County Library Paid $6.1M for 6 Acres in Frontenac

By on February 12, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Property in this tony suburb is among the most expensive in the region, which is why the St. Louis County Library is paying more than a million dollars an acre for the future site of its history and genealogy center and administrative offices.

But whether it got a good deal is unclear.

To acquire the roughly 6 acres near the corner of Highway 40 (Interstate 64) and Spoede Road from four separate owners, the library’s governing board took the unusual step of waiving its policy of getting appraisals before buying property. All four homes bought by the library will be demolished.

Library officials say the Frontenac location, which is central within the St. Louis region, was key in the decision to spend $6.1 million for the properties. The purchase was funded as part of the library’s plan to build and renovate 19 libraries through a $120 million campaign using proceeds of a tax levy increase passed in 2012.

Lynn Beckwith Jr., president of the county library’s Board of Trustees, said the board accepted the recommendation of library administration to waive its policy on requiring appraisals and was assured by legal counsel that such a move was allowed.

Beckwith has been on the board since 2007 and president since 2009, and couldn’t remember another time it had done so.

“Any time you get into land appraisals, the word gets out you are searching for land and the price normally goes up,” Beckwith said.

He also said the library had budgeted $6.4 million for the purchase, and ended up paying about $300,000 less. The property was valuable, he said, because it met the library’s criteria for its new building: a central location in the region, proximity to the current headquarters on South Lindbergh Boulevard that is set to be torn down, as well as interstate access.

For those reasons, the library focused its land search in the Ladue, Frontenac, Maryland Heights, Town and Country, Creve Coeur and Des Peres areas.

Frontenac resident Jerry Friedman, who drives on Spoede almost daily to get to the highway, said he understood why the library wanted that location and realized it needed to expand.

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One Comment

  1. Family Stories Project

    02/12/2019 at 9:11 PM

    This would help to educate more a lot of people, surely is a good project