Sunday, August 24, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 171

  • 2534 University Street (N & G Ventures LLC, May 2006, $69,000)

May 2008

2534 is a simple two-story house, with the dark brown brick and diamond patterns typical of early 1900s houses in the neighborhood. The missing second-floor windows are also typical of Blairmont's older purchases. The city's records show the house only became vacant under Paul McKee's ownership.

June 2002 - photograph by Kevin Kieffer

The lot next door at 2532 University, meanwhile, had a house on it when Blairmont acquired it. The building is gone today.

June 2002 - photograph by Kevin Kieffer

A note: With this post, the Daily Dose will be taking a hiatus of roughly two weeks. It was bound to happen sooner or later: after 170 posts, I've finally run out of photographs, apart from a few special cases I'm saving for later. I anticipate being in St. Louis soon, and have several McKee properties still to photograph; updates will resume thereafter.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 170

  • 2742 Cass Avenue (Larmer LLC, April 2008)

May 2008
  • 2718 Cass Avenue (Larmer LLC, April 2008)

May 2008

These two buildings, like the ones across the street, were working buildings for the auto salvage/scrap yards surrounding them.

The corner building is the more interesting of the pair. It was condemned for demolition in 2006, but just can't seem to be destroyed; two demo permits pulled in 2007 both expired. Its back wall has collapsed... or been wrecked, or possibly brick rustled; it's hard to tell.

In better times, it hosted a corner store, or possibly a restaurant, or possibly two... again, it's hard to tell, as a painted sign advertises "Cass Chop Suey", "E & J Fish House Express", and "C & K Food Mart". Housing all three in one building would seem to be quite a feat, but then, one should not underestimate the ingenuity of urban entrepreneurs. And yes, those are still the original cast iron storefront columns behind that pink paint.

February 2008

The other building has had some piecemeal additions on the cheap. Any architectural ornament it possessed has been lost to the ages.

Okay, Mr. McKee, you wanna tear this one down and build something new in its place? This time, just this one time, I won't object. Just... you might wanna check with the EPA first, 'cause I bet there's a whole mess of chemicals and nastiness on that site.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 169

  • 3509 North Market Street (Larmer LLC, January 2008)

May 2008

Here's yet another example of the fine-scaled, mixed-use economy that once defined the urban neighborhood: store on the ground level (most recently Grand View Market - "If you don't see it, please ask, we may have it"), apartments above and (somewhat unusual) next door as well. It's a model whose decline has been devastating to the built environment. Blairmont bought the place this year, from a couple who've owned it for at least a decade.

The city boarded the place up shortly after these photos were taken.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 168

  • 1909 Laflin Street (Larmer LLC, April 2008, $65,000)

February 2008

Can't comment on the condition of this one; the photographs predate Paul McKee's purchase of the house (you can tell, see, because it's actually been boarded up.) It's another lone survivor in central JeffVanderLou's urban prairieland.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 167

  • 2602 Garrison Street (Larmer LLC, March 2008)

February 2008

It's a lonely last survivor on the encroaching urban prairie -- no small thanks to Blairmont. It had three immediate neighbors just a few years ago (all visible in the aerial view linked below.) The houses at 2600, 2608, and 2610 were all owned by Paul McKee's companies, and all have been demolished.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 166

  • 2825 St. Louis Avenue (Larmer LLC, January 2008, $25,000)

February 2008

Fanciful inscribed scrolls mark the limestone lintels of this red brick house on St. Louis Avenue.

With this purchase, Blairmont now has an owner-occupant surrounded. Buying up properties is no problem, but boarding them up? The cost is apparently too much to bear! The house changed hands several times in recent years before finally winding up with Paul McKee.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 165

  • 3128 Glasgow Street (Larmer LLC, March 2008)

March 2007

A gas station may seem unusual in the predominantly residential reaches of northern JeffVanderLou, but urban neighborhoods traditionally have had all kinds of uses jumbled together. The peaked roofs and clay tile date from a long-vanished era when gas stations actually had some charm to them.

It was a Texaco at one point, and a sign for "Wainwright's" is still visible, advertising groceries and liquor. Blairmont purchased it from the eponymous L. Wainwright in the spring, but the store appeared to be closed before that.

The Spanish tile roof seems unusual among all the flat-roofed brick houses, but just west of here, an enclave of beautifully preserved houses uses the same element in abundance.

May 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 164

  • 2412 Coleman Street (Sheridan Place LLC, December 2006, $65,000)

February 2008

Don't dismiss it as a plain Jane box -- surviving details include the Roman arch over the large window, the flattened arch over the other 2nd story window, and pointed buttons lining both. A cornice was removed some time in the past, and a matching larger 1st story window was bricked in at some point (some of its buttons remain.) The entry porch is obviously a recent addition.

The gang graffiti is even more recent, and comes to you courtesy of Blairmont's stewardship. They were kind enough to clean all the awful spray paint from 2933 Montgomery; it's just shocking that they haven't gotten around to cleaning up this one.

