A few years back the St. Louis chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council proposed a grant program to Ameren UE in an effort to stimulate green building practices and energy efficiency in the St. Louis Region. This year 18 projects received the grants.
Arcade/Wright Building, Pyramid Companies
Blossom House, Roberts Brothers
Crossroads Science Wing Addition, Crossroads College Prep
Walk around almost any St. Louis city street in an older neighborhood and you’ll see some level of cracked and bulging sidewalks. This is typically the result of roots from a mature tree growing tired of the cement that’s layered on top of it.
Rubbersidewalks has an idea: “The modular sidewalk system allows air and water to reach the soil below, and can be pulled apart for easy tree and root maintenance, decreasing the need for urban tree removal.”
Rubbersidewalks are made from 100% recycled tire rubber, and can be collected and recycled back into the manufacturing process.
This is the winner of the Global Green Competition called GreeNOLA. The project is designed to reduce operating energy by 50-60% compared to traditional homes by utilizing energy efficient appliances, solar power and recycled material. View the other projects in the competition here.
The 505 House by Collaborative Designworks, Houston, TX is interesting to me on several levels. Not only does it utilize sustainable principles, it was developed to compete within a speculative housing market.
Recently, I watched The End of Suburbia, a documentary that speculates on the impending doom of houses like this. In fact, one of the questions posed by the documentary wonders whether or not the suburbs will become the new “slums.” The documentary suggests the we have reached “The World Oil Peak”.
Essentially we are approaching the end of the age where fossil fuels are cheap and in ready supply. We have reached the peak production of oil on a global scale. So what does that mean for houses like this one and the communities in which a home is considered functionally obsolete without a three-car garage?
The documentary predicts that we as nation are going to have an extreme energy crisis in the next decade. So what will become of the fields upon fields of houses dependent on oil and natural gas? And what use will there be for a three-car garage when people are unable to fill their tanks for the commute to work?
High Noon For Natural Gas….Julian Darley
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil….Micheal Ruppert
The Next American Metrapolis….Peter Cathrope
The Party is Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Society….Richard Heinberg
I live in Tower Grove East and this project is just a few blocks from house. I am so excited to see this kind of development in the area: adaptation vs. demolition. Formerly this was roughly an 800 sq ft 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom bungalow. The new owner is converting it to a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home with room to expand in the lower level. The first floor will now be devoted to public space, living room, dining room, kitchen and half bath. The second floor will have a master bedroom and two additional bedrooms. In keeping with the architectural style of the neighborhood, rather than wrapping the second story in vinyl, the developer has chosen high quality architectural shingles (at about triple the cost of the average architectural shingle) to make the addition look as much like a slate roof as possible.
At the beginning of this year I read a quote from Mayor Slay in the St. Louis Business Journal about Benton Park West and Old North St. Louis becoming the next Soulards. I took this to mean in terms of value not necessarily in terms of flavor. So I investigated to compare the current values of similar properties (3 beds/1+ baths) in each neighborhood. In addition I drove around each and took photos. The photos were the difficult part as those are more subjective. One very active Old North St. Louis resident pointed out that I took one of the worst photos possible of Old North St. Louis and she invited me to tour the neighborhood from an insiders perspective.
Barbara is a veritable fountain of knowledge when it comes to her neighborhood. She bought a GIANT house last year and has been tirelessly working on it since. View her project here.
She took me first to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group a non-profit development group established by the neighbors. There we met Sean Thomas, the Executive Director, and Irvetta Williams, the Real Estate Development Coordinator. One of many of the incredibly progressive initiatives the organization has taken on is its partnership with LRA for the vacant buildings in its neighborhood limits. For most LRA properties, prospective purchasers need to submit proposals directly to LRA and work their own through that system. In Old North St. Louis, however, if a purchaser is interested in a vacant building, their proposal starts with Irvetta and the organization helping to streamline the process and more quickly reducing the amount of vacant buildings more quickly. Currently there are only 33 remaining LRA properties available to the general public. Others still stand vacant but have been optioned to the Restoration Group who will take on the development themselves in an effort to build density faster and to make homes available for people who want to move into the neighborhood but who aren’t necessarily able to complete the work required to make these buildings habitable.
