponsors, such as Commerce Bank, Duffe-Nuernberger Realty / ND&S Management, Equifax, Husch Blackwell, and U.S.Bank.  A full list of sponsors will appear in future posts here.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please feel free to contact ONSLRG staff at the office, in person or by phone at 314-241-5031, or by email:  info@ONSL.org.

Special thanks go out to Firecracker Press at 2612 N. 14th Street for designing and producing the really cool poster for this year’s tour, which also will be available for purchase through ONSLRG or Firecracker Press.

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Highlights from Thursday’s Neighborhood Meeting

This past Thursday Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG) hosted our regular monthly Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting (sometimes referred to as our “Quality of Life” meeting).  A great crowd of Old North residents and neighbors from nearby neighborhoods showed up for updates or reports on the following:

Virtual City Project

Andrew Hurley, Chair of the University of Missouri-St. Louis History Department, reported on the Virtual City project, an ongoing collaboration between UMSL and ONSLRG, which involves creation of an online image of Old North.  The project displays views of the built environment of Old North and enables the viewer to virtually visit several blocks in Old North at various points in time. Individual buildings in the model were reconstructed based on information in fire insurance maps and other documentary evidence.  Andrew discussed how this project is more than a resource for learning about the history of the neighborhood but also can be a tool that will help the community give input on future development in Old North.  To take a look at how this has been used so far to re-create a limited section of the neighborhood - and to review some sample ideas for how the future could look, there are two different ways to access the project:

1. Web version (this does require a browser plug-in,  but users will see instructions for installing it when the site comes onto the screen): http://vcities.umsl.edu/tours/OldNorth

2. Google Earth version (users will need to download Google Earth for this to work): http://12.234.174.20/resources/vcity/3Dmodels/oldnorth.kmz

ONSLRG’s Real Estate Committee will further discuss how the Virtual City project can help us plan for future development - and identify a focus area for further development - at a meeting on Monday, Sept. 23.  If you’d like to be involved or contribute your ideas, contact Matt Fernandez (314-241-5031, ext. 101, or Matt@ONSL.org).

Financing & Mortgage Options from Stifel Bank
Cheryl Walker, Community Development Assistant Loan Officer from Stifel Bank, presented information about the bank’s mortgage process and loan programs available for current Old North residents and others wanting to buy homes in Old North.
Neighborhood Safety Updates
Officer Quianna Dickerson discussed neighborhood safety issues throughout the 5th District and passed out the stats for the number of crimes reported, by neighborhood, from January through July of this year.  It’s worth noting that the Total Crime Index for Old North in 2013 is 40% lower than the same 7-month period last year.

Family Roots International

Maurice Foxworth, President of Family Roots International shared information about his organization’s planting of cornfields and other crops on vast tracts of empty land in the St. Louis Place neighborhood, just west of Old North.  Many neighbors from St. Louis Place came out to ask questions about the project.

Sustainable Land Lab Project

Phil Valko offered an update on progress with the Land Lab sites, all of which are within a block of the Old North Gallery where the meeting took place.  The Sunflower+ Project on Warren succeeded in planting and growing a full crop of sunflowers; the Mighty Mississippians at the southwest corner of Montgomery & N. 13th Street have much to show for their efforts, as well.  In addition to corn and other plants on the site, other activities, including yoga, have taken place there, and soon we’ll see the construction of a “mound”.  The RRFarm project, across Montgomery from the Mighty Mississippians, had a good start but have since encountered delays due to the city permitting process for the greenhouse structure they’re constructing on the site.  Sharing that same lot, the Bistro Box project has been working on securing funding and additional partners.  Unfortunately, we have no news to report on the final Land Lab lot at 2713 N. 14th Street, which is supposed to be developed as the Chess Pocket Park.

