Missouri Public Policy

Missouri Senate Committee Votes to Slash Historic Tax Credits

by Michael R. Allen

This week the Missouri Senate Committee on Jobs and Economic Development took aim at Missouri’s successful historic rehabilitation tax credit program. By a 9-1 vote, the committee passed to the full Senate a substitute economic development bill (SCS SB120) that would make the following, troubling changes to Missouri’s historic tax credit:

  • Reduction of the cap on historic tax credits to $75 million from $161 million, with a new cap of $10 million imposed on small projects.
  • Reduction of maximum award of historic tax credits for residential properties by 50%.
  • Prohibition of the combination of 9% low income housing tax credits and historic tax credits.
  • Carry back of historic tax credits reduced from ten years to two years.
Mid-Century Modern This Building Matters

This Building Matters #5: Modern St. Louis (Citywide MCM Survey)

Yesterday, the Cultural Resources Office held a public meeting on the ongoing citywide survey of non-residential mid-century modern architecture. Cultural Resources Office Director Betsy Bradley started the meeting with a talk that included slides of the handful of St. Louis non-residential Modern buildings already listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including Pet Plaza and the Nooter Corporation Building. The list is far too small given the wide cultural acceptance of the mid-century modern era.

Part of the public meeting included ranking a list of 40 buildings prepared by Peter Meijer Associates, the architectural firm that is working on the survey project. The 40 buildings and comment forms are online here. Public input will lead to a list of 25-30 buildings recommended for City Landmark designation.

Some of yesterday’s meeting can be seen in this video.

Demolition Gate District Industrial Buildings

SLU Devours Another Building

by Michael R. Allen

This week St. Louis University started wrecking a historic industrial building near the intersection of Chouteau and Grand avenues — not the Pevely Dairy Company Building, but the old Goodwin Manufacturing Company warehouse most recently owned by CATCO. The two-story mill method brick building dates to 1887, and features handsome corbelling and a recessed, raised entrance (its most curious feature). While the building is not greatly uncommon, it has the human scale now largely gone from its surroundings.

The former Goodwin Manufacturing Company factory building at 3318-22 Chouteau Avenue, now under demolition.
North St. Louis Northside Regeneration Old North Public Policy St. Louis Place Uncategorized

The Cost of Northside Regeneration

Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis shows what the area around 22nd and St. Louis avenues looked like in 1875.

In my latest St. Louis Public Radio commentary, “The Cost of Northside Regeneration”, I contrast the slow development of the St. Louis Place neighborhood after John O’Fallon and others filed the Union Addition plat in 1850 with the lumbering, subsidized Northside Regeneration project. Can government incentives substitute for developer risk and the micro-economics of neighborhoods? – Michael R. Allen


Public Meeting on Citywide Non-Residential Mid-Century Modern Survey

The Cultural Resources Office soon will host the first public meeting on the citywide survey of non-residential mid-century modernist architecture. On Monday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m., the meeting starts inside of an appropriate setting: the former L. Douglas Abrams Federal Building at 1520 Market Street, completed in 1961 from plans by Murphy & Mackey with William B. Ittner, Inc.

Last year the Cultural Resources Office issued a request for proposals for a consultant to aid in conducting the survey and developing context statements. Peter Meijer, Architect PC of Portland, Oregon won the bid. (Disclosure: PRO submitted a bid.) Meijer included architectural historian and energetic modernista Christine Madrid French on the team, a very good move and one that hopefully leads to the spirited public engagement that Christine brought to the National Trust’s TrustModern initiative in the past. (Chris’ Twitter feed is a must-read: @archmod.)

One of the purposes of this first public meeting is to gather public input on ranking of 40 buildings selected as potential candidates for further study and potential City Landmark designation. The Cultural Resources Office promises to post information on the survey website as well.

