Events, Get involved, Historic Hours, Missouri Preservation

Hate change? St. Louis event might change your mind

I’m going to admit it: I hate change. But an event set in St. Louis on Friday, July 20, 2018 has me rethinking my attitude.

From 5-8 p.m., a Missouri Preservation fundraiser will be held in the Arcade Building at 800 Olive St., in St. Louis, and the event will include rooftop views of the Arch, music, an open bar and appetizers.

Vacant for nearly 30 years, the former office/retail block is now an apartment complex with commercial space — with special appeal to artists.  The National Historic Landmark building includes more than 11,000 square feet of shared work and studio spaces including a “music and multi-media studio, and music practice rooms, ” according to the Arcade website.

One of the commercial residents is Webster University’s Gateway Campus. It occupies 54,000 square feet of the building, according to this Oct. 3, 2017 news release from Webster University.

Ideas for change in Columbia?

OK, so maybe I am learning to like change. Maybe you can, too. What kind of change like this would you like to see in Columbia?

Ready to get in the car?

This event is a fundraiser for Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit historic preservation organization. The cost is $30 for Missouri Preservation members and $40 for nonmembers. What do you get for this? The event will include tours of the award-winning renovated 1919 building called a “Gothic Revival skyscraper.” It also will include music performed by Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes, and an open bar and appetizers from Urban Eats.

Can’t go, but you still want to see it?

This June 6, 2018 post on the National Association of Home Builders site will give you a sweet peek. The NAHB awarded the Arcade Apartments with not one, but two awards.

In 2017, the Arcade was named the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Award winner in the “Best Affordable Apartment Community (Over 100 units)” category, said Crystal Jackson of the NAHB via an email. Jackson is the association’s director of multifamily and 55plus housing.  She added, “The Arcade was also a finalist in the “Best Adaptive Reuse” category in 2017.”

Here’s a peek at the project as it was underway via this Dec. 23, 2015 article in the St. Louis Business Journal.

So what kinds of renovations for buildings would you like to see in Columbia? 




Get involved, Missouri Preservation

You can help save history

Each year, Missouri Preservation announces a list of buildings that are in peril of being lost. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 31, 2018.

You can be the eyes and ears of Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Missouri’s unique architectural and historic landmarks.

No need to be an expert. The form is easy to fill out and you can download it here.

Why get involved? If you’ve ever driven by something and wondered what happened to the building that used to be there, you’ve experienced a loss of our history. Sure, not every building deserves to be saved, but we all know the lyrics about tearing down paradise to put up a parking lot.

Location and timing matters

In 2010, a view of 2911 Old 63 S., Annie Fisher home, demolished 2011.
In 2010, a view of 2911 Old 63 S., Annie Fisher home, demolished 2011.

Sometimes a building ends up being demolished because it’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what I like to think caused the loss of the Annie Fisher’s house on 2911 Old 63 South. The grand building was once the site of Fair Oaks, the restaurant of Annie Fisher, one of Columbia’s first African-American businesswomen. Learn more about Fisher here, including information on the houses she owned that still exist, via this article by the Columbia Tribune published May 20, 2015.

When she operated her business there, it was in the countryside of Boone County. Then Columbia grew and the house was zoned commercial and with a storage operation next door, few people wanted the huge house with all those windows that Fisher loved so much because they allowed her to see the beautiful countryside. The house was demolished in 2011, according to this Columbia Tribune article published Nov. 29, 2011.

Fisher’s home is gone but others don’t have to follow it. Nominate a building or place to Missouri’s Historic Places in Peril by Aug. 31, 2018 to give an old building a chance.

Background on Places in Peril

Originally called Most Endangered, the Places in Peril started off in 2000 as a media campaign designed to highlight endangered buildings. In 2015, the program was rebranded Places in Peril. As the Missouri Preservation website states, “Once the historic resource is gone, it’s gone forever. By publicizing these places we hope to build support towards each property’s eventual preservation.”

Start looking — Aug. 31, 2018 will be here before you know it.

Events, Missouri Preservation

Apply now! Preservation conference scholarships available until April 9 close of business

I wanted to headline this as free money because it sounds so exciting to me.

Turns out there are 10 scholarships still available for the 2018 Missouri Preservation Conference set for May 2-4 in Sedalia. You have until the end of business on Monday, April 9 to apply. Go here to find the link to the application.

Here is all the info on the conference itself.

So what’s included? 

This is a $280 value. According to a recent email from Missouri Preservation the scholarships will cover “registration, meals, snacks, field sessions and networking opportunities, and … reimbursement for hotel expenses for the three-day conference.”

The scholarships are available to any citizen within a Certified Local Government (CLG) and g

uess what — Columbia’s included. Here’s a list of all the CLGs.

