Vacant buildings start getting facelifts funded by special St. Louis property tax | Metro

ST. LOUIS — A construction dumpster parked behind the four-unit apartment building on Newberry Terrace was filled to the brim Friday with remnants of the structure’s collapsed floor.

Surrounding it, a construction crew of about 10 people was busy hauling out more debris that, a week ago, all but blocked the hallways of the 1906 brick structure in the city’s Lewis Place neighborhood. Workers had already cut down overgrown trees, tuckpointed and boarded over weak floors. Most importantly, they installed a new roof on the building so rain couldn’t cause any more damage.

When the crew from Nelux Development finishes in a few weeks, the hope is that someone will be in a better position to finish the rehab and buy the building from the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority, the land bank that owns thousands of abandoned properties throughout the city. The big fixes, worth close to $50,000, will have already been completed.

There are about 10 such stabilization projects underway now, and a couple dozen more buildings in the construction bid pipeline under Prop NS, a city program that is finally humming to life four years after voters approved it. City officials hope rehabbers pick up where they left off, attracted by the investment already made to stabilize the structures.

“They’re not your typical LRA buildings,” said Sean Thomas, who leads the city’s Prop NS program that oversees the work.