East St. Louis - Spivey Building Won't Come Down!

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects in Southwestern Illinois, including East St. Louis, Belleville, O'Fallon and Edwardsville.
Godspeed.
framer wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:29 pm
Godspeed.
Thanks. We'll need it after today's early Conference Call. What a mess that was but it is all about assuring the City that we have the funds to carry this out.
What happened?

And I understand their position though... they don’t want to transfer the building to anyone if the plans aren’t 100% obtainable and if it’s going to take any more time. The buildings been empty and deteriorating for literally centuries and now poses a hazard. While we all want to see it saved, they don’t want to deal with a total collapse or potential injury. Hopefully you can convince them quickly before a demo permit is issued.
chaifetz10 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:30 pm
What happened?

And I understand their position though... they don’t want to transfer the building to anyone if the plans aren’t 100% obtainable and if it’s going to take any more time. The buildings been empty and deteriorating for literally centuries and now poses a hazard. While we all want to see it saved, they don’t want to deal with a total collapse or potential injury. Hopefully you can convince them quickly before a demo permit is issued.
City Manager Daffney Moore wigged out about the idea of the building and the city being saved. She would ask us a question like, "What are your plans" and we would start explaining and a minute later she would say "SHHHH! LET ME SPEAK! IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A SCENE AND FUSS, I'LL MAKE A SCENE AND FUSS BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO". So we would be quiet and she would complain that we aren't smart enough and have no money. Scottie explained that we have well over $5 Million to start and handle the building immediately and she refused to believe until an ally of ours, and "treasurer" in many ways told her. She then hung up. Around 7, we received a apologetic phone call from her Assistant and the request hat we attend a one on one meeting with Ms. Moore, Mayor Hicks and the Planning Commission at the next big meeting.

Basically, she wasn't to open to the idea of helping their city out and especially didn't want to be on the phone with three guys of different backgrounds all talking about the same thing. She was assured that we have funds, a plan and we that we are willing to take a risk. I think we'll be ok now but man was that rough. As far as a demo permit goes, we got their attention enough to pause demolition. We're buying time in many ways.
chaifetz10 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:30 pm
What happened?

And I understand their position though... they don’t want to transfer the building to anyone if the plans aren’t 100% obtainable and if it’s going to take any more time. The buildings been empty and deteriorating for literally centuries and now poses a hazard. While we all want to see it saved, they don’t want to deal with a total collapse or potential injury. Hopefully you can convince them quickly before a demo permit is issued.
A few minor quibbles. The Spivey building wasn't built until 1927 so it hasn't even existed for a century yet. It wasn't abandoned until sometime in the 1980s, so it's only been sitting vacant about the same amount of time I've been alive (30 or so years). Honestly, I find it somewhat hard to believe that this building can be saved, especially after the conversation with East STL officials detailed here. Having said that, I am hoping Chris and his team can work a miracle! Saving this and bringing some semblance of life back to Downtown East St. Louis would be huge for not just the Metro East, but the entire region.
The Mayor wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:40 pm
chaifetz10 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:30 pm
What happened?

And I understand their position though... they don’t want to transfer the building to anyone if the plans aren’t 100% obtainable and if it’s going to take any more time. The buildings been empty and deteriorating for literally centuries and now poses a hazard. While we all want to see it saved, they don’t want to deal with a total collapse or potential injury. Hopefully you can convince them quickly before a demo permit is issued.
A few minor quibbles. The Spivey building wasn't built until 1927 so it hasn't even existed for a century yet. It wasn't abandoned until sometime in the 1980s, so it's only been sitting vacant about the same amount of time I've been alive (30 or so years). Honestly, I find it somewhat hard to believe that this building can be saved, especially after the conversation with East STL officials detailed here. Having said that, I am hoping Chris and his team can work a miracle! Saving this and bringing some semblance of life back to Downtown East St. Louis would be huge for not just the Metro East, but the entire region.
Yeah meant to type decades and had a brain fart. I was thinking back to how it's been abandoned since the 80's.
We had another conference call about a week ago and once again, City Manager Daffney Moore was livid about the idea despite us getting a partner onto the project who has deep pockets. He is a black guy (no racial things here, just for later) who works for a larger development business in St. Louis and was excited on behalf of his company. In the conference call, he (black guy) said that the company he works for would gladly help pay for the building's redevelopment along with the Walgreens and Majestic Theater renovations. Daffney went silent for a minute and asked what company this guy works for. He said it (but I won't repeat for reasons) and she went all off.

Daffney called the black man "an uncle Tom" then called Scottie and I "Crackers". We let her yell and yell and then I chimed in saying, "what would you like us to do?" She paused and came back on and said, "Go away! We don't want now hite people in East St. Louis an d sure as hell we don't want a black guy who is siding with you white folk". She carried on about how the whites destroyed her city and how she was going to rebuild the city herself. We were all shocked and so our black partner came on and said that he lived in the city until he moved away and became successful and that his parents still live there. Daffney was angry about this and complained about him moving away and what not.

