Residents in west St. Louis complain about abandoned brand-new building in area

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by Mike Colombo / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on April 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 25 at 5:28 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Some residents in west St. Louis are complaining about a brand-new, brick home they say is becoming a problem in the neighborhood.

Residents say the lower level of the building in the 4300 block of Delmar is a cesspool of water. The property is also littered with debris.

Folks say it’s been that way for a long time.

“This is something that didn’t happen overnight, we’re talking about four years about somebody looking the other way and saying it wasn’t their problem,” said area resident Reggie Bobo. “It’s time for somebody to pick the ball up and deal with it.”

That somebody is St. Louis Building Commissioner Frank Oswald, who tells News 4 his hands are tied.

“It’s a limited liability corporation, which means there’s limited responsibility. So actually determining who that individual is and picking them up can be very difficult,” said Oswald.

Neighbors say the owner, Latham Bell of Brainchild Holdings, has bought and sold several properties, including some swanky condominium buildings in the Central West End.

Those neighbors say Latham is hard to get a hold of.

News 4 tracked him to an office on Euclid, but nobody was there. That came as no surprise to the city.

“My inspectors, my supervisors, nobody has been able to contact him for a number of months,” said Oswald.

The city is looking into other avenues for possible relief, even if it means finding some way to legally acquire the property and turn it over to another developer.

In the meantime, News 4 is working hard to find Bell and get answers.

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