by Michael R. Allen
Photo from Land Reutilization Authority.
This three-story commercial building with a distinctive chamfered corner stands at 3500 N. Grand Boulevard (northeast corner of Grand and Hebert) in the Lindell Park neighborhood. Formerly home to a bank, this building in the Classical Revival style was built in 1909.
This is just one of the thousands of properties owned by the city’s holding agency, the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). LRA seeks $15,000 for this building — a price below market value. A recent sales contract fell through and the building is again on the featured properties section of LRA’s website.
Last September, I published a blog entry entitled “LRA’s Problem With Marketing: It Needs to Start.” I chastised LRA for leaving properties that had sold in the featured properties list without adding new ones. One year later, I am pleased to report that LRA’s website features only available properties on this list. I am not pleased to report that the online list still represents the bulk of LRA’s marketing efforts.
While many blame LRA itself, that’s a cop out. As a municipal authority, LRA is hidebound to funding and operational binds placed on it by those with budgetary and legislative authority. Ultimately, each of us city residents is a stakeholder in LRA. LRA’s staff cannot effect major and necessary policy changes related to the disposition of city-owned buildings and land — but our elected representatives can.