A large piece of masonry falls from the 12-story Spivey Building and hits the pavement with so much force that it turns to powder and scatters across a neighboring parking lot.
What if East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson Hicks had been walking by at that moment? It might have left a bad impression on her mind.
The city put barriers around the building because it has been shedding bricks and masonry since at least 2005. It has been a windowless, rotting eyesore in the city’s commercial heart for decades. The 90-year-old building also is on the National Register of Historic Places because it was an early skyscraper and was once the heart of the city’s economy.
But the time for historic renovation is past. The crumbling structure is a serious hazard that needs to come down immediately.
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St. Louis businessman Stacy Hastie owns the Spivey Building, obtaining it in 2006 as part of a settlement for asbestos not being removed. The asbestos case sent to federal prison a would-be developer of the property as well as the city political boss hired to clean up the Spivey.
Hastie and the mayor did not respond to requests for comment, but City Manager Courtney Logan offered this: “There is only so much the city can do legally when it involves a privately-owned business.” He said he reached out to Hastie but has not heard back.
Not buying it. Maybe instead of reaching out in a friendly sort of way, the city should sic their lawyer on Hastie and get an emergency order for demolition.
Logan also said the city was taking the situation seriously.
The falling objects pulverizing against the pavement would beg to differ.