City of St. Louis Proceeds With Vacant Building Stabilization Under Prop NS Program

Program is designed to stabilize LRA-owned vacant buildings

September 9, 2020 | 3 min reading time

Mayor Lyda Krewson today announced the kick-off of the Prop NS program, which is designed to stabilize vacant buildings in the City of St. Louis and strengthen community-based neighborhood improvement efforts.

Beginning Wednesday, September 9, the Prop NS webpage at stlouis-mo.gov/prop-NS will offer an online form residents and community members can use to nominate residential buildings for stabilization that are currently owned by the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA), the City’s landbank.

“There are many vacant houses in our City right now that just need a little extra work and attention to make them more appealing to potential buyers looking to invest in our diverse network of neighborhoods. All at once, Prop NS helps us preserve these structures, attract new residents, fight illegal activity and blight, and reduce our maintenance costs. It’s a win-win for the community,” said Mayor Krewson.  Approved by City voters, Proposition NS (“neighborhood stabilization”) is funded by up to $40 million in general obligation bonds in increments not to exceed $6 million per year. At the direction of Mayor Krewson, the City spent more than a year and a half fighting to uphold its position that the ballot measure received the requisite vote count. Ultimately, the Court ruled in the City’s favor, clearing the way for implementation of the program.

“The Prop NS Program is a great example of the positive change that real people can make when they work together across neighborhood lines,” said Stacy Ross, a petitioner from the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, who worked to get the proposition on the ballot. “We heard from residents throughout the City who were crying out for help with vacant buildings, an issue that had been festering for decades.”

The Office of Comptroller Darlene Green has issued the first allotment of general obligation bonds, allowing for a select number of LRA-owned properties to begin receiving urgent repairs so they can be marketed to the general public.

Highlights of the Prop NS Program include:

  • Funding will pay to stabilize – and sell – vacant, City-owned residential buildings
  • Community residents and neighborhood groups are invited to nominate buildings for stabilization
  • Ultimate goal of the program is to stabilize City neighborhoods

“This is about improving neighborhoods by offering more LRA housing stock as viable options for potential homeowners and investors,” said Comptroller Green.

The ballot measure approved by voters, as well as the follow-up ordinance approved by the Board of Aldermen, limits the Prop NS program to LRA-owned residential buildings – either single-family or multi-family buildings with no more than six units. Each single-family building will have a limit of no more than $30,000 in repairs, with the limit for multi-unit buildings set at $50,000.

“The Prop NS program is designed to help support community-driven neighborhood improvement efforts, with residents and community-based organizations taking the lead in letting us know their priorities,” said Sean Thomas, Program Manager for the Prop NS Program at St. Louis Development Corporation.

The Prop NS program builds on the significant progress LRA has made over the last three years in reducing its inventory as the last-resort owner of abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties in the City of St. Louis. LRA receives no general revenues for its operations and continues to incur property maintenance costs that exceed revenues. Over time, many LRA-owned buildings can deteriorate the longer they are held without new ownership, making it harder to market them successfully to private buyers who can complete a full rehab. To date, LRA owns more than 11,000 properties, of which approximately 2,000 are single and multi-family residential buildings.

“Strategies for reuse aim to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods and may stimulate economic recovery and growth or, in the case the City of St. Louis, will manage decline in ways that improve quality of life for the residents” stated Otis Williams, Executive Director for St. Louis Development Corporations.

About LRA

The Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) is a public agency created in 1971 with a mission to return land to effective utilization in order to provide housing, new industry and jobs for citizens as well as new tax revenue for the city. LRA is managed by the St. Louis Development Corporation, an umbrella, not-for-profit corporation organized under Chapter 355 of the Missouri State Statutes with the mission of fostering economic development and growth in the City of St. Louis by stimulating the market for private investment in City real estate and business development and improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in, and visits the City of St. Louis.

About SLDC

St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) is an umbrella, not-for-profit corporation organized under Chapter 355 of the Missouri State Statutes with the mission of fostering economic development and growth in the City of St. Louis by stimulating the market for private investment in City real estate and business development and improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in, and visits the City. The mission of the SLDC is to stimulate the market for private investment in City real estate and business development and improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in, and visits the City of St. Louis. If there are questions, or would like to schedule interviews with personnel please contact John Parker, Director of Corporate Communications and Media at 314-363-1102 or email him at parkerj@stlouis-mo.gov.  

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