"We will create the space where business and community take place. The innate, human purpose of the villages as a gathering for all people will be re-discovered. Whether newly created or in response to the needs of existing urban areas, we will pursue these Integrated Developments to the betterment of our customers and the community."
- "LifeWorks" statement from WingHaven.net
That's the stated philosophy of Paul McKee's McEagle development company. Let's go to Old North St. Louis and see it in action, shall we?
- 1311 St. Louis Avenue (Blairmont Associates Ltd. LLC, August 2005, $65,000)
Here's 1311 St. Louis Avenue, just up the street from thriving Crown Candy Kitchen. A beautifully renovated, owner-occupied house stands right next door. The 14th Street Mall is undergoing total reconstruction across the street. Every house on the block of 14th Street to the west is either renovated, or undergoing reconstruction. Sounds like a whole lot of "re-discovering" is going on. McEagle ought to be all over it.
So, what's happening at 1311 St. Louis? This is a very urban building, built to the sidewalk, with storefronts at the street and room for apartments above; it's ripe to be "integrated" into the surrounding urban fabric. Or if McEagle wants "integrated" developments in the racial sense of the word, well, you're not going to beat Old North for that, either.
But despite all this, somehow Blairmont's property just doesn't seem to be working for "the betterment of the community". No, instead it's just sitting there, vacant. And it has done so, in Blairmont's hands, for three years now.
Well, okay, maybe it's kind of remote; after all, it's almost half a block away from the new construction -- that's like a thirty second walk, maybe more! Surely a Blairmont house that's right next door to the renovation will be part of the reconstruction, right?
- 1416 Montgomery Street (Noble Development Co. LLC, September 2006, no price data available)
No?! Man, Paul McKee, where's the love here? What happened to your deep and abiding interest in "a lifestyle built on engagement" where "Neighbor meets neighbor. Lives connect. Families thrive."?
No families thriving at this address.
Old North doesn't need abstract statements about "the urban village" and "all people connecting" -- it's already got all that, organically grown rather than developer-imposed. If the statements above are what Paul McKee truly believes in, then shouldn't he stop obstructing a neighborhood where all of it is actually happening? Isn't it past time for him to step up to the plate and renovate his Old North holdings -- or else sell them off to someone who will actually do something productive with them?
Or does all that talk about connecting and families and values and urban spaces only count for rich exurbanites?
- 1416 Montgomery at the city's Geo St Louis database
- 1311 St. Louis at the city's Geo St Louis database
- The 14th Street Mall aerial view from Maps.Live.com
- More on Blairmont:
Built St. Louis || Ecology of Absence || What Can I Do?