Blight, Tax Abatement, Eminent Domain, Tax Credits, and Vision Create Nathaniel Rivers Place Project

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Blight, tax abatement, eminent domain, and tax credits get a lot of attention in some parts of St. Louis City. In other parts, not so much. With the help of all-of-the-above and a dose of vision, a low-income residential project is set to rise on an acre-and-a-half of city-owned land in the 22nd Ward at the corner of Granville Place and Minerva Avenue.

The project will construct 32 apartments for low-income individuals with serious disabilities. The project site is comprised of 22 parcels, 21 were city-owned, with two having vacant residential buildings that will be demolished. The vacant parcels have been empty for three decades in some cases.

The other lot was added via eminent domain after the city discovered the owner of record was murdered about 25 years ago. For some reason, the parcel was listed as tax-exempt until recently and property taxes were never paid.

Nathaniel Rivers Place is planned as five residential buildings: a 24-unit apartment building, and four duplexes. Plans show the larger building with 12 1BD, 12 2BD units, and the duplexes with 3BD units. The nearly $7M project will utilize MHDC & Federal Low Income Tax Credits, MHDC Home Funds, and has received a 15-year 100% tax abatement.

The project will include on-site clinical support 24/7. With construction bids due the first of next month, the project is on schedule to begin this spring. Developed by Gateway Housing First, the project received a $285,000 loan from CSH. The site is located in the city’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood.



Two homes to be demolished:

{1372 Granville Place (at left)}{1365 Granville Place}

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  • Andy

    Why the vehicle entrance on Granville Place? Isn’t this the whole point of the alley?

    Not a fan of the parking lot on Minerva. In my opinion, these surface lots really are no better than the empty lots that were there before them.

    • rgbose

      Worse in terms of stormwater runoff which MSD is spending money to tear down buildings to combat.

    • rgbose

      And since the parking lot is tax abated, it won’t pay the stormwater property tax.

  • Brian Ireland

    Eminent domain action is rarely acceptable. However, utilizing blight, tax abatements and tax credits in the 22nd Ward and other areas of north St. Louis is practical, even necessary. Unfortunately, these tools are being abused to the city’s detriment in the Central West End and downtown. @LarryRice4Mayor

  • rgbose

    Why so much parking? Do low-income individuals with serious disabilities have that many cars?

    • stlnative

      40 spots for 60 bedrooms seems reasonable to me.

    • Yes. And so do their guests, and the health workers who will be assisting them. I’d say 40 spots for 60 bedrooms is pretty minimal.

      • rgbose

        Plus >30 on street spots.

  • John

    Great and useful purpose behind this project. It would be nice to see more brick and less siding, but I understand construction costs. I wish brick was more affordable and prevalent in this part of the country as it seems to be in Oklahoma and Texas. Overall, this looks like a positive development that will help and care for residents. Thanks for reporting this story.

    • STLOKC

      Not to get off the subject of this promising development, but as someone who grew up in Oklahoma City, I have always wondered why St. Louis, with such a tradition of brick, has had to resort to siding in present-day developments. New homes in OKC are full-brick on all four sides, even those of modest size and price point. Is brick just cheaper down there? Or is it demand? If they tried to build the types of neighborhoods in suburban OKC that one sees in St. Charles, the developers would be laughed out of business. This has always perplexed me.

      • Brick is a city thing, and I suspect the preference for no brick in St. Charles et al. is to make it very clear that they do NOT live in the city.

        • jhoff1257

          I don’t know about that, I grew up in the County and my parents demanded a full brick house from the builder. Most houses in our area have brick fronts but siding on the other 3 sides. I’d say it has more to do with cheap suburban construction and builders choosing easy materials because they were building the same house 3 dozen times over in a single subdivision.

      • jhoff1257

        A lot of that brick is coming from St. Louis.
        Maybe if you folks further south would quit stealing it we could reuse it. Obviously I’m just messing with ya 🙂 Check out the video below, it’s a little over an hour, but very well worth the watch. Details St. Louis’ history as a brick mining town, the types of architecture we have and why and how we got it, and also what’s happening to all that brick when a house comes down. Very, very good watch if you’re into St. Louis history.

        As far as the look of St. Chuck, that’s what just about every upper-midwest suburban house I’ve ever seen looks like. It’s even worse in KC, they use an odd wooden type siding that rots super easy. Never seen it anywhere else but in their suburbs.

      • Chris

        Labor cost is higher in St. Louis.