The Remake of Unremarkable and Unloved 3961 Botanical is Great News for St. Louis

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Not every residential rehab in the City of St. Louis is an historic gem. In some ways, the remake of an 1890s brick beauty seems to be so commonplace as to be easy (of course they’re not, and a few thousand more are needed!). Still, it’s when the unattractive, unloved, unremarkable home gets rehabbed that our eyes open a little wider. Here is 3961 Botanical in the city’s Shaw neighborhood, a one-story ranch built in 1961.

The home at 3961 Botanical sold in 2015 for $91,000, which itself is a surprisingly high price for a small home in this condition, even for a very popular part of the city. Now a 3BD, 2BA 1,546 sf, home, it is now listed for sale at $269,900 (the listing). The before and after glory:

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  • Andrew

    That looks like a former HUD house. A friend has one across the street from him in Benton Park and it looks exactly the same. Garcia Properties is rehabbing similar homes throughout the city. Not sure about the quality, but the photos are great.

  • Brian Villa

    $270k seems about right when we’re going for ~$100k more down the street with a second floor. Don’t hate.

  • Adam

    This seemed relevant to the conversation below about preserving economic diversity:

    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/02/baltimore-development-without-displacement/462387/?utm_source=SFFB

    • John R

      thanks for sharing.. sounds like it’s wholesale demo of Baltimore housing w/ little preservation concern. The program targeting disinvested areas in Baltimore may be more akin to trying to stimulate investment in North City than a situation like the Shaw neighborhood, but I agree it is relevant.

      • Adam

        Yeah I actually didn’t read it closely until after I had posted it. You’re right that a north city comparison is probably more appropriate.

  • stef

    Ikea to the rescue!

  • rgbose

    Was this a “HUD house”?

  • Jukaswo

    Oooh, they added a porch and some landscaping to the anterior facade (but kept some of the crappy concrete steps). And those after pictures look suspiciously fake-ish to me. Not impressed.

    • Adam

      did you not notice that they essentially gutted and remade the interior? and i don’t see anything fake about the pictures. they’re staged with furniture that doesn’t come with the house, obviously, as is every house marketed by a professional real estate agent. what would you have preferred? a complete tear-down?

      • Chicagoan

        Yeah, I think they did a great job. I like this more than some faux-historic thing.

    • Adam

      i admit though that the price is outlandish for such a small home.

      • Bob S.

        Location, location, location. Have you checked the prices of the surrounding homes?

        • Alex Ihnen

          If it’s overpriced it won’t sell and the price will come down.

          • matimal

            You shameless free-marketer, you…

          • Alex Ihnen

            Not really, but to expect a developer to voluntarily sell for less doesn’t seem the way to go. Many organizations work to insure affordable housing in St. Louis. It’s an important issue that we absolutely should be paying attention to.

          • matimal

            Suburbia worked because subsidies MADE it work. We have to do the same in St. Louis. Doing rehabs like this can be part of getting supply and demand

          • Stephanie H

            Developers can definitely sell for any price they like (and think will sell). But, neighborhoods can also play a role in finding developers that see an importance in doing affordable rehabs and promoting available properties to them. I am not completely positive on the best or most effective approaches for this, but it is something I have been stewing on. No disrespect to this developer, it looks like they did a lot of work on the house and I appreciate seeing an example of a one-level update that is very appealing. But, I think for those of us that want to see a mix of price points within a neighborhood, we can’t just rely on the market to do that. Particularly in neighborhoods like Shaw that are close to universities and other companies that attract people that are payed well and are often from outside of STL where housing costs a lot more.

          • John R

            Having Tower Grove CDC help the individual neighborhoods develop an affordable housing plan may be a way to move forward. I think that’s easier to do in TGS and SW Gardens than Shaw but I’d like to think there are some creative possibilities.

          • Adam

            True, but we also need to work to maintain income variety in our up-and-coming neighborhoods. That’s what we say we want, anyway. If a house like this sells for upwards of 200K then that seems unlikely to happen in Shaw.

      • moorlander

        There are plenty of condos that size that go for significantly more than this listing price. I could see this being very appealing singles,young couples or empty nesters that want high end finishings with minimal maintenance.

    • pat

      I know the guy who did it. Nothing fake about it. Maybe we should appreciate people that take the time and the risk to flip houses when no one else is willing. The neighborhood should be happy if that home sells for asking.

    • Jami

      What do you mean fake? These pictures were taken by a professional photographer. This is something a lot of realtors skimp on as they lean more on iPhone photos.

    • Mary Cee

      I am guessing that you didnt see the damage on the front of the house…or even the new windows..judging from your comments your house is most likely on Lindell,flora or even compton heights

    • Framer

      These types of pics are pretty standard in real estate these days. They use some kind of lens and filter/app that makes the rooms look bigger and gives that weird kind of ethereal feeling.

    • matimal

      Meeeouwwww! You catty bitch you. That’ll show them how ‘declassee’ they are!

