There’s great news in Dutchtown as we enter 2022: Lutheran Development Group has received funding for Marquette Homes, a transformative project that will bring 60 new and rehabbed affordable housing units to the neighborhood!
What Is Marquette Homes?
The Marquette Homes project includes 14 buildings and lots that will comprise over 54,000 square feet of residential space, as well as one small commercial unit, throughout the northern portion of Dutchtown and into Gravois Park. Lutheran Development Group will execute the project in partnership with Rise Community Development. Following environmental and historic reviews, construction should kick off in the next 10 to 18 months and be complete approximately a year after the start date.
Marquette Homes will bring 60 affordable residential apartments to the Greater Dutchtown neighborhood—32 rehabbed units and 28 new construction units. Of those units, ten will be one-bedroom apartments, 14 will be two-bedroom units, and 36 will feature three bedrooms. The three-bedroom units are an especially important addition to the neighborhood’s housing stock, as many available units are smaller and only feature one or two bedrooms. Monthly rents will range from $390 to $885. To qualify for rental, most applicants must earn at or below 60% of the area median gross income (AMGI). Some units require an income of 30% AMGI.
Marquette Homes Properties
Lutheran Development Group is well known for taking on particularly challenging projects, and Marquette Homes is no exception. “We always try to do the most good with the resources we are given,” says Chris Shearman, Executive Director of Lutheran Development Group. The Marquette Homes project will tackle long-vacant lots and old buildings in need of serious major repairs. Below are the 14 properties included in the Marquette Homes project.
3845 Pennsylvania Avenue
This overgrown vacant lot between Chippewa and Keokuk will return to life with new residential construction on the empty parcel owned by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority (LRA).
4006 Pennsylvania Avenue
A modest four-family apartment building in need of significant repairs will inject some new life just a block away from Marquette Park.
3208 Chippewa Street
Further west on Chippewa, this double lot on a hill features a diminutive old home that has slowly been returning to nature for the last two decades under the ownership of the LRA.
3012 Chippewa Street
This vacant lot, empty for ten years, will fill in the space between multi-family housing and a mixed-use property that is currently undergoing a massive rehabilitation. The project is just half a block away from Lutheran Development Group’s headquarters at Chippewa and Minnesota.
3922 Louisiana Avenue
This sturdy four-family flat at Louisiana and Alberta will see new rehab and a return to quality affordable housing in Dutchtown.
3931 Minnesota Avenue
Featuring white glazed “bakery” brick across the front, this lovely four-family flat will come back to life on brick-paved Minnesota, just half a block north of the Marquette Recreation Center and Thomas Dunn Learning Center.
3656 South Compton Avenue
This long-vacant lot at Compton and Winnebago will bring new housing units to this corner just a block from the Gravois Park’s namesake neighborhood green space.
3721, 3729, and 3733 Tennessee Avenue
These three unsold lots are located in the incomplete Keystone Place housing development. The subdivision, mostly built in the early 2000s, will finally see new construction rise to fill in several of the gaps. The lots were all assigned to the LRA after the developer went bust around the time of the housing crash.
3734 South Compton Avenue
Near the Dutchtown–Gravois Park border, this handsome four-family flat will see the boards come off its windows and doors soon.
3544 and 3548 Minnesota Avenue
A pair of vacant and boarded apartment buildings between Miami and Potomac, these four-family buildings have been spared from the wrecking ball and will return to life in Gravois Park.
3305 Meramec Street
Perhaps the crown jewel of the Marquette Homes project, this three-story building in the heart of Downtown Dutchtown will see a massive rehab project undertaken. Vacant for nearly 15 years, the building will feature a vital commercial space at street level and apartments above.
How Is the Project Funded?
The primary funding source for the Marquette Homes project is the sale of federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). In addition, the project will receive Historic Tax Credits, funding from the City of St. Louis, and a loan that will be paid through future rents. The total cost of the project is over $16.5 million, an amazing and much-needed injection of capital into the disinvested Greater Dutchtown neighborhood.
Lutheran Development Group has been pursuing the tax credits for over five years, facing an uphill battle securing the credits through a highly competitive process with the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC). Between 2018 and 2020, the State of Missouri in fact stopped matching federal LIHTC awards, placing an even greater strain on the availability of these tax credits that are so vital to the development of affordable housing in Missouri. The partial LIHTC match returned in late 2020. “The need for affordable housing is so great, yet the resources are limited,” says Shearman. Competing with other developers for a piece of the LIHTC pie is no easy task.
Continued refinement of the project finally resulted in a successful award of LIHTC in December of 2021. The project has support across the board from St. Louis officials including 25th Ward Alderman Shane Cohn, 20th Ward Alderwoman Cara Spencer, Mayor Tishaura Jones, 78th District State Representative Rasheen Aldridge, 5th District State Senator Steve Roberts, St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams, and St. Louis Housing Authority Executive Director Alana C. Green.
Lutheran Development Group
Lutheran Development Group’s mission can be distilled into one phrase: “Love thy neighbor.” Though a faith-based organization, Lutheran Development Group’s work reaches beyond theological boundaries to promote safe housing and access to opportunities.
Lutheran Development Group was established in 2015 with the aim of raising up the communities around their churches. The Lutheran Church, with its German forebearers, has extensive roots in the Greater Dutchtown area. The neighborhood was once home to Concordia Seminary. Holy Cross Lutheran Church, on Miami Street in Gravois Park, was established in the 1850s and remains a neighborhood anchor to this day. Lutheran Development Group partnered with Holy Cross to establish Intersect Arts Center and Eagle College Preparatory School, just east of the church.
Other Lutheran Development Group Projects
Baden School Apartments
In the latest round of LIHTC funding, Lutheran Development Group also secured tax credits for their Baden School Apartments project on the North Side. The project will transform the 1907 William Ittner-designed elementary school on Halls Ferry Road into 50 affordable apartments. Like Dutchtown, Baden has extensive roots in the German Lutheran community, has suffered from disinvestment in recent decades, and is poised for a rebound thanks to persistent neighbors and new investments such as the Baden School Apartments.
Back in the Greater Dutchtown area, Lutheran Development Group delivered the Chippewa Park project in 2018. Chippewa Park includes 15 rehabbed buildings containing 46 affordable housing units and three commercial spaces. After completion, Lutheran Development Group moved their headquarters to a beautiful new space at Chippewa and Minnesota and set up their Rooted Property Management office across the street.
East Fox Homes
One of Lutheran Development Group’s first projects was East Fox Homes. The project included twelve severely deteriorated buildings in the Fox Park and Tower Grove East neighborhoods to the north of Dutchtown. In partnership with Messiah Lutheran Church and Rise Community Development, Lutheran Development Group demonstrated their ability to take on difficult but impactful projects on the South Side.
This article was originally published at DutchtownSTL.org, an outlet for Dutchtown news, resources, and information that is a joint effort of Dutchtown Main Streets, the Dutchtown Community Improvement District, and other neighborhood partners.