ST. LOUIS – More than 20,000 properties are sitting vacant in the City of St. Louis. That data is courtesy of a partnership between the city and the STL Vacancy Collaborative.

“That includes, approximately, about 14,000 vacant lots and about 8,000 to 9,000 vacant buildings. Most of that is concentrated to the north side of the city—over 60%,” Torrey Park, director of the STL Vacancy Collaborative, said.

The question many people are wondering is now that the city knows where the vacant properties are located and who owns them, what happens next?

“Property is being fixed up, being stabilized, renovated; some of it is being torn down. Some of it is being repurposed as community gardens,” managing attorney Peter Hoffman said. “So, there are already successes. We have to also remember this is a 70-year problem in the making. This did not happen overnight.”

“Obviously, it costs money to both stabilize wherever possible and demolish vacant buildings. We’ve allocated a lot of funding to it,” Nahuel Fefer, executive director of the city’s Community Development Administration, said. “But we’ve now, for the first time, allocated $13 million in ARPA funds to the stabilization of privately owned properties.”

He said funding from the city is helping restore homes.

“Prop NS has stabilized over 150 properties and sold 39 of those. With the CDA home repair program, where we allocate another $15 million of ARPA funds to scaling and expanding the city home repair program. We’ve completed 274 this year to date,” Fefer said.