OK, I’m going to be honest here. The application notes that first preference is for preservation consultants, commissioners and local preservation staff members but it also includes citizens so I say go for the scholarship. I’m going to apply myself because nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So why should you go?

dianna2-001I don’t have to tell you what thrills me. I’ve been blogging about historic places for eight years, so this workshop caught my eye: “House story: How to Research Sites and Structures.” But the three-day conference is filled with presentations ranging from working with real estate agents to engaging public investment and protection.

If those presentations aren’t enough to get you to Sedalia, the keynote speaker is Briana Grosicki, of PlaceEconomics. It’s a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that, as the website states, “works at the nexus of economic and historic preservation.” Now who isn’t concerned with money these days? She’s the head of research at PlaceEconomics, so she’ll be talking facts and figures, not opinions and wishes.

Gotta go and make out my application for a scholarship! See you in Sedalia?

Events, Missouri Preservation, Notable Properties List

Call to action to save an economic engine

The federal Historic Tax Credit, is on the chopping block, yet that might not make economic sense, according to the Rutgers Univesity’s Annual Report on the Economic Impact of Historic Tax Credit for FY 2015.

Those seeking to rally opposition include Debbie Sheals, a local preservation consultant, and state and national nonprofits, Missouri Preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition.

Here’s how you can get involved if you’re ready to take action:

Here’s a call to action from two nonprofits, the National Trust Community Investment Corp. and Missouri Preservation, headquartered in St. Louis. Here’s a factsheet, too.

Here’s a factsheet from the Historic Tax Credit Coalition and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

How do I know this isn’t fake news?

Why should you believe the Federal Historic Tax Credit is an economic engine?

Thinking critically and demanding proof is part of my job as a journalist. I look for information that comes from agencies and organizations that have “no dog in the fight,” — impartial researchers.

In this case, the research was done by Rutgers University in New Jersey. The university in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is employed by the National Park Service, and the university is independent of the National Park Service and won’t benefit from the results.

In addition, Rutgers is a valid research organization. It isn’t simply a back room in a foreign country.

What the report shows

In Fiscal Year 2015, the report shows, the Federal HTC $5 billion in spending yielded $4.8 billion in Gross Domestic Product. Yes, that’s a loss. But looking at the tax credit from its inception, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, the program has cost $120.8 billion but yielded $134.7 in GDP.

The report also notes that 55% of the certified rehabilitation projects in FY 2015 were located in low and moderate income census tracks.

Take a look at the report: Rutgers Univesity’s Annual Report on the Economic Impact of Historic Tax Credit for FY 2015.

Local example

In journalism, news values include proximity. We humans seem to care more about what’s near us or who we know.

Here is a link to an article I wrote in 2010 about the renovation — and tax credits for the project — of the Nowell building on Walnut Street by John Ott. He states clearly that projects like this depend on tax credits, yet those same tax credits hardly make him wealthy, he said. The tax credits make renovations economically possible.

Here’s more information about the article I wrote that was published in the Columbia Business Times.

Notable Properties: Historic Renovation Boosts Community Commerce — What if historic renovation made economic sense? Many say it does including Richard King, who operates The Blue Note, a thriving live music venue housed in the first building named to the Notable Properties List by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission. The article can also be viewed on the Columbia Business Times website.

But don’t take my word for it — think critically and demand proof — and feel free to do your own research. And let me know what you learn. As a journalist, I can never have too much information.

Apartments, Commercial Buildings, Missouri Preservation

A new use for historic buildings

Historic buildings need to be put to work to save them, and sometimes that means finding a new use for the building. For example, historic homes with too much space for today’s smaller families are sometimes reused as bed and breakfasts — or an old historic building could be renovated to become housing for artists.

That’s what this proposal in Kansas City calls for, turning historic buildings in downtown Kansas City into apartment for low-income people, with a special target of struggling artists. The developer George Sherman plans to seek affordable tax credits, state and federal historic tax credits. In the case of state tax credits, these are not give aways. The developer will have to put money into the project and have the work done according to historical standards before he will be eligible for tax credits on taxes paid, not funding for the project itself.

What buildings in Columbia do you think could be renovated into apartments for affordable housing? What buildings have you seen given a new use? What’s your favorite re-purposed historic building in Columbia?


Events, Missouri Preservation

Learn about historic preservation Sept. 18-20, 2013 in Boonville at the 2013 Missouri Preservation Conference

This year’s Missouri Preservation Conference will be held Sept. 18-20, 2013 in Boonville at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Conference Center.

This is a great opportunity for mid-Missouri, as last year’s conference was held further away, in St. Louis County.

A short distance from Columbia, the conference in Boonville will offer educational sessions, technical workshops, trade show exhibits,, tours and networking receptions, according to the Save the Date postcard from the Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit dedicated to education, advocacy and assistance to preserve Missouri’s history.

The announcement states rooms are limited at the convention locations, Historic Hotel Frederick, Isle of Capri Hotel and the Comfort Inn. For information on the event, contact Missouri Preservation at or call 660.882.5946.