      • Adam

        wow, that is an inappropriate comment. maybe you could refrain from calling people bitches on a public forum (speaking of déclassé)?

  • Stephanie H

    It is great to see how they have rehabbed the place to look more appealing for current tastes, however I hate seeing that price! I have been watching the rehab over the past few months. Given the size of the house, I was hoping this would be developed as an affordable option in Shaw (i.e., at least under $200,000).

    • John R

      Yup, I have concerns about the future of a diverse, inclusive Shaw.

      • moorlander

        We want diversity! (as long as they don’t make too much)

        • John R

          ??? not sure I follow that last bit

          • moorlander

            Um ok. I guess we should start here then…Why do you have concerns about the future of a diverse, inclusive shaw?

          • Alex Ihnen

            Some have expressed concerns about income diversity in the neighborhood as rents and home prices have gone up.

          • moorlander

            Ok so Is it possible to see improvement in the City, for St. Louis to be the Next Great City, without rents and home prices going up….?

          • Alex Ihnen

            I think people wants rents to go up, but for there to be some protection for people who can’t afford market rate. IMO – St. Louis is still a very affordable city and isn’t (and won’t) experience to same price pressures we associate with other cities. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be aware or concerned.

          • matimal

            If rents don’t go up in St. Louis it won’t grow.

          • Adam

            i think the point is that that those who can afford 200K+ are already pretty well represented in the neighborhood.

          • John R

            Because it is becoming less diverse and I don’t believe there is any plan for affordable housing.

          • Alex Ihnen

            I haven’t looked at Shaw demographics in a bit, and again, want to emphasize that this is an important conversation. However, I hear people say The Grove is become less diverse – it’s not, but it is become more white.

            Over the past 20 years, FPSE has seen the following Census #’s:
            1990: 32% white / 65% black
            2000: 18% white / 77% black
            2010: 30% white / 64% black

            I think conversations about changing neighborhoods are necessary, but it’s needs to be more broad. When is a neighborhood determined to be diverse and how much should we resist neighborhood change? Are increasing home prices better or worse than decreasing hoome prices?

          • John R

            Neighborhood change is a complex issue, but embracing affordable housing and other initiatives to retain diversity and inclusiveness as a neighborhood sees more investment is not the same as “resisting change;” it’s just the right and smart thing to do. You mentioned the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood; the Adams Grove affordable housing plan there is a good example of good planning.

            In contrast, Shaw doesn’t have any significant plans to promote affordable housing as far as I’m aware. and that is a concern for me, especially in light of the massive decline in the number of blacks in the neighborhood in recent years.

          • matimal

            If we’re discussing changing st. Louis neighorhoods, we should discuss changing neighborhoods in north county and St. Charles for that matter.

  • Terry

    Cute, at full price I’d demand some concrete stairs and they finish the garage. I’ve had one of those carports with a door before.

    • Terry

      Damn, they didn’t even put a garage door on it.

      • Terry

        Nevermind, I just saw who the flippers are

        • Mary Cee

          What does this mean…he did more then flip..he recreated from the ground up

          • Terry

            They’re flippers, they buy low, rehab, and sell. I’ve seen many of their properties. They’re not bad but they always seem to stop just short of perfection but charge perfection prices. In this case for top dollar they couldn’t finish the garage? Cheap wooden stairs in the front? JMO.

      • Alex Ihnen

        REALLY hope pics were taken before the garage door was installed. I don’t like these carports, but they’re common around the city as a vastly cheaper alternative to an enclosed garage.

        • Stephanie H

          I think the carport is there to stay. Makes the price even more shocking.

        • thomas h benton

          Politely beg to differ on the carports. You get about 80% of the benefit cost at 50% of the price. Dry car, no frost (really), and you can use the carport as a covered seating area.

          • Alex Ihnen

            I store a whole lot of stuff in my garage – power tools, bikes, strollers, luggage rack, rakes, shovels, etc. That’s hard to do in an open carport. I get that they’re a lot nicer than nothing and I understand they’re done because of cost.

          • Jami

            The carport is a great way to make use of the backyard for parking and entertaining. It’s very functional.

        • Jami

          The garage door was installed yesterday and wrought iron railings were installed late last week. Drive past it and you’ll see how great this house looks!

  • Mike B

    Shows that with a little creativity, any building can add to the built environment.

  • jim

    In the words of Mugatu, “Shaw is sooo hot right now.”

  • RJ

    While this is a vast improvement between before and after, I too often see in many city neighborhoods that all the other housing stock on this block or in the neighborhood will be two stories, why do we allow a one story house here?

    • thomas h benton

      this was built in 1961. probably no restrictions at that point.

      • Eric

        The Shaw Neighborhood became a Certified Local Historic District in 1985. From that point forward, anything that doesn’t conform needs a variance from the Cultural Resources Office.

    • Mary Cee

      I am guessing you are a structral engineer