Although not selected for implementation through the Sustainable Land Lab competition, another team led by Catalina Freixas and Pablo Moyano reached out to ONSLRG to pursue their project at another site in Old North.  Their plan for production and installation of permeable pavers and benches, along with pollinating plants, will soon be taking shape at ONSLRG’s community garden space at the northwest corner of Blair and St. Louis Avenue.

To learn more about or to get involved with any of the projects and activities reported on at Thursday’s meeting, please contact the ONSLRG office by phone at 314-241-5031 or by email, info@ONSL.org.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Economic Case for Stabilization Over Demolition

A common question we get here at ONSLRG is why do we try so hard to save a building that is in poor condition like 1316 North Market, and the many others that have been successfully rebuilt in Old North. There is certainly historic and architectural value in the buildings of Old North that are over 100 years old, and they very much contribute to the urban character of Old North. That is not a point to be taken lightly in a neighborhood like Old North St. Louis. Renovating existing buildings is also more environmentally sustainable due to embodied energy, waste reduction, and efficient designs. On top of that, there is also a simple economic argument to be made for stabilizing and preserving a building like 1316 N Market.

Demolition of 1316 North Market is estimated to cost around $30,000. This is because of very close adjacent buildings, and the very deteriorated framing inside the masonry walls. Compare this to an average cost of about $8-12,000 for an average house in Old North and nearby neighborhoods.

A solid stabilization of 1316 North Market, which includes rebuilding the floor framing and addressing masonry issues, is projected to cost $20-25,000. Stabilization of this type delivers a building that is in a condition that full redevelopment financing with the aid of historic tax credits can be secured. Even with an average demolition cost, stabilization of this building is not much more than demolition. Most buildings don’t need as extensive of a stabilization as 1316 North Market, so the numbers work out easier on most buildings. 1316 North Market after a full renovation will not only maintain the rich historic tradition of Old North St. Louis, it will also generate more tax revenue than a vacant lot or new construction will.

Rendering of possible look of 1316 North Market after renovation

Which of those two options makes the most sense to you? If you agree that stabilization is the way to go, please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Brickstarter crowdfunding campaign for 1316 North Market. We are going to stabilize 1316 N Market, but we need your help to do it. Become a partner today! All contributions go directly to purchasing construction materials for building stabilization that is now underway, and donations are greatly appreciated!

For more information on the Brickstarter for 1316 North Market, visit our page for the project or contact Matt Fernandez in the ONSLRG office, 314-241-5031, ext. 101, or by email: matt@onsl.org.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scenes from a Day-Long Celebration of a Neighborhood Revitalization in Progress

Thank you to all of our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and musicians who participated in some capacity at yesterday’s Old North House & Community Tour, and special thanks to the the business-owners, homeowners and tenants who opened their homes or businesses to let hundreds of visitors wander through over the course of the day.

By all measures, the day was a great success.

Mayor Slay met neighborhood residents while attending the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Sustainable Land Lab projects.

The day started with the formal kick-off of the Sustainable Land Lab projects (re-scheduled from the rained out date in April), including a presentation to the 3 runner up projects and the 5 teams that were selected to implement their proposals on 4 lots in the Crown Square area.

Pablo Moyano Fernandez and Old North residents Gloria & Tom Bratkowski represented Hybrid Urban Bioscapes project.

Pablo Moyano Fernandez and Old North residents Gloria & Tom Bratkowski represented Hybrid Urban Bioscapes project.

After the start of the tour, the celebration continued at the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue, where representatives from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and RHCDA (co-owners / co-developers of the corner lot, which is part of the overall Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall) thanked Rebuilding Together St. Louis for coordinating the improvements to the corner plaza space, including the addition of tables with umbrellas, construction of the fence along the south and west sides of the space, new plantings, and the addition of a stage for public performances.  Also acknowledged were the many volunteers, including many from Scottrade and Equifax, financial support from Equifax and Regional Business Council, and contributed professional services from Sherwoods Forest, Kimberlin Construction, and IBEW-Local 1.

