Abandoned buildings | St. Louis Public Radio

Abandoned buildings

fitzgene | Flickr

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation is unveiling its 2019 Places in Peril list today, which details places threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funding, imminent demolition and development. 

On St. Louis on the Air Friday, host Sarah Fenske spoke with the executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation, Bill Hart, about the places included on this year’s list.

The St. Louis Development Corporation has awarded a contract to Refab to deconstruct an 1884 warehouse on Martin Luther King Junior Drive in St. Louis.
Laura Ginn | SLDC

For Eric Schwarz, a vacant building is more than a culmination of neglect and decay; it’s a treasure trove.

“Some of these materials will never be produced again,” said Schwarz, executive director of the St. Louis salvage nonprofit Refab. “Those handmade bricks, we’re not going to see those anymore.”

Refab has “deconstructed” more than 100 buildings in St. Louis, a process that involves carefully dismantling a property and reselling the materials for new projects. The nonprofit recently received a first-of-its-kind contract from the St. Louis Development Corporation as part of a new push to deconstruct more buildings slated for demolition.

This property on N. Grand Blvd has been in the city's land bank since 2001. It's one of more than 3,000 abandoned buildings the city is trying to find a use for or sell.
City of St. Louis | LRA website

St. Louis’ strategy for combating blight and reducing the amount of abandoned property in the city is getting revamped. A team from the city spent much of last week discussing the issue during a Center for Community Progress event held at Harvard University.