by Michael R. Allen
If one studies the map of Blairmont holdings that we posted last month, an interersting picture emerges. Besides other concentrations that I have noted, all of the holdings seem to center on one site: the vacant site of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project.
All of the holdings fan out from that location, a city-owned mega-parcel frequently discussed as the nexus of new development on the near north side. Recall that nearly ten years ago the administration of Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr. embraced a plan to build an 18-hole golf course surrounded by suburban-style housing, using the Pruitt-Igoe site and much of the St. Louis Place neighborhood.
Jump forward to 1999-2000, and one may remember the Fifth Ward Land Use Plan created by Schweyte Architects and vigorously opposed by architects and preservationists, including the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, Landmarks Association and former St. Louis Place resident Robert Myers. That plan called for the demolition of hundreds of buildings located in the footprint in which Blairmont has been purchasing its holdings. The Pruitt-Igoe site was key to the recommendations of that plan, which seems to be one guide to Blairmont’s scope of activities.
Is the Pruitt-Igoe site key to whatever project Blairmont might be concocting? It’s hard to say without word from the company’s representatives. But it seems that acquisition of that site is essential to any development Blairmont may be planning.