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.
Rise received approval for a reservation of tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission on December 4, 2015 for its Adams Grove affordable housing development. The development will consist of 50 townhomes and garden apartments, incorporating contemporary design, green building and universal design principles in the area of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood that lies south of Manchester. Our intent is to help maintain an economically diverse and vibrant community by interspersing well-designed affordable homes within a larger development area that is primed for more market-rate development. We believe it is important that affordable housing be indistinguishable in quality, blend into and complement other new development in the area.
Here is a little bit of history concerning Rise’s previous work in the area:
In 2001, Rise partnered with Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation (now under the umbrella of Park Central Development Corporation), to acquire 36 absentee-owned, poorly managed and maintained rental properties, all located in a 3×4 block area of the neighborhood north of Manchester. The Rise partnership introduced professional property management and completed the complete historic rehab of 24 of the buildings as 73 affordable apartments (Park East Apartments) in 2003. In a complementary development, the Rise partnership completed the historic rehab and conversion of 11 of the remaining buildings into single-family market-rate homes (Park East Homes) in December 2004. Park East Homes bolstered the homeownership market in the neighborhood and further stabilized the area north of Manchester. The remaining mixed-use building that was acquired was sold to the owner of the business that had been a long-time tenant of the building. All 36 buildings are located within walking distance of the BJC/Washington University Medical Center campus.
In 2006, again working with Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation, Rise completed the historic rehabilitation of another 13 buildings with 27 residences in the part of the neighborhood that lies north of Manchester, bringing us to a total to 48 historic rehab buildings in the neighborhood.
Our work in Forest Park Southeast proved to be both catalytic and prophetic. In the following years, other developers began developing a wide variety of housing, including larger multi-family projects, mixed-use buildings, custom homes, and historic rehabilitation.
St. Louis is a city of neighborhoods and Forest Park Southeast (FPSE) is currently one of its most dynamic. In recent years, FPSE has seen a dramatic rise in commercial and retail development (the area known as “the Grove”) and an improving residential real estate market. FPSE is situated at a nexus of growth in job opportunities not seen in many other parts of the metropolitan area. This part of St. Louis is now the third largest job center in the region, behind only Downtown and Clayton, and it is projected to pass Clayton in the next few years.
We will keep you posted as things move forward with Adams Grove.
For our press release concerning Adams Grove, click here.
For a recent article on stltoday.com featuring Rise and Adams Grove, click here.
Rise builds market rate and affordable housing, enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve. This work helps make St. Louis a great place to live, work, and play. We believe social, cultural, lifestyle, and economic diversity makes area neighborhoods stronger.
Rise acts as a resource and partner to the community. We bring together nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, and government to make successful neighborhood revitalization possible.
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