There is still no final resolution to FY 2007’s Community Development Block Grant, which funds dozens of local agencies, community groups, and development projects. The US House of Representatives recently passed HR 5576, which directs HUD to allocate CDBG funds to St. Louis based on the existing formula. The measure now moves to the Senate. A new formula, also under consideration by the Congress, would cut the City’s allocation by 31 percent — nearly $7 million — despite the City’s ranking of 10, the highest possible level of need.
Tucker Boulevard, currently a major entrance to downtown, is changing. The goal (planning for which pre-dates even my term as mayor) is to make Tucker better looking and more efficient. When the current Tucker construction is complete, there will be left turn lanes at Lafayette, Park, and Chouteau; new lights, sidewalks, and irrigated landscaping; and re-synchronized signals. At about the same time, the new leg of the Truman Parkway will be completed and traffic entering downtown from I-44/55 will be able to use the Parkway and 18th Street to get to Market Street.
LCRA has approved a modification to the Mansion House Center area to make tax abatement available for the redevelopment of the northernmost building in this complex. The developer plans to rehab the existing apartment tower extensively; build a new condo tower; and, ultimately, covert the existing apartments to condos. I suspect that they will be selling river views.
Twelve single-building redevelopment areas have been approved in the 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 17th, 18th, and 20th Wards. Collectively, these 12 buildings will produce thirty new homes — some rental, some owner-occupied — and three commercial spaces, at an approximate cost of $4.5 million.
Amy and Amrit Gill, whose good work in the Grove neighborhood I recently visited, have officially been designated the redevelopers of the former Bardenheier Winery complex at 1019 North Skinker in the 26th Ward. When the $23.7 million historic rehabilitation is complete, the complex will include 106 residential rental units and one retail space.
St. Louis Development Corporation continues to work with Community Health in Partnership (CHIP) on the development of a new $4.2 million urban wellness center in the 2500 and 2700 blocks of North Grand Avenue. Building this new facility that would provide affordable primary health care for families and individuals in this area. I expect it will be necessary to use eminent domain to acquire blighted properties.