Fountain Park Landmark May See Stabilization Work

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Fountain Park - corner buildingA well-known Fountain Park landmark may be stabilized in the near future. A $20,000 permit application for interior and exterior alterations has been received by the city from Titsworth Properties, LLC. This follows a quick survey by nextSTL of the site that found further deterioration of the building's roof. The St. Louis Neighborhood Development Blog then featured the building and now has news of the permit application. Vacant since 1989, the building barely escaped demolition in both 1996 and 2006, according to Toby Weiss on her B.E.L.T. site.

The buildings are owned by Titsworth Properties LLC, an entity registered to an attorney in Clayton and an owner address near Fountain Park. This is the only property owned by the LLC. Since purchasing the building in 2006, the owner has applied for building permits of $25,000 in 2008 and 2010, only to let them expire. The permit amounts are small, but enough to secure the building and perhaps prevent further deterioration.

Fountain Park - corner building

According to the city website, property taxes for 2011 and 2012 are delinquent, not an uncommon finding given that three years delinquency could mean the property goes to a public tax sale. The total taxes owned are $546.15. In many ways, the building typifies large parts of the city. It's sat vacant for decades now, yet still stands owing to its craftsmanship and resilience of brick. It possesses incredible potential and yet is surely marked by many as an eyesore that should have been demolished years ago. With any luck, the third building application permit has a different outcome than the last two. Click here to take a photo tour of the Founatin Park neighborhood.

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  • guest

    One of the highest crime areas of St. Louis. Open air drug dealing runs rampant on Euclid near the abandoned Hodiamont line.

    • Adam

      what does your comment have to do with this post?

      • guest

        Simple. The context of the post is a lack of investment in the subject property/Fountain Park area. The comment helps to provide background for the context. The area is high crime. Do high crime areas have a harder time attracting investment? Apparently so. Make sense now?

        • Adam

          my apologies; i should have said “What are you trying to accomplish with that comment?” this post is about the stabilization of a beloved building. everybody reading this already knows about the context.

          • guest

            That’s the rub. I don’t know I agree the building is all that “beloved”. Especially if real love is more than mere words.

            The owner(s) of this building have let it rot to a state of decay where a $20,000 permit today is a drop in the bucket.

            Building lovers love it when others put money into their properties. But if buildings like this one are beloved *by the community*, then the community should write a check to help preserve it – and that should have happened years ago.

            Instead, Fountain Park struggles with rampant crime, buildings rot, and the real estate market in the neighborhood is under water.

            If St. Louis is to get serious about historic preservation, especially in its “weak market” neighborhoods, then it’s going to have to get serious about where and when it will put money behind such efforts. Bemoaning demolition after demolition is more mere words, not love in action.

            It’s clear in the case of the “Fountain Park Castle”, that hasn’t happened yet. And if someday the building is indeed demolished, look back to this day when preservationists talked about how “beloved” the building is, but did nothing to “kickstart” it’s preservation.

          • Thank you, stranger.

          • guest

            Thank you, Michael! :-). And if there was an edit function, that last sentence would have read:

            “And if someday the building is indeed demolished, look back to this day when preservationists talked about how “beloved” the building *was*, but did nothing to “kickstart” *its* preservation.

            Ciao!

          • daSchool

            Blame the “preservationists”! (it’s the cool thing to do)

          • Adam

            great, but i asked what you were trying to accomplish with your original post. instead, you went off on a tangent about “beloved”. on that point, how much money have you, yourself, donated to kick-starter campaigns to save buildings? i’ve donated to a couple of different Old North projects, but i’m a student and don’t have much extra to throw around at the moment. the kick-starters are fine and good, but it’s completely unrealistic to expect kick-starters to rescue every deteriorating building in St. Louis. and in many cases, such as this one, any kick-starter would have to be endorsed by the owner of the building. the city needs a more comprehensive, formal program. revising the charter so that building code violations receive higher fines would be a good start, and as soon as i move back to st. louis i’ll be more than happy to take part in that effort. as soon as i start earning a living wage i’ll happily contribute more than i already do to preservation efforts as well. as to my original response, i guess i’m just tired of reading negativity everywhere all the time about everything, even in response to good news.

          • guest

            Glad you’re coming back to STL. STL needs more people willing to spend money to create markets to build demand. If the Fountain Park Castle were located in Webster Groves, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

            But it’s not. It’s in north city, where property owners struggle to maintain buildings. We agree there needs to be more resource to save these buildings. The question is, when does neighborhood preservation become a regional/national priority?

            Understand that federal appropriations for this purpose in cities have been cut drastically for the past ten years.

            And while you may perceive this conversation, realize it’s reality. To have a real discussion, we need to be dealing in the here and now. These “red brick mamas” don’t stay up by themselves.

          • guest

            “…perceive this conversation *as negative*…

          • guester

            These kind of comments just suck. No one’s allowed to like a building unless they themselves write a check to preserve it. What a perverse view of the world and this city. Somehow those who bring attention to buildings that need investment are the ones to blame. It’s a “weak market” and “action” is needed, not “mere words”. What B.S. This is nothing more than an ignorant way to define someone’s concern as being invalid. Anyone want to write up a post to highlight what pure capitalism, the market, without any subsidy or value placed on historic buildings would look like in St. Louis? Oh no, you punk “preservationists”, it’s time to shut up about places that make St. Louis unique…that is, unless, and only unless you can write a check yourself. In other words, STFU, the city doesn’t need you unless you’re sitting on a pile of cash.

          • guest

            Everyone’s allowed to “like” a building, and everyone’s allowed to “pioneer” in North City (talk about a term that sucks!). For people new to the conversation, the Fountain Park “Castle” has been in abandoned state for what, twenty years? Getting romantic about is wonderful. Write a poem! But saving the building takes action, and lot more than twenty grand.

            Start small. Work on your own block. Move in to the city. Pay city taxes. Vote. Testify on development issues. Get engaged. This isn’t a STFU exercise. It’s civics. And to the final point re. development w/o subsidy, guess what. You win the prize!

            What saved Wash Ave? Subsidy. Subsidy in the form of the state historic tax credit. So what’s next? Saving Fountain Park? Saving Gravois Park? Saving the state historic tax credit? Hmmm?

            As said previously – get engaged.

  • funnyname

    LOL, Titsworth

  • fpse

    Thanks for posting! I love this building and neighborhood, and have not been up there in a while. I hope they can get it stabilized.