The Rebirth of 4247-49 Russell By Novus Development Exemplifies The Benefit Of Community Development Corporations In Rebounding Neighborhoods
Four years ago, 4247-49 Russell was a vacant shell of building with multiple owners and no future. The property next door was an overcrowded nuisance with drug dealers on the front porch daily. 4247 49 Russell was originally owned by the infamous Doug Hartmann, who spent 5 years in prison for bilking investors of millions from real estate scams. You can read more about him here http://preservationresearch.com/2009/08/doug-hartmann-gets-two-years-life-of-shame/. As with many Hartmann deals, some improvements were completed but the units were never finished. Over the years, the building was converted into condominiums. More time passed and as the foreclosures on 4247-49 Russell proceeded, multiple owners connected to the scam and others like LRA were holding condos individually. Alderman Conway suggested the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corp (now TGNCDC) purchase one foreclosed unit that was offered for sale. We did. It took multiple years and negotiations with banks and LRA to assemble the remaining 3 units. Once the building was secured, a developer, Novus, was selected to complete the renovation. The end result is a beautifully renovated property which helps stabilize the block and bring new home owners to the area. Both units at 4247-49 Russell were listed last week for $248,500 and both units were under contract the same day. Also, due to the development sign and renovation of 4247-49 Russell, the property next door was bought and renovated. Novus also completed the renovation at 4217 Russell which sold after one day on the market and at a record price. State tax credits and tax abatement helped ensure the projects success.
Real Estate development is complicated, it takes time, experience and leadership. Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC (formally Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corp) was in a position to positively impact change because we're on the ground and working in the neighborhoods daily.
While the details may be different, the circumstances are the same for dozens of redevelopment projects facilitated by Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation over the years (see some before and after photos here). Thanks to all the developers who take significant financial risk to develop properties in our neighborhoods while producing high quality products. We're proud to continue to service the area.