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Historic but damaged building getting a new owner

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The southern wall of the building almost entirely collapsed in April.

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A historic building in north St. Louis that had heavy storm damage earlier this year is getting a new owner. High winds in April brought down almost one whole wall of the Mullanphy Home.

It's one of St. Louis's oldest buildings; built in the 1860s. But the owner couldn't afford to fix it, and preservationists have been trying to find someone else.

That 'someone else' will be the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, which has put a contract on the building. The group which oversees efforts to revitalize that neighborhood.

"It is a building that right now might look a little daunting to some others," admits the group's executive director, Sean Thomas. "But there are plenty of other structures in the City of St. Louis that were like this 20-40 years ago that people weren't ready to give up on that are now wonder, rehabbed spaces."

The building still has a gaping hole, but it has survived other storms this summer, including the two in July that caused a huge power outage.

Initial inspections suggested a total loss. But Thomas says further tests showed it can be saved. Once repaired, he says it could be ripe for development because it's just north of downtown: "Go up into the building and take a look at the second and third floor opening, which is much larger than it used to be, you can see this fantastic view of the skyline, with the Arch, the Convention Center, and the Renaissance hotel all look like they're just down the street, and they are."

The Mullanphy Home is one of just two civic buildings of the Italianate architectural style left in the city (the other is the old State Hospital on Arsenal). European immigrants in the late 1800s stayed there when they first arrived until they could find a home.

More information: Old North St. Louis Restoration Group website

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