Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$30 Million Will Help Build North Side Houses

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$30 Million Will Help Build North Side Houses

Article excerpt

Three alderman are using $30 million of federal money to launch single-family home construction in north St. Louis - the first large residential development project in the area in 40 years.

They want to attract middle-class families to upgrade neighborhoods dotted with vacant lots and boarded-up buildings. They are offering families with moderate incomes help with down payments.

Aldermen Freeman Bosley Sr., Irving C. Clay Jr. and Bertha Mitchell hope the project will build up to 300 houses on lots owned by the city. Clay believes the project, called the North St. Louis Home Initiative Program, is a chance for the city to stabilize.

"It's a real opportunity," Clay said in a telephone interview. "We've got all these lots, but they aren't worth anything sitting there."

The project is slated to continue through 1997.

Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. is expected to disclose details of the program next week, when he unveils a citywide housing strategy.

Areas where the first houses will be built are:

- The 2100 block of Obear Avenue in the College Hill area.

- The 4200 through 4900 blocks of St. Ferdinand Avenue in the Greater Ville area.

- The 5500 block of Cabanne in the West End neighborhood.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission will provide loans to eligible families - with incomes of about $19,000 - to help with down payments on the $75,000 houses. The commission also will provide construction financing for the project.

Gershman Investment Corp., one of the largest mortgage companies in the area, will finance the mortgages.

Construction on each house will begin only after the home is sold.

Minority contractors will oversee the projects. Each project also has a goal of 70 percent minority involvement by subcontractors.

W.A. Thomas, once the city's largest black developer, is a consultant on the project. Thomas ran into trouble five years ago when the U. …

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