Neighbors from down the street came out to celebrate the first official event at the new & improved Crown Square corner plaza.

Dave Ervin, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together St. Louis, and RTSL’s Outreach Coordinator, Kuleya Bruce, acknowledged our appreciation and thanked all who helped them with the project before introducing local musician, Chris Ware for the first official performance on the stage.

Environmentally friendly shuttle service was provided by St. Louis 3 Wheel Taxi.

Volunteers, including Nolan (below), provided a variety of valuable services, including merchandise sales.

And the tour provided an opportunity to show off the diverse range of housing styles in Old North, from apartments to a loft-style conversion of a former warehouse (below).

And a number of number of historic houses…

The soon-to-come Chess Pocket Parkat 2713 N. 14th Street offered the opportunity to try out some chess moves throughout the day.

Another tour tradition is free ice cream, thanks to the generous donation from Crown Candy Kitchen.

Norah Ryan returned for the critical role of scooper and dispenser of ice cream.

The kickoff activities at the 5 Land Lab projects included:

The Sunflower+ project at 1318 Warren

Children from the neighborhood joined the Sunflower+ project coordinators in planting of sunflowers and other work at the project site.

The Mighty Mississippians at 1300-06 Montgomery

The Bistro Box at 1301-03 Montgomery

RR Farm, also at 1301-03 Montgomery

and Chess Pocket Park at 2713 N. 14th Street

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Friday, May 17, 2013

One Last Invite to Join Us TOMORROW (Sat., May 18) for Old North House & Community Tour… AND Announcing Another Crown Square Commercial Tenant

We’re down to the last few hours before the big day, so we’ll issue one last invitation to all friends of Old North, former residents, current residents, fans of urban revitalization, advocates for sustainable development, historic preservationists, arts enthusiasts, and anyone who just happens to like Crown Candy Kitchen: please join us on Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for our annual Old North House & Community Tour. The forecast shows beautiful weather for tomorrow.  Come on out to enjoy a pleasant stroll though the walkable, architecturally rich, historic neighborhood of Old North St. Louis.

The hour by hour forecast from the experts at Weather.com.

It'll be a gorgeous day in Old North on Saturday, according to the hour by hour forecast from the experts at Weather.com.

For those who are new to St. Louis or just aren’t familiar with how neighborhood house tours work, here’s what you can expect from the Old North House & Community Tour:

The Old North House & Community Tour is a self-guided tour, so you’ll be able to use our tour booklet to decide which stops to visit and in what order - or you can visit all of the sites on the tour in the order presented in the booklet.  And, you’ll be able to go at your own pace, whether that means enjoying the nice, summery weather as you walk leisurely between stops or as you catch a free ride from one of the roving, environmentally- friendly bicycle rickshaws from St. Louis 3Wheel Taxi.

For more on what will be featured on the tour, take a look at our posts from Thursday (click HERE) and Tuesday (click HERE).

Registration for the tour - where you can buy tickets, trade in your already-bought tickets for the tour booklet or pick up tickets you purchased online - will be at the new and improved Crown Square corner plaza at the southwest corner of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street, pictured below.

The first official performances on the plaza’s stage will take place immediately following a brief dedication ceremony at 10:30 a.m.   Scheduled to perform are local musician, poet, and spoken-word artist, Chris Ware, and later by Old North’s own favorite steel drum musician, Jamaica Ray.

We also want to share the reminder that the public is invited to celebrate the official start of work at the 5 Sustainable Land Lab projects in Old North, with a ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. at 1318 Warren (just east of 14th Street at the south end of Crown Square).  Mayor Slay will be on hand to congratulate the winners of the competition, and representatives from all 5 of the projects will be present to show off their sites and discuss their projects.

Although the “day-of” ticket prices of $12 should go into effect after midnight, the advance ticket price of $10 can still be obtained by purchasing online up until about 6 a.m.  So act now!

