Today the St. Louis Beacon published a commentary by Preservation Research Office Director Michael Allen entitled “The Real Cost of Demolishing Cupples 7″. The article raises several questions, including:
Why can’t the city offer a comparable amount to the demolition funds in escrow for stabilization? The Building Division can’t come in and work on a building not owned by the city, but St. Louis Development Corporation could structure a deal where some money from another sources was available.
At a time when Great Rivers Greenway District has had to go to voters for a sales tax increase, why does the city need more publicly owned green space to maintain? South downtown has more holes than buildings, and does not need another empty space. The walk to Busch Stadium should be activated with retail and activity, not fenced grass.
With Cupples 7, the city is looking at spending almost $2 million in tax dollars to create a fenced lawn where a historic building once stood and remove a property from the tax roles. The venerable warehouse might not be the biggest loss — city government’s ability to protect economic assets and sense of place hang in the balance.