ST. LOUIS, MO/March 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis is the reluctant owner of nearly 12,000 tax-delinquent, abandoned real estate properties that includes empty lots and rundown buildings today. In a one-year study recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), St. Louis is exploring new ways to reduce the size of its vacant land bank in a way that is affordable, beneficial, and aesthetically pleasing to local residents. Its land bank, operated by the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) could use some significant reductions.
The St. Louis Bank Assessment suggests new tools and policies to address this rampant problem across the city. It’s not just vacant properties either, sources reported, but entire blocks of rundown buildings, especially in the North Side of the city. Stakeholders in real estate frequently demand these eyesores be torn down, but it’s not a simple – or cheap – process.
“The average cost is roughly about $8,000 depending on the size of the structure,” said Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation, which oversees the Land Reutilization Authority. “It would eliminate a terrify amount of blight that’s currently in the city. We empathize with the people who are sometimes located next to these unfavorable properties.”
Some recommendations made to the Land Bank at this time include increased staffing and financial support for the LRA, which is responsible for acquiring, maintaining, and tearing down the abandoned property. Without the necessary support, they are unable to keep up with the expanding listed vacancies. The Land Bank also recommended the agencies incorporate elements of technology into how they monitor and maintain the properties. The Bank reported technology could help them communicate better with stakeholders affected by the abandoned buildings.
Overall, it needs to be a total community group effort between property managers, banks, and stakeholders to see that something is done about the vacant properties and blocks.