I found a couple of old photos from about a decade ago of two corner storefronts in Gravois Park, a neighborhood that has undergone rapid and major changes in the last twenty years. Older residents have told me it had become more dangerous over the course of the new millennium, but now rampant real estate speculation has begun over the last five years. I thought I would check on the two buildings and see what was happening with them in the greater context of the changes happening in the neighborhood.
The first building, at the northwest corner of Miami Street and Nebraska Avenue, has been owned by and operated by churches for many years, though it has also been vacant for a while, as well. It was condemned for occupancy in 2010, and in 2011 a building inspection found 23 violations, which is a lot for a building of this size.
Needless to say, I was excited to discover that there was a fair amount of action going on at the building when I went by on a sunny day last week. There was an excavator out front, probably fixing water lines and plumbing, and there were clearly new windows on the first floor. I looked up building permits, and there was close to $100,000 in new work over the last year that has been pulled in new permits. This building is definitely seeing better days.
The second building, at the southwest corner of Winnebago Street and Ohio Avenue, has also seen a wonderful transformation, going from being vacant, and having a horrible mid-Twentieth Century closing up of its storefront windows, to being renovated and occupied.
This building looks great now, and shows how a storefront can be adapted to the new reality of neighborhoods not needing as many commercial spaces as before. Sadly, the four family to the south was demolished due to a building collapse, which occurred around 2016, but the yard for the corner property now has expanded. The diagonal line on the side wall is the former path of the rain gutter downspout.
The corner turret is unique in shape, with two curved forms not creating a perfect cone.