In light of the problems Saint Louis faces with respect to land utilization (see my colleague Audrey Spalding’s investigative research into the Saint Louis Land Reutilization Authority – LRA – and land banking), it was refreshing to wake up this morning to the news that Saint Louis has reversed course and will now allow Saint Louis University to build an ambulatory care center at the old Pevely office site at Chouteau Ave. and Grand Blvd.
The Facebook page for Save The Historic Pevely Complex references numerous prior plans to rehab the complex using historic tax credits (emphasis mine):
The Pevely Dairy complex is on the National Register of Historic Places. Under our city’s preservation ordinance, such buildings should not be demolished if they are structurally stable and have rehabilitation potential. The Pevely buildings are both, as evidenced by the numerous plans to rehab them using historic tax credits prior to SLU’s purchasing the site in August 2011.
A search of the Missouri Accountability Portal and the Show-Me Living tax credit tool, however, indicates that no development tax credits have been issued to SLU for this project. Imagine that. A new development project in Saint Louis apparently not in need of state tax credits!
As discussed in my previous post on this topic, the goals of social progress and economic growth direct our attention to the future. While a healthy respect for the past is not a bad thing, given the current state of the city’s economy, a new ambulatory care center is more important than a brick smokestack and a declining building. The sentimental value of the Pevely site and its smokestack, while endearing, pales in comparison to the value of a modern medical facility to the Saint Louis community.
So let’s continue to train our sights on the future, and leave the image of the Pevely site to scrapbook photo montages and warm reminisces.