Ultimately, she said that she would have to be gone for us to do any of the project like we want to and she ended the conversation saying that "that won't be for a long time". That evening, me, Scottie and the black guy went out to Dinner and discussed the manner and we all agreed to put the redevelopment off until at least January and return to the drawing board as to how we will approach the city. I hope that by January that there is still a chance to redevelop the Spivey as the City and County don't seem to have enough money to demolish it.

In the end, Scottie and I hope to reach a deal with the City to redevelop this. Currently, the odds are against us but we can't help a city whose government is reluctant to support us. We didn't even want to ask for a TIF, Abatement or anything, just a signal of support on their end. The city even flip flopped on their promise to have a one on one meeting with us as their next big meeting, which was scheduled for the end of September (see my last update).

NOTE: I used the term "black guy" because he asked to not be named in any conversation. I don't mean to be racist by calling him that but that is what he wanted to be referred to as. He also didn't want the company he worked for being named so that he can retain is anonymous status in all of this.
^ Le sigh. That's really sad to hear.

Wonder if letting a newspaper know about that response would at least help sway public opinion and maybe force something one way or another?
Sorry to hear this. The City Manager really seems like she is earning her $100k salary. . .

https://fox2now.com/2018/10/22/you-paid ... -salaries/
I'm at a loss at what to say.

If she really said those things, then I think the media really needs to hear about it. I don't know if you guys are up for this kind of public fight (sounds like your investor isn't), but man, I sure would like to see someone call her out.

Just inexcusable, and so sad for East St. Louis.
Wow that is terrible, I am so sorry for the people of East St Louis, that they have government officials working against the development of their city. I am really curious to know if the City Manager has any tangible arguments that go beyond what she threw at you. The media should definitely hear about this.
yep, that's about what i expected given your previous interaction with her. as others have said, you should take this to local news outlets. Daffney Moore needs to lose her job.
johnnyqnola wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:54 am
Sorry to hear this. The City Manager really seems like she is earning her $100k salary. . .

https://fox2now.com/2018/10/22/you-paid ... -salaries/
framer wrote: I'm at a loss at what to say.

If she really said those things, then I think the media really needs to hear about it. I don't know if you guys are up for this kind of public fight (sounds like your investor isn't), but man, I sure would like to see someone call her out.

Just inexcusable, and so sad for East St. Louis.
kipfilet wrote: Wow that is terrible, I am so sorry for the people of East St Louis, that they have government officials working against the development of their city. I am really curious to know if the City Manager has any tangible arguments that go beyond what she threw at you. The media should definitely hear about this.
urban_dilettante wrote: yep, that's about what i expected given your previous interaction with her. as others have said, you should take this to local news outlets. Daffney Moore needs to lose her job.
We have contacted the media, especially outlets in the Metro East and organizations that report region wide. We already received two firm "No" reactions from the BND and KMOV. We are waiting back from the others. Our black business partner wants to remain anonymous when it comes to news coverage because he doesn't want to give his company a bad name because he knows the dirty tricks the City of East STL pulls when it comes down to stuff like this. It's sad and not shocking as you all see. INTERESTING TO NOTE: Daffney Moore isn't a resident of East St. Louis. According to her LinkedIn, she worked for the City of St. Louis as an Urban Planner from 2001-2014 and was the City Of Dellwood Administrator from 2016-2017 before running to East STL and becoming the City Manager. I'm not sure of what their laws are there, but that doesn't seem right. White Pages also shows her living in Berkley. So there's a story right there, she's a government hopper in the St. Louis region.

KipFilet her tangible argument was this...
1. We are two white guys coming into a majority black city with one black guy on our team.
2. We are targeting a building that was a symbol to the city's downfall (racism and what not)
3. We were focused too much on trying to make a mixed use project.
4. We could spend our money on a number things but it just had to be the Spivey.
5. Her goal is to reset the city from the ground up so it can be shaped in her own eyes and under her direction
All was said by her with points 1, and 3-5. 2 is an assumption based on her rants stemming from point 4.

I have followers from East St. Louis who were made aware of this and none of them are surprised. They didn't go into detail but said that maybe Daffney wants more money and power before she supports this effort. Johnnyqnola shared the Channel 2 story on their pay in East St. Louis and I'm glad he did because if $100k isn't enough tax money for her to listen to developers who want to do something good for the community, then she can kiss her dream of rebuilding the city in her image away. What makes the situation even worse is that the Mayor, Emeka Jackson-Hicks, has no real power as the city is ran by a manger-council government. We can get Mayor Hicks on our aside all we want but she has no power to leverage.

