Over the past four decades Richard Baron has made a name for himself as a pioneering developer of blighted urban neighborhoods. Baron’s firm, McCormack Baron Salazar has completed scores of projects in St. Louis and across the Midwest. As a native of Detroit, Mich., Baron came to Missouri in the late 1960s.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Adam Allington sat down with Baron at a housing conference of the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he asked him to elaborate on some of the development challenges—and similarities—between Detroit and St. Louis.
The Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was once considered the template for post-war public housing, a national model. For awhile it was—until it wasn’t. The high rise complex was constructed in 1954. Two decades later, and by then notorious, Pruitt-Igoe was a pile of rubble, imploded and bulldozed into history. What went wrong and why? That’s the subject of a new documentary film called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History. Directed by Chad Freidrichs, the film will have its St. Louis premiere this Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.