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Abandonment Housing JeffVanderLou LRA North St. Louis

Abandoned in Less Than Thirty Years

by Michael R. Allen

The sight of abandoned buildings less than thirty years old can be particularly unsettling. Urban housing that has been built and abandoned within a thirty year time frame tells a tale of acute failure. Blame it on the design, cheap construction, bad tenants or shady landlords — no matter. That a society can discard relatively new buildings shows fundamental problems with our values.

These buildings in JeffVanderLou are good examples.

The two-story apartment building at 3032 Sheridan Avenue was built in 1980 and boarded up in 2008. The owner is JVL 1998 Apartments LLC, whose organizers are Mark Jaffe and Martin Jaffe according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The frame building stands on a concrete foundation. While not particularly attractive, the scale, fenestration and setback are fairly urban. The high basement creates another level of living space and maxinmizes density — perhaps that is too much when there are not separate external entrances?

The two-story apartment building at 3042 Sheridan Avenue was built in 1980 and vacated in 2002. The owner is JVL 1998 Apartments LLC. Even smaller than its next-door neighbor, this building is not doomed by its decent (not great) design.

This pair of two-story apartment buidlings on platform founations stands east of the other two, at 148 and 1418 Glasgow Avenue. City records indicate that these buildings were built in 1978. Now owned by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority, the buildings were owned in 2007 by JVL Affordable Housing LP, a subsidiary of Austin, Texas-based Delphi Affordable Housing Group. Delphi must have defaulted on its property taxes here. Delphi purchased these and dozens more in JVL, St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou from an Arizona-based company in 2005. The Arizona company had run the properties in the ground. Delphi rehabilitated most of its inventory, but many of its buildings again have become the source of frequent citizen complaints about nuisances and drug dealing.

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