St. Louis city officials want to do more to preserve some vacant buildings for future development, and tear down those that are beyond repair. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a bill will be filed Friday with the Board of Aldermen that would set up a preservation fund of about $500,000 a year to fix roofs and walls on long-term vacant buildings. An equal amount would go to the city's demolition fund.
The paper reports that the cash would come from a new fee on electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits, but building owners would face a lien for the costs as well.
If the aldermen agree, the measure would go before voters, possibly as early as next spring.
A separate bill also to be filed Friday would toughen penalties for owners who let decay their so-called "high merit" historic buildings, like the now-demolished Cupples 7 building.
Demolition of the long-neglected Cupples building is expected to get underway this week.
The seven-story building at 11th and Spruce was condemned in 2008 over fears it would collapse.
The last attempt to revitalize it died last week when the City of St. Louis and Vertical Realty Advisors couldn't come to terms on a $40 million plan to save the building.
Spirtas Wrecking Company will spend the next three months tearing it down. Spirtas crews plan to salvage much of the building's red brick and some of the heavy-timber frame.
A building on the national historic registry now has an expiration date.
If a buyer does not come forward to purchase the building in the next month, it will be torn down. Cupples 7, at 11th and Spruce in downtown St. Louis, has been designated for demolition after engineers said the building is an imminent danger.
Mayor Slay says the only hope for the building is for an angel investor to step forward and renovate it. Cupples 7 was built between 1894 and 1917.