Architects JeffVanderLou Metro East Mid-Century Modern Missouri North St. Louis Pruitt Igoe South St. Louis Southwest Garden Wellston

The Mid-Century Modernism of Marcel Boulicault

by Michael R. Allen

St. Louis architect Marcel Boulicault’s name probably is unfamiliar to you, but a few of his works will draw an “ah ha!” or two. Boulicault is a designer whose contributions to Modern architecture in St. Louis are largely unheralded, but that needs to change. Boulicault (1896 – 1961) is best known for an obtrusive and despised addition to the St. Louis State Hospital, the Louis H. Kohler Building, which stood directly in front of William Rumbold’s domed 1869 County Asylum building. Boulicault also designed the building that became St. Louis Fire Department Headquarters, a major state office building on Jefferson City and other prominent works. Then, there is his patented electric tooth brush — which we will discuss in a moment. Boulicault’s buildings were creative, colorful (and a bit jazzy) but also purposeful — the best mid-century combination.

Highly-idealized rendering of the Kohler Building at St. Louis State Hospital — the flip side of what would happen. Source: Missouri State Archives.
Bohemian Hill South St. Louis

Painted Brick Aside, Bohemian Hill Rehab is Good for the City

by Michael R. Allen

The building at 1717 S. Tucker Boulevard.

1. We don’t like to see anyone paint brick (paint traps moisture and leads to deterioration of the bricks and mortar).

2. We don’t like to see anyone demolishing historic houses on Bohemian Hill (which happened as recently as December).

3. We are pleasantly surprised that a Bohemian Hill house is being rehabilitated on the same street face that just lost a building.

4. Yet we are pretty sure that Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, a city agency, is on auto-pilot with its attempt to destroy the remaining historic buildings of Bohemian Hill.

5. We strongly doubt that clearance of Bohemian Hill will result in the creation of anything but low-wage jobs, or in sales tax revenues that are meaningful once the cost of tax increment financing and other incentives are deducted.

6. We know that the creation of rehabilitated and infill housing units on Bohemian Hill helps the city gain residents, increase property tax revenues and visually improve an area that connects downtown to the south side.

7. Therefore, we forgive the brick painting at 1717 S. Tucker.

Demolition North St. Louis

The Last Gasometer Falls, St. Louis Less Weird

by Michael R. Allen

Ever-alert explorer and geographer Paul Fehler, one of the extraordinary producers behind The Pruitt-Igoe Myth altered me to the fact that something is happening to make St. Louis a whole lot less weird: our last gasometer is being dismantled. The word “gasometer” is not the only weird thing here. The cylindrical steel structure that dominates Laclede Gas Pumping Station N at 3615 Chervolet Avenue near Goody Goody diner in north city is a quirky landmark, whose skeletal form evokes wonder from many.

Alas, not for much longer. Laclede Gas is pulling the gasometer down as fast as one can type “scrap metal prices are high” (the likely cause of this and the removal of the wrecked USS Inaugural on the south riverfront).

Adaptive Reuse Midtown This Building Matters

This Building Matters #4: Morgan Linen (Old Building, New Business)

This Building Matters last visited the demolition site of the Powell Square building near downtown. Everything that Ryan Albritton said about buildings having economic value for entrepreneurs rings true in our latest episode, in which we visited with Amber Giessmann and Christopher Janson of The Space at Morgan Linen.

The Space at Morgan Linen will be a new event space in the historic Dinks Parrish Laundry Building at 3124 Olive Street in Midtown. As the video shows, the Morgan Linen crew was drawn to all of the details that preservationists have long admired. We all see beauty, but some see an excellent place for a new business. Seems that old buildings are good for the local economy.


PRO Cinema: “Between Two Rivers” at Washington University January 30th

Preservation Research Office is happy to help promote education on regional historic preservation issues, so we are pleased to join Washington University in St. Louis’ American Culture Studies Program to publicly screen Between Two Rivers. Between Two Rivers is not a straight-up preservation story, but rather presents the economic, social and racial dynamics that have impacted the physical character of the shrinking city of Cairo, Illinois.

Please join us!