2016 TGNCDC Report To The Community
Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC) promotes and improves quality of life by attracting public and private investment and providing real estate and other community services in Southwest Garden, Tower Grove South and Shaw neighborhoods. In pursuit of our mission, our 20 year vision and framework plan and our 5 year strategic plan shaped our focus and led our activities for 2016.
Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC ended 2016 with a BANG! TGNCDC, in partnership with financial services firm TIAA, purchased $2.2 million of real estate totaling 34 units in 10 buildings. TIAA provided a $200,000 grant, 30-year amortization and competitive interest rate to reduce TGNCDC’s down-payment requirement and to help increase cash flow to financially sustain the organization, which is challenged with decreasing grant opportunities ($215,000 (Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)) was awarded to TGNCDC in 2014, $75,000 was awarded to TGNCDC in 2017). TGNCDC has a goal with TIAA to keep units affordable for 80 percent of new tenants who meet income guidelines of 80 percent to median or less.
Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC was honored with an Excellence in Not for Profit Community Building award from Community Builders Network of St. Louis. Over 200 people attended the 4th annual Community Builders Network Awards Ceremony at T-Rex in Downtown Saint Louis on March 31, 2016. The crowd encompassed community building professionals, business leaders, bankers, political figures, residents and other neighborhood stakeholders. TGNCDC was selected, in part, for our work in community engagement, completing our framework and vision plan and successfully consolidating three community development corporations into one larger, more efficient operation. Cbabi bayoc, business owner, SweetArt www.sweetartstl.com, and resident of Shaw, was commissioned to create the award. Learn more about his work at cbabibayoc.com
Multiple CDBG grants were administered including Landlord Training, Shaw Blvd Lighting Improvement activity and the South Tower Grove South Clean Up and Fix Up activity. Landlord Training completed 9 seminars with 561 landlords in attendance. They were trained in proper property management, fair housing, incentive and regulatory programs, maintenance, leasing, and other relevant topics. As initiated by the Shaw Blvd Improvement plan and the framework and vision plan, about 40 lights were replaced along on Shaw Blvd from Tower Grove Ave to Grand Blvd to increase safety and improve visibility.
Also, TGNCDC completed 6 clean up/fix up activities including new mural creation and installation, alley clean ups, over 500 porch light bulb replacements, vacant lot clean ups, median planting at Gustine Ave and Gravois Ave, and a dumpster inventory/upgrades.
Over 1823 tenants were screened (30+% increase from last year and 150% increase from 2014) through the TGNCDC ScreenDoor tenant screening program (www.TheScreenDoor.org). We're also developing a new online application for release in 2017.
Rise Capacity Building grant (growing tenant screening business and eliminating vacancy initiatives) and a PNC grant (Tower Grove South Clean Up in partnership with Covenant House http://covenanthousemo.org/) were written, secured and administered at a high level. We also spent a great deal of time and capacity on a US Energy Foundation grant focused on developing, educating and participating in energy efficiency programs (Energy Efficiency For All) for low to moderate income people in multifamily buildings. TGNCDC also participated in a planning meeting with the Healthy and Sustainable Homes Initiative.
We also hosted our second annual "All In For Change" Poker Fundraiser and Bash, which raised awareness of TGNCDC activities and money to continue our work.
In development related activities, the gas station located at 4175 Shaw Ave. was sold to David Bailey, after community engagement and a competitive RFP process, to create a neighborhood burger bar, Bailey's Range (http://www.riverfronttimes.com/foodblog/2016/10/14/new-baileys-range-to-open-in-shaw-in-late-2017 ).
A long term nuisance property located at 3901 Shaw was secured by the City of Saint Louis and The Wild Carrot Event space (https://nextstl.com/2016/05/historic-shaw-theatre-set-become-wild-carrot-event-venue/) was selected as a redevelopment project though some TGNCDC’s public engagement activities in partnership with the Saint Louis Development Corporation.
And, after 20 years, the 4100 block of Detonty St. redevelopment (https://nextstl.com/2015/11/long-vacant-detonty-site-gets-new-10m-uic-plan-december-groundbreaking/) into townhouses and apartments was started and will be completed in the 1st quarter of 2017.
TGNCDC also created 12 naturally affordable apartments in The Wedge (South Tower Grove South (Gravois Ave to Grand Ave to Chippewa St.)) through renovation. TGNCDC has grown our portfolio by 60 units adding 17 additional buildings in the last 18 months. This includes seven selective rehab projects.
We also completed and sold 3 subsidized new construction homes at 3279 and 3283 Alfred Street and 5721 Southwest Ave. and we’re awarded another for 2016 (3722 Tholozan St.), which was recently completed (http://www.jfmeyerrealty.com/3722-tholozan-virtual-tour/). TGNCDC completed and sold our first market rate development project in the Southwest Garden neighborhood at 1817 Alfred Street.
Collaborative efforts with Tower Grove Park, MoBot (Missouri Botanical Garden), Greater Gravois Initiative and others have also begun. And we also hosted dozens of neighborhood tours with developers and investors in the area including The Wedge Housing Tour that drew over 25 developers. An updated TGNCDC vacant and abandoned property inventory helped define more opportunities.
Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC) in partnership with STL Programs created an all-new community resource guide and directory for the residents of Shaw, Southwest Garden, and Tower Grove neighborhoods. The 80-page resource guide includes a comprehensive list maps, neighborhood association information, social services, local events, housing and historic district information, history and much more. According to Jeff Fister, President of STL Programs, this guide/directory will be the most comprehensive community resource guide ever made available to residents up to this time. Hardcopies have been published and distributed to over 28,000 residents on their doorstep throughout the Tower Grove Neighborhoods!
In an effort to educate the public about our community development service to Southwest Garden, Tower Grove South and Shaw neighborhoods and surrounding areas, we completed a promotional video in 2016.
Please watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94qYF69fsvM
In 2017, we’ll continue to work to promote investment into the community including the remaining vacant buildings/other development opportunities, infrastructure improvements, nuisance property abatement and resident services. Through already secured 2017 CDBG grants, a new LED lighting improvement program on Grand Ave. from Utah Street to Meramec Street and a Wireless Access For All activity in South Tower Grove South will be completed. Also, we'll hold 7 Landlord Training seminars. You can find our more information on the training schedule and topics at http://towergrovecdc.org/cdbg-activities/landlord-training/
TGNCDC also plans to grow our tenant screening program from 1823 applications processed to 2000, facilitate/complete, and sell multiple single family homes, continue to develop our property management operation, and work on other strategic community development initiatives.
Please look for more information on volunteer opportunities and our progress toward our 2017 goals at our website/blog at www.towergrovecdc.org, Twitter (@towergrovecdc) , and Facebook (Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC).
To residents, business owners and other area stakeholders in our service area, thank you for living, working and playing in Tower Grove neighborhoods and to others, thank you for your interest in our work to continue the revitalization of three important neighborhoods in South Saint Louis City.
Sean Spencer Executive Director Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation