Five New Homes Coming to Tower Grove Neighborhoods in 2015

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Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC), in partnership with Rubicon Development, will construct five new single family homes on formerly LRA-owned vacant lots in the Shaw and Tower Grove South neighborhoods this year. The development is courtesy of $620,000 in gap financing provided by a combination of sources that includes City Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for housing production. The homes to be constructed are for owner-occupants.

A link to the TGNCDC announcement of the funding award is here.

Also from that link are the project site addresses and a couple renderings:

1. 4056-58 Detonty (Shaw neighborhood)
2. 3279 Alfred (Tower Grove South neighborhood)
3. 3283 Alfred (Tower Grove South neighborhood)
4. 3884 Fairview (Tower Grove South neighborhood)
5. 3504 S. Spring (Tower Grove South neighborhood)

15' wide brochure Model (1)

3504 S Spring Brochure Model (1)



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  • Chris

    These look great. This whole area will see a load of progress this year. Really nice to see. Very proper.

  • Guest

    Build it and they will come is the idea. I think it is a good idea that a handful of new construction is used as in-fill. Some buildings are so old that rehabbing is not such a good idea. I wish more new construction in-fill could be built. It enhances the neighborhood.

  • Brian

    Could anyone take a few paragraphs to explain why new construction is better than rehabbing some of the many available and serviceable extant structures?

  • Mike F

    Yay, new construction. Faux-historic, boring. Meh.

    • Brian

      Faux-historic, yes, but they fit with the surrounding structures in intact neighborhoods where variety is limited. Sometimes new and bold does not make sense. Consider the Adrian Luchini-designed house in the 4000 block of Juniata. It is a unique structure in the Tower Grove South neighborhood, and sat on the market for 3 years. It only sold in 2013 after the asking price dropped from $238 to $156. A unique, non-boring home can delight the architect and original buyer, but can be tough sell on the secondary market in a neighborhood filled with boring, but serviceable housing.

      • Mike F

        I believe that you may have misinterpreted or misunderstood my statement.

        1. I am well familiar with the surrounding vernacular in the neighborhood, including the peculiar Luchini house, and its (if I recall correctly; the StreetView is obscured by summer foliage, and dang it! I forgot to go down and take another look at it) near (?) window-less side elevation. The majority of the houses in the vicinity are quite attractive, but then again, I’m easy. Boring? Hardly. Some are better, some just ok. I think one of the problems with the Luchini house is the vinyl siding, amongst others. Am I looking for bold? Not really, but at least give me something I can look at and think, “Yeah, they tried. Not always perfectly, but they tried”. There is very little try with these designs.

        2. I am first and foremost a preservationist, but I am also a modernist (Quelle d’horreurs!). So, I come to the objection to faux from two angles:

        a. It often is poorly executed. Proportions are often completely off, with particular problems with the fenestration (doors, windows); brick bonds and brick work are rather pedestrian, and I’ve noticed that brick color selection is just plain inappropriate (I wonder when pink became acceptable as a brick color). Not to mention that I’ve seen more than my fair share of faux wherein the builder can’t seem to tell the difference between the basement and the first floor, and installs one continuous face of brick from foundation to cornice (if it has the latter at all). C’mon, fellas, ever heard of soldiering? Diapering? English bond? Real brick mold, and not just braked sheet metal? Anything? Beuller?

        b. Let me say this first about modernism: Simply because someone designs something with “clean lines”, or simple (NOT simplistic; is half this country semi-literate?) appointments, with little to no finishing detail, doesn’t mean that it is “modern”. It may simply mean that the builder was cheap, and the architect not terribly competent or knowledgeable about the modern aesthetic. There are some good examples of modern residential design in the City, but the one I admire most is that of the Garcia residence on Miami, designed by the estimable Killeen Studio. Brilliant work. So that at least would be a good example of what could have gone here.

        3. When it comes to faux, the worst thing about it is that it is very often painfully boring, most often because the workmanship and the details present in historic buildings simply cannot be reproduced by modern materials, construction methods, or workmanship. So we end up with something that is about as noteworthy as one of those abandoned HUD houses on the North side. As well, faux is often designed for the neighborhood now, not the neighborhood future, ie., it is a product of least common denominator thinking, and any thoughts on erecting something which will have greater value, and create a timeless imprint in the future are dismissed by the perceived necessity of having SOMETHING occupying a vacant lot. Personally, I’d rather have a vacant lot next to me than a so-so executed house.

        These houses are fine, but inspire nothing more than a shrug, hence, Meh.

        • TGNCDC


          I’m Sean Spencer, executive director of TGNCDC, and these are our projects. I love all the discussion around the projects. Our objective for developing these lots is four fold:

          1. Remove city owned real estate from our inventory thereby eliminate carrying costs to St. Louis City.

          2. On these mostly intact blocks, construct new homes which fit into the continuity of the other homes on the street.

          3. Create new home ownership opportunities to those who may be priced out of the current market. These are 120% to AMI which means a family of 4 can make up to 80500 in household income to purchase the home.

          4. Target areas for redevelopment that are close to nodes of strength. We can build the market and strengthen areas of opportunity by piggybacking other, already successful parts of the neighborhood.

          More home owners helps stabilize blocks and revitalize neighborhoods.

          TGNCDC is working on other projects where more contemporary design will be a better fit. And I look forward to completing them.

    • Guest

      Then go spend your career working on contemporary projects, most of which end up in a landfill after 25 years. Sorry that proven architectural designs bother you.

      • Mike F

        If by proven you mean a lackluster knock-off of extant structures, then yes, they do bother me.

        Thank you, BTW, for inferring that I have a career–presumably in architecture. That was rather nice, if albeit unintentional.

        I am but a simple blue collar worker (though I did aspire to be an architect when I was younger).

      • jhoff1257

        Going to have to disagree. What makes our historic built environment work today is the materials, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and methods of construction from that day and age. These may “look” like historic homes but they will be built with the same materials, craftsmanship, and methods that are used to construct today’s more “contemporary” projects. If they were building these homes to the exact standards as they were built originally you’d have a point. There are 150 year old houses in the city today that will be standing long after these come down. Architectural design is important but isn’t worth a damn when you use cheap materials and cheap craftsmanship.