And, now for some other big news we’re thrilled to share…

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FIRECRACKER PRESS ANNOUNCES PLANS TO SET UP SHOP AT CROWN SQUARE

Earlier today, Firecracker Press issued the following press release:

The Firecracker Press is excited to announce, in addition to its location at 2838 Cherokee Street, the expansion of a second location at 2612 North 14th Street, in Crown Square. The expansion will take place over the Summer of 2013 with a Grand Opening to be announced later this year.

Founded in St. Louis in 2002, The Firecracker Press has become a cultural institution for printmaking. With a gang of antique printing presses (some dating back to the 1800s), a rich collection of St. Louis printing history, and a talented group of designers and printers, The Firecracker Press has made its mark regionally and nationally. Handmade, letterpress posters for music and art shows, custom business cards, stationery, wedding invitations, and books are just a few of the things that The Firecracker Press crafts. Using printing presses that are found and restored, The Firecracker Press prints from hand-set wood/lead type and uses hand-carved woodblocks to create imagery that’s rooted in history yet freshly modern. Its Southside, Cherokee Street location will remain while The Firecracker Press plans to expand a rotating list of events, classes and demonstrations at the new Crown Square location.

The Firecracker Press location in Old North will be in the former Sobel Department Store building at 2612-24 N. 14th Street.

Their announcement further describes their plans for the space in the heart of Old North, just across Montgomery from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office:

The new space, nearly 8000 sq. ft., will host a large collection of printing presses and tools, a retail storefront with a variety of posters and design-related home-goods, and a 100 person capacity venue for music, readings, and events. The Firecracker Press will continue to offer the same high quality, unique, independently minded services that have made them well-known. The expansion will also bring the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations including Old North Restoration Group and its affiliates, and with Studio STL, which will be sharing a portion of the space for its non-profit, children’s writing programs. The publishing arm of The Firecracker Press dovetails in exciting ways with the mission of Studio STL. An arts center for writers, thinkers, and makers will grow where The Firecracker Press and Studio STL overlap, with more to come.

For more details about The Firecracker Press and their plans for the space at Crown Square, click HERE to read the full news release.

The leasing of 2612-24 N. 14th Street follows the recent leasing of 2606-08 N. 14th to Blackmun Footcare, which opened just last month, and the leasing of 2601 N. 14th to Kennedy’s Pet Shop, which is now in the midst of interior build-out.  Both Blackmun Footcare and Kennedy’s Pet Shop will be open for tours on Saturday.

With just a few spaces left, anyone interested in leasing commercial space at Crown Square should contact leasing agent Susan Sauer of Duffe-Nuernberger Realty by phone at 314-571-7654 or by email at ssauer@ndconsulting.com.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Old North House & Community Tour: 2 Days Away to Sat., May 18

We’re down to counting the hours now until our biggest event of the year - so any help you can offer in spreading the word about the Old North House & Community Tour would be greatly appreciated, and you still have time to let us know if you can volunteer to help out on the day of the tour.

If you still aren’t subscribed to receive our e-Newsletter, then you probably missed our most recent edition.  Click on the image below or click HERE to view the web version.  Once you’re there, be sure to click on the Facebook “Like” image and/or the Twitter “tweet” image to share via these social media tools.

We also have some updates on what else will be going on here on Saturday.

At 9:00 a.m., Mayor Slay and the organizers responsible for the Sustainable Land Lab competition will lead the official kick-off ceremonies marking the start of work at the 5 Land Lab projects in Old North.  This ceremony will start at 1318 Warren (as seen in the photo above, courtesy of Washington University’s Office of Sustainable Development), the site where the Sunflower + project is underway, and will then travel to the other 3 Land Lab lots.  Please join us for this celebration just prior to the start of the Old North House & Community Tour.

