City Demolition Policy: A Legislative Perspective

The City’s Preservation Review Ordinance was amended in the late 90’s to exclude parts of North St. Louis city that many thought were not salvageable. This amendment came just as developers were discovering the Historic Preservation Tax Credits and prior to our full understanding the tool’s potential. Areas where preservation review occurred and where historic districts existed saw unprecedented levels of investment over the course of the next two decades.

Today, with development plans that encompass several miles of the city not within a review district and with broad opposition to unnecessary and unwarranted demolition of our greatest cultural asset�����the built environment—having an additional layer of oversight of proposed demolitions is essential. So in late 2013 our office created a “Demolition Docket” with the support of permit data provided by the Building Division. This docket was published online and gave residents real time access to addresses on the chopping block. In the short time it was live, the Demo Docket tracked hundreds of demolitions and drew attention to several significant properties, including the ‘Emergency Demolition’ of the Castle Ballroom, which was sentenced to a quiet death by owners and the City earlier this year.

We’re excited to partner with the Preservation Research Office, which has agreed to maintain the Demolition Docket moving forward and which is better positioned to provide the level of oversight needed. We congratulate Michael Allen and Preservation Research Office staff on the success of 30 Days of Demolition and encourage they continue efforts to protect the architectural history of our fair city.

Michael Powers
Legislative Director
Office of Lewis Reed, President of the Board of Aldermen
City of St. Louis, Missouri

July 2014

“30 Days of Demolition” is supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

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