MOLINE ACRES, Mo. (KMOV.com) - It’s an iconic building in north St. Louis County, but today it’s in shambles. The cylinder shaped Lewis & Clark Tower in Moline Acres is condemned.
There are shards of broken glass, busted toilets, televisions and trash all over the parking lot surrounding the once prominent building.
The city issues citations, but so far those fines aren’t leading to any progress.
The city’s public works director, Dennis DeShay, says he’s concerned someone will get hurt. DeShay is, “very worried, scared it’s going to happen.”
The building once housed 98 individual condo units and a restaurant on the top floor. Many of the condo owners stopped paying taxes on the unsellable units many years ago.
On paper Robert Weast still owns two units, but says, "I would be happy to give them (Moline Acres) a quit claim deed. I'm through with it."
Weast is willing to let his units go, but other owners are not.
A handful of different owners, including a group called SNB Investments from California still pays the St. Louis County real estate tax each year. SNB Investments pays approximately 63 dollars in real estate taxes on each of its 21 units every year.
DeShay says paying taxes is usually encouraged, but in this case "it holds up progress, you are trying to proceed with."
St. Louis County has a demolition budget for condemned buildings, but the money can’t be used on properties within individual municipalities, like Moline Acres.
According to a spokesperson with the county executive’s office, eminent domain can’t be used unless it involves a transportation project.
DeShay would like to see the property redeveloped or torn down if redevelopment isn’t possible.
"Moline Acres is willing to do whatever it takes to get this building up to code but doesn’t have a current plan," DeShay added.
DeShay says the challenge is the number of different owners unwilling to let go of their units. "I guess they hope someone buys it and gets some money out of it.”
News 4 mailed letters to current owners including SNB Investments in California and called them, but so far there’s been no response.
The city has added some barricades near the back of the building to prevent littering, but those barricades aren’t doing much to keep trash from piling up.
The city also spent several thousand dollars attempting to board up windows on the lower floors, but someone tore the boards off the building making it easy for trespassers to gain entry.
News 4 will continue to follow the story.