Rise, working with Messiah Lutheran Church/Caring Ministries and several affiliated not-for-profits is undertaking the historic rehabilitation of twelve multi-family buildings in the Tower Grove East and Fox Park neighborhoods. The development involves the complete historic rehabilitation of forty-five apartments housed in twelve historic buildings located in the Tower Grove East, Fox Park, and DeSales historic districts. The properties are currently a hindrance to neighborhood stabilization and security. Several of the properties, if neglected much longer, would likely need to be demolished, creating a void in a neighborhood working toward growth. Rise and Messiah Lutheran Church want to take buildings that are currently a detriment to the surrounding neighborhood and turn them into a neighborhood asset.
The two and four-family buildings, and one nine-unit apartment building currently vacant and deteriorating, are all located in an area generally bounded by Arsenal Street on the south, Compton Avenue on the west, Jefferson Avenue on the east and Russell Avenue on the north.
Rise and its partners propose to provide safe, convenient and welcoming homes for families in the process of establishing new lives in the community and Fox Park and Tower Grove East are perfectly poised to make the proposed development a success.
Messiah Lutheran Church has enjoyed the recent emergence of an ethnically Nepalese population in its congregation that came to St. Louis as refugees from Bhutan. In the process of “adopting” this new population the church’s congregants have become acutely aware of the needs of their new friends and neighbors. Often characterized by single households made up of extended families, these families are often under-housed, rent burdened and living in substandard housing. Still assimilating, they have been frequent victims of street crime in the neighborhoods where they initially settled. On many occasions, these families, most of whom have no automobiles or a single car for an extended family, have expressed a desire to live in a more stable neighborhood and closer to the church and the resources it provides.
In December of 2014, the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) awarded funding to the East Fox Homes development. In the intervening months between application and award of MHDC resources, Rise submitted an application for additional funding from the St. Louis Community Development Administration and was subsequently awarded $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds. The development team is working toward closing on all the financing sources and starting construction in the spring.