by Michael R. Allen
This week I received an e-mail about 3244 Iowa Avenue (pictured above) from JoAnn Vatcha, Housing Analyst for the Community Development Administration. The email stated that the city was issuing a “last chance” call to respond to a Request for Proposals issued last year for the beleaguered property.
The diminutive 19th century alley house — 600 square feet — in Benton Park West is owned by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority and has been considered a vacant building by the Building Division since 2003. The citizen complaints on the house keep coming, and the front wall has suffered spalling. Still, the house is in sound shape and is just a block off of Cherokee Street. This block is intact with historic buildings lining both sides of the street, and its loss would create a hole. The small size is perfect for a single person or couple wanting to be close to the buzz of Cherokee.
Hopefully a developer will answer the call. Meanwhile, some cities have historic preservation organizations that buy, rehab and sell houses that are facing the “last chance.” Should St. Louis follow suit?
(The city has posted all residential building RFPs here.)