At 10 a.m., the House & Community Tour officially begins, with registration table at N. 14th & St. Louis Avenue (see photo below) opening to distribute tour booklets to those who’ve registered in advance or to sell tour tickets (at the day-of price of $12) and the environmentally-friendly, bicycle rickshaw shuttle service will start up for those who don’t want to walk between the stops.

At 10:30 a.m., we’ll celebrate the ceremonial, unveiling / ribbon-cutting of the recently improved Crown Square corner plaza, followed by performances on the new stage by local musician, poet, and spoken-word artist, Chris Ware, and later by Old North’s own favorite steel drum musician, Jamaica Ray.

The tour activities will continue until 4 p.m., featuring 20 stops, 4 of which are located in historically rehabbed buildings at Crown Square, including a residential apartment incorporating a portion of the mezzanine level of the former J.C. Penney building (originally built for the Peters Dry Goods & Clothing Co. in 1881), the recently-opened Blackmun Footcare in that same building, and the soon-to-open Kennedy’s Pet Shop at 2601 N. 14th (in the photo above).

Other stops include:

  • the 4 empty lots where 5 Sustainable Land Lab demonstration projects are being implemented;
  • 2 other businesses offering free treats to tour-goers, La Mancha Coffeehouse, which is offering free cups of coffee, and City Bar & Grill, which is offering free toasted ravioli;
  • 2 historically-rehabbed homes, which have won Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Awards in previous years (in addition to the Crown Square project, which also received one of these awards in 2010);
  • a “loft-style” conversion of a warehouse building into a living space and a separate sculpture studio;
  • a couple of historic houses that are still in the midst of major re-construction and rehabilitation after massive damage, from a fire at one and two-different storms at the other, that would have led to demolition in other neighborhoods;
  • the future home in Old North for the Episcopal Service Corps community later this year;
  • the Old North Grocery Co-op and 13th Street Community Garden;
  • the home of Northside Workshop, a community art space that opened last year; and
  • the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office and Gallery, where a new photography exhibit will have its opening on Saturday; this exhibit, titled “Revitalizing,” features photos from 6 neighborhoods (including Old North), where UMSL’s PPRC Photography Project worked with community residents.

As noted in Tuesday’s post, another tradition of this event is the treat of some ice cream from Crown Candy Kitchen (celebrating 100 years of service to Old North).  All tour-goers will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cup, redeemable at the Old North Gallery.

If you haven’t already clicked on the link above, click below to get your tickets while you can still take advantage of the advance ticket price of $10.

And, if for whatever reason, you’re still not convinced that something special is going on in Old North St. Louis, take another look at the YouTube video we prepared before last year’s tour to highlight the dramatic transformations in progress throughout Old North.

We look forward to seeing you again in Old North on Saturday!

[One last appeal: if you've got some time available and are willing to help out, we still could use a few more volunteers.  Give us a call at the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to Claire Wolff: claire@onsl.org]

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Old North House & Community Tour Countdown: 4 Days Away

With just 4 days to go until the Old North House & Community Tour on Saturday, May 18, now is the time to take advantage of the advance ticket price of $10.  Purchase your tickets online by clicking HERE or give the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office a call at 314-241-5031.

In addition to the architecturally significant, historic buildings on the tour (a sampling of which can be seen in the collage above), this year’s event will show off the five Sustainable Land Lab projects being implemented on 4 empty lots within the Crown Square area.  Preceding the official start of the Old North House & Community Tour (which starts at 10 a,m.), Mayor Francis Slay and leaders behind the Sustainable Land Lab will mark the formal groundbreakings for the Land Lab projects with a ceremony at 9 a.m., starting with the Sunflower + project at 1316-24 Warren.  For more information on the Land Lab project and plans for this weekend, click HERE.  All 5 projects will have representatives at their sites to present their plans and answer questions starting at 10 a.m.

