According to Building Division statistics, 7,960.
Just for reference, the Benton Park National Register Historic District included 1,168 "contributing" buildings (those said to contribute to the character of the historic district).
Demolishing 796 buildings a year is short-sighted, in my opinion. In all my urban exploration, St. Louis is one of the emptiest cities I've been to. Detroit certainly takes the cake, but few other places are quite so deurbanized as St. Louis or Detroit. Typically, in St. Louis, demolitions are merely to provide more parking or drive-throughs or for the owner of a vacant building to reduce his/her liability or taxes. I understand taking down buildings when solid new construction pressures exist, but clearly, in emptying St. Louis, this is not the case.
The demolition budget of the City of St. Louis should not be used so freely. More money should go into the stabilization of buildings rather than their demolition. This is especially true of neighborhood commercial buildings, the spine of many neighborhoods. There is not much of an excuse for the present state of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and especially its run through the historic Ville. Beyond stabilization, "demolition" funds should go to facade preservation and other measures that protect a sense of place in St. Louis's long stagnant or declining urban neighborhoods.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Dotage St. Louis -- Blogging the St. Louis Built Environment Since 2008
Topics: Historic Preservation, Politics and Government, Development, Architecture, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Local Business, Crime and Safety, Neighborhoods, and Anything Else Relating to Making St. Louis a Better City!