St. Louis Has a Vacancy Problem

Brad Choat

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – What can be done with some of the vacant properties in north St. Louis and throughout the city?

Alderman Antonio French says he’s heard some good ideas, “Everything from community gardens to taking some of these vacant buildings and making them homes for artists, perhaps turning some vacant commercial buildings into art studios and community centers.”

French was a panel speaker on Saturday at a conference designed to generate local input on turning around blocks of vacant homes where crime often becomes a problem.

One speaker said nearly 20% of the addresses in the city of St. Louis are vacant. That’s the second highest percentage in the nation, he said, behind only New Orleans.

Washington University master’s degree student R.J. Koscielniak is with , and helped organize the conference, “St. Louis needs to be held in the same conversation as Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. There’s a general sense of excitement about what those cities can be. Yeah, they’re continuing to lose population, but there’s a sense of innovation and imagination about those. And it’s here (in St. Louis), it just needs to be tapped into and concentrated on certain projects.”

Koscielniak says he was thrilled with the turnout of 100 for Saturday morning’s opening session.

Panel discussions and neighborhood walk-throughs were held later.

Copyright KMOX Radio

  • former city resident

    they’re vacant because NOBODY that desires to own thier home & raise a family want to live in those neighborhoods.
    WHY? because the schools are terrible and they don’t feel safe living there, this is more about public safety perception.

    as for giving all the property to artists to make studios theres one problem, this is STL not new york and in this economy nobody in this area is buying enough art to allow ALL those artists to afford the mortgage, ergo, “starving artists”.

  • this is why we mock your aldermen

    This is a classic example why the rest of us in missouri think st louis city aldermen are wasteful idiots.
    alderman french thinks that art studios, and city funded & owned community centers on every block occupying abandonded commercial properties will fix St louis’s vacancy problem in these dilapidated crime ridden neighborhoods?
    all that will do is waste more of the city budget, my advice: focus on crime, schools, and city essential services and stop wasting money on dumb fly by night ideas that won’t generate a dime.

  • pink floyd

    the gardens to grow vegetables for the neighborhood isn’t a bad idea however what st louis really needs decent schools, and to beef up its police patrols not more community centers.


    It is really sad to see such decay. The buildings in the photo associated with this story are very ornate and original.
    Without a complete makeover of the school district, however, this city’s central location in the US will continue to be overlooked. Good public schools equal educated people, which help to create jobs and maintain strong neighborhoods.

  • Shannice

    I dont know why Pittsburgh was mentioned in this article. There are very few vacant houses in Pittsburgh, especially when compared to Detroit or St. Louis.

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