Anyway, Scottie and I are looking elsewhere in St. Louis (Missouri Side) for a project to tackle while we regroup over the Spivey fiasco. We hope to beat the City and County in the race to redevelop or demolish it. If you have any ideas as to what we should do, please Personal Message me.
chriss752 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:18 pm
johnnyqnola wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:54 am
Sorry to hear this. The City Manager really seems like she is earning her $100k salary. . .

https://fox2now.com/2018/10/22/you-paid ... -salaries/
framer wrote: I'm at a loss at what to say.

If she really said those things, then I think the media really needs to hear about it. I don't know if you guys are up for this kind of public fight (sounds like your investor isn't), but man, I sure would like to see someone call her out.

Just inexcusable, and so sad for East St. Louis.
kipfilet wrote: Wow that is terrible, I am so sorry for the people of East St Louis, that they have government officials working against the development of their city. I am really curious to know if the City Manager has any tangible arguments that go beyond what she threw at you. The media should definitely hear about this.
urban_dilettante wrote: yep, that's about what i expected given your previous interaction with her. as others have said, you should take this to local news outlets. Daffney Moore needs to lose her job.
We have contacted the media, especially outlets in the Metro East and organizations that report region wide. We already received two firm "No" reactions from the BND and KMOV. We are waiting back from the others. Our black business partner wants to remain anonymous when it comes to news coverage because he doesn't want to give his company a bad name because he knows the dirty tricks the City of East STL pulls when it comes down to stuff like this. It's sad and not shocking as you all see. INTERESTING TO NOTE: Daffney Moore isn't a resident of East St. Louis. According to her LinkedIn, she worked for the City of St. Louis as an Urban Planner from 2001-2014 and was the City Of Dellwood Administrator from 2016-2017 before running to East STL and becoming the City Manager. I'm not sure of what their laws are there, but that doesn't seem right. White Pages also shows her living in Berkley. So there's a story right there, she's a government hopper in the St. Louis region.

KipFilet her tangible argument was this...
1. We are two white guys coming into a majority black city with one black guy on our team.
2. We are targeting a building that was a symbol to the city's downfall (racism and what not)
3. We were focused too much on trying to make a mixed use project.
4. We could spend our money on a number things but it just had to be the Spivey.
5. Her goal is to reset the city from the ground up so it can be shaped in her own eyes and under her direction
All was said by her with points 1, and 3-5. 2 is an assumption based on her rants stemming from point 4.

I have followers from East St. Louis who were made aware of this and none of them are surprised. They didn't go into detail but said that maybe Daffney wants more money and power before she supports this effort. Johnnyqnola shared the Channel 2 story on their pay in East St. Louis and I'm glad he did because if $100k isn't enough tax money for her to listen to developers who want to do something good for the community, then she can kiss her dream of rebuilding the city in her image away. What makes the situation even worse is that the Mayor, Emeka Jackson-Hicks, has no real power as the city is ran by a manger-council government. We can get Mayor Hicks on our aside all we want but she has no power to leverage.

Anyway, Scottie and I are looking elsewhere in St. Louis (Missouri Side) for a project to tackle while we regroup over the Spivey fiasco. We hope to beat the City and County in the race to redevelop or demolish it. If you have any ideas as to what we should do, please Personal Message me.
Sounds like a good scoop for Tony Messenger at the PD.
Please don't quote big long posts immediately above. It's assumed you're replying to that one. Use a ^ if you want to emphasize. The context of your post can indicate otherwise. Thanks

Sorry this went so badly for you Chris (and ESTL as a whole).

Maybe look around the Wellston Loop/ MLK area? Empty JC Penney building?
The building w/o a roof at Gratiot and 2nd in Chouteau's Landing?
quincunx wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:21 pm
Sorry this went so badly for you Chris (and ESTL as a whole).

Maybe look around the Wellston Loop/ MLK area? Empty JC Penney building?
The building w/o a roof at Gratiot and 2nd in Chouteau's Landing?
Yea, it's depressing it went South very quickly but I hope they change their minds soon so we can do something great there!

Here's a list of places we are looking at currently (with great intent to redevelop).
- 2100 S. 12th (Soulard)
- 7303-7305 S. Broadway (Carondelet)
- 8111 N. Broadway (Baden)- LRA owned
- 4 homes in Dutch Town
- 2 homes in Carondelet
- 4 Homes in Hyde Park

We haven't thought about the JCPenney building in the Wellston Loop area, so that's a good idea but the Chouteau's Landing buildings are to expansive for us to tackle. The above address and locations are where we want to go and can happen depending on deals to acquire and uses. The goal for the homes is to be affordable enough so that they can be geared towards families who are trying to rebuild their lives (much like what Habitat for Humanity is doing).
The Mayor wrote: Sounds like a good scoop for Tony Messenger at the PD.
We alerted the Post Dispatch on the issue. Not sure if Tony Messenger would want to report on this or not.