St. Louis Land Bank Assessment

September 2016   St. Louis, MO

Client

  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • St Louis Land Reutilization Authority

Team

  • Michael Allen of Preservation Research Office
  • Jerry V. Graves of Graves Public Services

Changing vacant properties from liabilities into assets through acquisition, strong management, and productive reuse – including redevelopment and interim vacant land uses.

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Key Points

Asakura Robinson worked with the St. Louis Land Redevelopment Agency (LRA) on a plan to manage vacant properties, revamp the LRA's mission and vision, and clarify programs and processes.

Addressing Vacancy

The assessment helped the Land Redevelopment Authority manage vacant properties comprehensively and across the property lifecycle, addressing weaknesses in existing processes and procedures.

Strategic Planning

Asakura Robinson worked with the Land Redevelopment Authority (LRA) to revamp the organization's mission and vision and in turn its policies and procedures. Asakura Robinson also ensured that part of LRA's new strategy included recommendations on growing their staffing and financial resources.

Trust Building

Asakura Robinson worked with the Land Redevelopment Authority (LRA) to create clear understanding about the LRA’s inventory, programs, requirements for purchasers, and public meetings, helping build public trust and support. Asakura Robsinson also provided recommendations to build and solidify partnerships with other public agencies.


The St. Louis Land Bank Assessment was primarily a project that required understanding why there was a loss of trust amongst the Land Redevelopment Authority (LRA), other public agencies, and the community and how to rebuild that trust by bridging the gaps in order to carry out the LRA’s tasks in an efficient and effective manner.

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Asakura Robinson began the project by conducting 30-40 interviews over the course of three days with various stakeholders, from members of the LRA to the Mayor of St. Louis to community partners. After understanding the grievances and barriers, the team put together six goals or areas of focus that encompassed 29 recommendations for the LRA to carry out. The major themes of the report ask the LRA to adopt national best practices, recognize and address resource constraints, focus on managing the full lifecycle of a vacant property, and build on work completed by the Center for Community Progress. Throughout the process, Asakura Robinson utilized information from similar land banks to benchmark the LRA and to showcase realistic and achievable results. The report aimed to help the LRA understand what it can do with the resources available to it and what they could do if they were able to get additional resources.


After its completion, the report was presented to the Vacancy Collaborative, a coalition of partners committed to the reduction of vacant property in St. Louis, and the findings and recommendations were received very well. The presentation was also a strong basis for community buy-in.

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