Is More Demolition the Way Forward for The Grove?

A demolition permit is being sought for 4217 and 4221-4225 Arco Avenue in Forest Park Southeast. The single-story brick shotgun homes are owned by Forest Park South East Restoration, aka-Restoration St. Louis, aka-Amy and Amrit Gill. The homes are easily visible from Manchester Avenue, are part of a complete street front and are located in a National Register of Historic Places district.

None of this means that a demolition permit cannot be issued. The question is should it be issued? The buildings have been vacant for several years. One building has recently seen a partial facade collapse (though there's no reason it can't be brought back – see example below). Do 600 sq. ft. century-old homes have a place in the residential future of Forest Park Southeast? Is there a higher use for this land?

The wedge building has been rehabbed for several months without securing a tenant. This mid-Grove intersection may be best suited to serve as a commercial hub for the neighborhood. Not depicted in the image above is the reworked Arco-Manchester intersection providing substantial outdoor seating, space for public art and additional public space, think The Grove's Maryland Plaza.

As of this posting, the property owner had not asked the Park Central FPSE Development Committee for a letter of support. This is generally required before a demolition permit would be issued. In addition, property tax abatement was recently supported by the neighborhood for the current owner to rehab the four properties into rental housing. Each property was purchased for $10-$15K within the past several years and demo costs would be $4K/home. The demolition permit will be considered by the Cultural Resources Office November 22.

{four properties on Arco Avenue may be demolished}

Demolition continues to occur in Forest Park Southeast, though mainly south of Manchester and most recently these have involved derelict properties purchased by a new owner. The homes in the two images below received neighborhood support for demolition.

{homes to be demolished at Newstead and Swan}

{home to be demolished at Newstead and Swan}

{4184 Manchester – Restoration St. Louis building being rebuilt after facade collapse}

{4184 Manchester after facade collapse}

{rear of 4184 Manchester undergoing reconstruction}

UPDATE 11/16/10

Neighborhood support has been given for the demolition of 4217, 4221, 4223 and 4225 Arco Avenue in The Grove. In addition, 4219 is no longer standing. There is no demolition permit and the building came down at some point in the last two months. Apparently a few people pulled the home down in a couple hours on a recent morning. The demolished home was simply pushed into its basement. Two homes at 4223 and 4225 are at a substantial stage of collapse. The photos below were taken this morning and show the extent of damage.

{4219 Arco was demolished recently without a permit}

{4219 Arco demolished and filing the basement}

{partial collapse of 4225 (left) and 4223 Arco (right)}

{rear collapse of 4223 Arco}