Why Did a 'Mysterious' Company Buy Hundreds of Properties in St. Louis?

Over the course of a year beginning in June 2008, a 'mysterious holding company' named Urban Assets bought 240 parcels across a five-mile swath of the north side of St. Louis. Since then, it's just let them decay.
Paul Sableman / flickr

"Rotting vacant buildings and scofflaw speculators are nothing new on the city’s north side, where decades of population loss have left some blocks more than half-empty and thousands of once-grand brick homes to rot," observes Tim Logan. "But city officials and neighborhood activists say they’ve never seen anything like Urban Assets, which bought up property in a flurry in 2008 and 2009, made no improvements and left tax bills unpaid and court summonses unanswered. Now this summer, their properties have started to hit the auction block for the unpaid taxes, but buyers are few, and most appear bound for the city’s already-swollen bank of property no one wants."

"The whole situation highlights the struggle the city faces in maintaining its valuable, but too-often-vacant, century-old red-brick building stock, and of pushing owners to take care of their property without pushing so hard they walk away."

Full Story: Mysterious firm bought more than 240 city properties, then did nothing

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