*English Living a specialty furniture store will open in the Ely Wlaker Building on Washington
*Good Works will open its 2nd location @ 9th/Washington on the 1st floor of Banker’s Lofts
*Fitness Facotry will open @ 1314 Washington
*Kram/Groove Theory @ 1301 Washington
*fifteen, will be located in the 1900 block of Locust
*J. Buck’s @ 1000 Clark in Cupples Station
*Simply Fondue @ 1627 Locust
*Bridge and Tunnell Pizza @ 1235 Washington
*Franco Latino @ 1511 Washington
*Mizu @ 1015 Washington
*Tigin @ 333 Washington
Expanding Niche is moving from Washington to the Marquette Building on Broadway. Mosaic is moving into 3500 sq. ft. @ 1001 Washington with exiting location to be a cocktail lounge.
I was previewing a house the other day in Benton Park and when I looked out I saw this beautiful white reflective roof on the one story next door. I thought that would be a great opportunity to highlight what all the building inspectors say when they inspect a flat roof. By making the surface reflective the roof does not absorb the heat saving on the life of the roof and expensive summer time cooling bills and ultimately the waste products from the extra energy used.
“What I want is house that…isn’t truly ordinary, but one that speaks the language of the ordinary with extraordinary eloquence”
That is the basic theme ribboned through the chapter on Rocio Romero. I’ve known of Romero for a long time and I have been fascinated with the LV Home kit since I first heard of it. As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I are considering building a new construction sustainable home in the city and as part of our research we are planning to attend one of Romero’s open houses in Perryville.
My Questions: Will this fly in the city limits of St. Louis? Would my neighbors hate me for erecting a pre-fab modern structure next to a 2-story brick bungalow? When I am ready to move will someone buy it? Will it qualify for a conventional loan? Will it be safe in a tornado?
Off Topic: As the author left Perryville she asked Romero where the scenic parts of Missouri were. Romero recommended Lake of the Ozarks. The quote is from the author’s journal.
July 30,2003 The Red Oak RV Park and Resort
This place is an agglomeration of Bad Design. I’ve never seen so much vinyl siding in my life. Everything here is the wrong size or the wrong shape or badly oriented or cheaply made.
Evidently juxtaposing Midwestern lake culture/architecture and the conscientious design of the LV Home allowed Jacobs to truly appreciate the Extraordinary Ordinary in Romero’s efforts.
When I was newly licensed I would get a call and run to meet whoever was on the other end at what ever location they were calling about. I remember being on phone duty once at my first brokerage and wrangling one of the other agents to cover for me so that I could go show a house on Pershing. I was so excited. I had never written a contract before and I knew this was going to be it. When got there, I jumped out the car and paced in front of the house waiting for the caller to show up. I knew her name but I didn’t get her number so I had no way of calling her back. In fact, I figured she would be there, but she wasn’t. I waited around about 15 minutes and she never showed up. So it ended up being a complete waste of time. One would think that I would have learned my lesson–but I repeated this scenario over and over. Lucky for me, being “stood up” was the worst that ever happened.
This past Sunday an agent was accosted with a gun, robbed and handcuffed to a pole in the basement when she was showing a home. I don’t have the whole story; all I know is what was posted in the link, but I know this could have easily been me.
I made a resolution earlier this year that I have broken at least twice already. It is a simple standard though.
Simply: When meeting someone for the first time, DO IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE.
This is the man that attacked the agent last weekend. His name is Mathew E. Wilson. The police considers him to be Armed and Dangerous. Evidently he no longer has the beard.
If anyone has any information please call Sergeant Walters at 636-949-3020
Dawn Griffin Real Estate Blog
I’m an experienced Saint Louis Realtor specializing in St. Louis City as well as neighborhoods like Webster Groves, Maplewood, Clayton, University City and Ladue. With an undergraduate degree in Education and Master's in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development — I have the heart of teacher.
I have been immersed in Residential Real Estate, helping home buyers and sellers understand the market, manage the ambiguities and negotiate the best terms for themselves. I am consistently voted a 5-Star Agent by clients and featured as one of St. Louis' Best Agents in Saint Louis Magazine.