Thursday, January 04, 2007

4208 Lawn Avenue Watch


For over a year, the building at 4208 Lawn Avenue has been in the process of slowly caving in. The entire roof has dropped about six feet into the second floor. The aerial above shows the building prior to its roof collapse.

A check of Citizen Service Bureau complaints shows a long history of nuisance violations against the property. On October 24, 2005, the building was condemned for demolition.

Buildings in worse condition than this have been rehabbed, but not without the help of sophisticated financing structures including state and federal historic tax credits. 4208 Lawn Avenue is not currently within a historic district. Absent historic tax credits, rehab will be very difficult.

Given the building has been slated for demolition for over a year, neighbors are likely most interested in an immediate resolution to the situation. The building is across the alley from another vacant eyesore, the Avalon Theater, and clearly visible from eastbound Chippewa Avenue.

For the benefit of the neighborhood, a satisifactory resolution is needed on 4208 Lawn Avenue. Follow the link on the right for updates on the status and resolution of this problem property.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The whole area around Chippewa/Lawn/Kingshighway could use some TLC.

Anonymous said...

This post sounds like its describing a new South City commemorative timepiece...

Chad Stockel said...

I spoke w/ Sandy Colvin, the Neighborhood Stabilization Officer. The City is getting bids for demolition of the property -- it has already been condemned. Hopefully it comes down before it comes tumbling down.

Chad Stockel said...

Should have read the whole post before my comment. Sandy indicated that they're to the point of dealing with logistics like utility shut off, so it's nearer the end than the beginning.

Rick Bonasch said...

Hi Chad,

Thanks for your comment.

Confirming what you posted, I had a conversation with someone in the Building Division, and the person there told me that the building is included within a current bid package, and near the point of going under contract.

Timing of the demolition will be according to the contract, and the contractors schedule, however, the representative from the building division figured demolition should start sometime within the next 2 months, and be completed within 6 months.

Once there is a signed contract for demolition with the Building Division, the demolition contractor obtains the demolition permit. At the point, the only thing that would stop the demolition would be a court order.

The owner of the property could try for such a restraining order, but, given the very bad history on the property, it's hard to imagine a judge would show much sympathy to the owner.

The other interesting point the rep from the building division made was that this demolition is actually on a fast track.

She mentioned that many buildings are condemned for demolition up to five years or more before they are actually brought down.

The building division tries to "triage" demolitions based on the level of public safetey hazard.

Apparently 4208 Lawn has been moved up the priority list.

It would be interesting to know more history on the building prior to its condemnation for demolition.

Anonymous said...

Will this be the first demolition in the Southampton neighborhood? If this was Old North St. Louis, the neighbors would try anything to save a building from being torn down.

This discussion makes it sound like people on the southside are promoting demolition. Isn't Southampton considered historic?

chad stockel said...

I know most citizens don't favor demolition as a first option. In fact, I think it should be the last. But, when you're faced with a building that has a collapsed roof and is threatening complete collapse into the surrounding buildings, preservation might have to take a back seat to safety.