The Cupples 7 building in downtown St. Louis was on the National Register of Historic Places, but that didn’t save it from the wrecking ball.
The nine-story building was torn down in 2013 after becoming so unstable the city considered it a public safety risk.
In the wake of the demolition, Landmarks Association of St. Louis decided it was time to create a low-interest loan program for historic preservation.
"People were saying we need to stabilize these buildings rather than demolish them," said Andrew Weil, executive director of Landmarks.
The Robert J. Trulaske Jr. Family Foundation has given the group a $75,000 challenge grant to create a pilot program. President Jeanne Dalba said the loan program fits with the foundation’s mission of giving to historic buildings.
"I’m hopeful these grants will enable more people to utilize these buildings and take care of them in the way that they deserve," Dalba said.
Landmarks is using the crowdfunding site Go Fund Me to raise the last $8,000 of the $25,000 matching funds required by the Trulaske Foundation.
Weil said the initial $100,000 program only will be able to fund small preservation projects. Eventually, though, he hopes they’ll be able to attack projects on the scale of the Cupples 7 building.
"We think through successful projects we’ll be able to generate additional support," Weil said. "That will help grow the fund to a point where it could actually have an impact on some of the large-scale preservation projects that still need to occur."
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