May 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 163

  • 3021 N. 20th Street (Union Martin LLC, May 2008, $80,000)

May 2008

Standing back-to-back with the houses lining beautiful St. Louis Place Park, this ought to be a valuable little building.

Instead, it stands with its context totally stripped away. An entire block of houses on nearby Wright Street has been obliterated due to Blairmont's wanton negligence. Vacant since 2005 but in surprisingly good condition, the house joined the Blairmont ranks only a few days after these photographs were taken.

June 2002 - photograph by Kevin Kieffer

Friday, August 15, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 162

  • 2609 Montgomery Street (Union Martin LLC, May 2008, $80,000)

May 2008

This actually wasn't a Blairmont house when I photographed it on May 9th of this year. But three days after I took this photograph, the house became another Paul McKee property.

I'll be very interested to stop by and see what shape it's in three months later.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 161

  • 2504 North Market Street (Dodier Investors LLC, October 2006, $34,800)

May 2008

Blairmont's got the red-painted house, second from the left. To the left: an absentee landlord. To the right: three owner-occupants in a row.

Price bounce: April, sold in foreclosure, $41K. June, sold again, $29K. October, sold to Blairmont, $35K.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 160

  • 3027 Thomas Street (Dodier Investors LLC, July 2007)

May 2008

How'd you like to have Blairmont for your partywall neighbor?

That's what the owner-occupant on the right has. Blairmont bought the left-hand half of this twin unit building. On the plus side, there will be no wild parties or late night fights. On the down side, there will probably be no maintenance, upkeep, inhabitants, or windows.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 159

  • 2621-2623 Sullivan Street (Sheridan Place LLC, June 2008)

May 2008

According to the city's records, this four-unit building is so freshly purchased that Blairmont didn't yet have it when I took these shots.

February 2008

...but apparently, they do now!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 158

  • 2337 Montgomery Street (Union Martin LLC, May 2008, $101,000)

May 2008

Such a lovely building! The Blairmont building is the one in the foreground. The background one is a private owner; the grey industrial structure next door belongs to a food company. One wonders if they have been given offers, felt pressures, wondered about eminent domain?

  • 2313 Montgomery Street (Dodier Investors LLC, August 2007)

Further west stands another Blairmont house stands down the street, with an LRA building next to it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 157

  • 2629 St. Louis Avenue (VHS Partners LLC, January 2006, $75,000)

September 2006

One of Blairmont's more prominent holdings, this battered mixed-use building stands alone on an otherwise empty stretch of St. Louis Avenue. Bits of its original cast iron storefront remain, speaking of a time when this was a major commercial thoroughfare, lined with similar buildings. Brick is re-emerging from behind a layer of painted stucco.

The building was last home to Laclede Cleaners.

September 2006

February 2008

May 2008

May 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 156

  • 1801 Bacon Street (Union Martin LLC, July 2006)

May 2008

This poor little house got "modernized" at some point, with a cheapo replacement cornice, and a Permastone bib on the first floor. You might wonder who they thought they were fooling, but back in the day, when the neighborhood was a proper urban place, the side walls wouldn't have been particularly visible.

As recently as 2006, plans were being filed to make alterations to it, but then Blairmont got hold of it, and, well, that's that, as they say.

February 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 155

    Left and right:
  • 1802 Jefferson Street (Dodier Investors LLC, October 2006, $96,000)
  • 1800 Jefferson Street (Dodier Investors LLC, September 2006, $96,000)

Though they abutt low-density industrial areas and urban prairies, these houses aren't as isolated as they may seem. A large number of buildings remain just around the corner.

Price bounce: Each property sold for $80,000 in fall of 2006, then for $96,000 two months later.

May 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 154

  • 2700 N. Grand Avenue (N & G Ventures LLC, January 2006, $28,900)

May 2008

Like yesterday's entry, this is one of the properties that lie on the borders of Blairmontland. It shows the easily-overlooked fact that major commercial thoroughfares like N. Grand Avenue were and still are mixed-use, with residences mingled alongside businesses. It should be so on any major street in a healthy city.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 153

  • 3315 Martin Luther King Drive (VHS Partners LLC, November 2005, $31,500)

This little townhouse stands semi-attached to an auto repair shop next door. If the business refuses to sell out, what will become of it? Will it be eminent domained out of existence?

May 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 152

  • 2732 Gamble Street (N & G Ventures LLC, August 2004)

May 2008

Blairmont doesn't own this 1970s HUD house; it belongs to the man who lives in it. What they do own is the empty patch of grass next door, which had a two story red brick townhouse on it when they bought it four years ago.

Demolition often represents a failure -- of vision, of resources, of economy, of community. Sometimes it's the only option left for a struggling community with deteriorated buildings in its midst. But when a wealthy investor from outside the neighborhood allows it to happen, when he obviously has the resources to repair and maintain such properties, it represents a failure of morality.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Daily Dose of Blairmont 151

  • 2424 Bacon Street (VHS Partners LLC, August 2005)

May 2008

Empty since 2004, this one's really just a coda to 2428 Bacon, previously covered. The brick thieves didn't leave much.