Bistro Box Sustainable Land Lab Project

RR Farm Sustainable Land Lab Project

Mighty Mississippians Sustainable Land Lab Project

Sunflower+ Sustainable Land Lab Project

Chess Pocket Park Sustainable Land Lab Project

Chess Pocket Park Sustainable Land Lab Project

Two of the stops on the tour will feature new businesses at Crown Square: Blackmun Footcare, at 2606 N. 14th Street, and Kennedy’s Pet shop across the street at 2601 N. 14th Street.  Dr. Annessa Blackmun celebrated the grand opening of her business several weeks ago, and Saturday will be the first chance for the community and other visitors to see the space where Seth Turner of Kennedy’s Pet Shop will be offering pet lovers with a variety of services, from dog-walking to pet treats and pet food delivery.

Other businesses that will be stops along the tour include La Mancha Coffeehouse, which will be offering a free cup of coffee to all tour-goers and will be showing off their soon-to-open expanded space at 2800 N. 14th; City Bar & Grill at North Market & Blair, which will be offering free toasted ravioli; and Old North Grocery Co-op at St. Louis Avenue & N. 13th Street.  As the aerial image of Crown Square below shows, the heart of Old North is buzzing with activity these days, especially with the opening of new businesses at Crown Square and the start-up of activities at the Land Lab lots.

The big day will also include the opening of a new exhibition in the Old North Gallery.

PPRC PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT: REVITALIZING

THE PPRC PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT IS A PROGRAM OF THE PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH CENTER AT UMSL.

The goal of the PPRC Photography Project is to raise the visibility of community groups working to improve the quality of life in St. Louis.  We focus on groups working in four areas: social services, youth/older adult enrichment, historic preservations and community revitalization.  This exhibition includes photographs from five Photography Projects completed by community groups working on revitalization and/or historic preservation.

• Old North St. Louis Restoration Group—our 1st Photography Project!

• Lewis Place Historic Preservation, Inc.

• Granite City Downtown Revitalization

• JVL: A multi-generational group of JeffVanderLou residents

• Downtown Dutchtown Business Association

• Cherokee/Benton Park West Small Business Incubator

Each group polled its members to come up with volunteers to complete Photography Project training. (Training entails 9-13 sessions on digital photography, photo collage and autobiographical writing taught by a professional artist/photographer.)  At the end of training we mount two exhibitions of the photographs taken by community group members (one at UMSL and one in the community near the group’s location).  We also produce a professional quality brochure and opening announcement.  The Project Instructors for the groups in this exhibition were: Lois Ingrum, Ron Laboray, Chinyere Oteh and Lyndsey Scott.  I conducted the Old North St. Louis Project training.

Many thanks to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group for giving us the opportunity to show these works from the Photography Project Collection!  (Check out all 900+ works in the Collection at pprc.umsl.edu.

–Mel Watkin, Director

The registration area for the tour once again will take place at the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue, which means this will be the first official event to take place at our new and improved plaza area for Crown Square.  While you’re there to pick up your tour booklet and information from our sponsors, take a few moments to enjoy music on the new stage and have a seat at one of the new umbrella-shaded tables.

And don’t forget that this year’s tour will also celebrate Crown Candy Kitchen’s century of service to Old North!

And what better way to commemorate Crown Candy’s 100th anniversary than with a taste of their legendary ice cream?  All tour-goers will receive a coupon for a free cup of ice cream, courtesy of Crown Candy but redeemable at the Old North Gallery on the day of the tour.

So, while we’ve got you thinking of historic architecture, community revitalization, sustainability, art, and ice cream, now is the time to get your tickets for the big day!

Also, if you’ve got some time this Saturday, it’s not too late to sign up to volunteer to help with a variety of tasks.  All volunteers receive free passes for the tour and can attend the after-tour party.  Contact Claire Wolff at the ONSLRG office (by email: claire@onsl.org or by phone: 314-241-5031) to sign up to volunteer.

Thank you again to all of our sponsors who have made this year’s tour possible, especially PNC Bank for being our lead sponsor.

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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