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Last public housing tower for St. Louis families to come down

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
The city of St. Louis has received a $7.8 million federal grant to build new housing for the residents of the last tower at the Arthur Blumeyer public housing complex just north of Grand Center.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the city of St. Louis $7.8 million to help redevelop the area around the city's last public housing tower for families.

Here are some of the highlights of the rehabilitation effort at the Arthur Blumeyer Family property, which sits just north of the Grand Center arts district:

  • 231 new units constructed in two phases. 103 of those will be public housing units. An additional 40 will serve those using low-income housing tax credits, and 87 units will rent at the market rate.
  • The new development is located on 9.7 acres between West Belle Pl. and Finney Ave. There will be 26 two and three-story buildings.
  • Construction is already underway on the first phase, which includes 120 units, 50 of which are public housing. That will be completed by early 2012. Construction on the second phase will start in 2012 and end in 2013.
  • Total cost is about $40 million, and stakeholders have secured about half of the financing. The HUD grant, private equity, money from the city's block grant allocation and housing trust fund, and capital funds from the St. Louis Housing Authority will all be used.
  • The current tower will not come down until all the residents have been relocated. Once demolition is complete, the site will be turned into green space.
  • All residents will be eligible to live in the new housing, but they will have to participate in community supportive services to do so. Those who chose not to participate may be relocated to other St. Louis Housing Authority locations.

The tower at 3501 Franklin is the last of four towers at Blumeyer. The other three, as well as many of the surrounding townhouses, were turned into Renaissance at Grand, another Hope VI community.

"I am so happy that we're finally moving on to re-transition this area," Paula Foster, the president of the Blumeyer Village Tenant Association, said. "When you've got kids, you're not supposed to be living on top of each other, and your kids ought to be able to come outside and play. "

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