*Note* 4046 is the building to the right in the image above.
A demolition permit application for 4046 Laclede in the Central West End neighborhood was summitted April 5, 2022. It is located within a preservation review district, but it is within the CORTEX West Redevelopment Corporation’s redevelopment area. Since it is a Chapter 353 redevelopment corporation, the demolition will not be reviewed by the Cultural Resources Office nor the Preservation Board. Instead it’s up to CORTEX. A permit for a tap destroy has already been issued- a sign that the end is near.
Six residential buildings on the 4300 block of Forest Park Avenue were razed by Washington University last year. They too were within the CORTEX redevelopment area. The writing has been on the wall since 2006 when the city passed Ordinance 66985, the CORTEX redevelopment plan. The six buildings on Forest Park Ave and six residential buildings on 4000 Laclede are called out for demolition and new construction.
How threatened are the six buildings on Laclede? 4040-42, 4044, 4046, and 4048 have the same owner, Adam Strauss and Amy Massie. They have owned them since 2002. Strauss is the son of Leon Strauss and step-son of Mary Strauss who famously saved the Fox Theatre from the wrecking ball. The vacant land to the east looks ripe for development. 4038 is owned by someone in Swansea, IL. Two of the four units in 4034-36 have an owner address in Wildwood and the other two have an owner address in Southampton. None have had substantial work done to them in the last ten years, according to building permit records. All this doesn’t bode well.
It sounds like CORTEX has eminent domain power
Section 4: It is found, determined and declared that there exists a necessity for the granting of the power of eminent domain to the Developer, that the granting of such power of eminent domain is in the public interest and serves the public purposes expressed Ordinance No. 66847, and Chapter 353, R.S.Mo. 2000, and that there is hereby granted to the Developer a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity authorizing and empowering it to acquire by eminent domain or otherwise, in its name, or in the name of and on behalf of the City, all or part of the real property, or any interest therein, in the Redevelopment Area, provided, however, that the power of eminent domain shall only be exercised as provided in the Development Plan. The Developer shall have the authority and power of eminent domain as set forth in Section 353.130, R.S.Mo. 2000, as amended and as provided for in the Development Plan.Ordinance 66985 p. 2
Fine-grained development is a plus for an area. Replacing these with a higher-productivity land use has positives too. The vacant land to the east has 375 feet of frontage, surely plenty for new build(s). There are already some buildings on large parcels nearby like the West Pine Lofts. A variety of sizes interleaved makes for an interesting place.
Strong Towns – Fine-Grained vs. Coarse-Grained Urbanism
Note the buildings with New Market Hardware and Scottish Arms are also in the CORTEX redevelopment area. Let’s hope their positive contribution to the built environment and the neighborhood are recognized by CORTEX.