Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Taking Out the Trash

Fortunately, we don't witness scenes like the one in the picture above in St. Louis. But we have enough of our own decay to keep redevelopers busy. When things hit rock bottom, whether in terms of abandoned buildings or vacant land, we need tools to repair the damage.

Assemblying sites for redevelopment in blighted areas is a key first step in the redevelopment process. Sometimes, eminent domain is the only option. The next time you hear someone critical of the use of eminent domain, think of vacant land or buildings in the middle of an abandoned neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

Problem is, it ain't just vacant land and buildings that get eminent domained. Except in la-la fairytale imaginaryland.

Anonymous said...

Nice argument. However, would you not agree that anyone who has used deceptive tactics, broken the law through buidling code and nuisance property violations and possibly committed arson should not be considered a developer allowed to use eminent domain?

Outside of the abstract world -- where development DOES NOT happen -- St. Louis has one big case like the one you mention and it's Paul McKee's dream. And it is not appropriate or ethical, no matter what theory it may fit into!

Anonymous said...

PS -- The next time I hear eminent domain will be to get OCCUPIED buildings in Bohemian Hill or St. Louis Place into the hands of developers for shitty projects. Not vacant land into the hands of legitimate redevelopment authorities.

Rick Bonasch said...

There was supposedly a neighborhood meeting in the last week or so about the proposed Bohemian Hill development. Any news?

Re. McKee and Blairmont, there is no project, just a lot of land acquisitions. Is there any more information than that?

Back to the eminent domain issue, there are places in our metro area where private landowners have stood in the way of neighborhood progress. This has happened in places like Wellston and East St. Louis.

What if you were one of a few residents remaining in the neighborhood pictured at the top of this thread? You'd be living a prisoners dilemma: trapped in an area where there is no market to sell your property.

Eminent domain is an important tool in an overall strategy to revitalize neighborhoods.

Michael R. Allen said...

"Re. McKee and Blairmont, there is no project, just a lot of land acquisitions"

Most people would consider purchasing 100 acres across a wide area adjacent to city-owned land a "project" of some kind.

Rick Bonasch said...

The purchasers might be thinking about a project, but at this stage, it's all predevelopment in terms of site assemblage.

The Blairmont acquisitions might be part of some future project, or maybe multiple projects, but right now, all anyone knows for sure is that there's an acquistion effort underway.

They are probably figuring it makes sense to assemble land in an area undergoing redevelopment.

Rick Bonasch said...


As far as tying up land in areas and holding the land, that's not a project.

There are situations like this in other neighborhoods, East St. Louis being one, where owners hold onto vacant land purely for speculation. That's not a project as far as a neighborhood is concerned.

Getting back to the topic at hand, in situations like these, sometimes it takes eminent domain to turn these cases into real projects.

Samuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samuel said...

Just out of curiousity, where was that old neighborhood? The high rises in the background seem to be the ones along Lindell, I just cant place it though.

Pity though, reminds me of Nob Hill in SF, minus being torn down. Imagine what that could be today, the Nob Hill of St Louis.

kfourcat said...

Where was that picture taken?

Rick Bonasch said...

It's a 1970s photo of New York city.