By Jim Merkel
Southwest City Journal
September 15, 2003

Plans for a dozen new high-end townhouse units in the 6900 block of Waldemar Avenue have Alderman Thomas Bauer yapping about what it means for Dogtown. "This kind of development is typical of things occurring in a number of locations in Dogtown, said Bauer, D-24th Ward.

Bauer introduced legislation Friday in the Board of Aldermen thag would allow the Dogtown Commons Planned Unit Development. The project by Saaman Development Corp. will allow the construction of four buildings, each with three units, on a new private street going north from Waldemar, to be called Dogtown Walk.

Prices for the approximately 1,800-square-foot units will start in the low-to-middle $200,000s, said Mark Rubin, president of Saaman Development Corp.

The aldermanic Housing, Urban Development & Zoning Committee will hold a hearing on Bauer's bill to create a "Dogtown Walk Townhouse Planned Unit Development District" at 10 a.m. Thursday in Room 208 of City Hall.

"We have the perfect location for new high-end housing because we're located between the West End and Clayton," Bauer said.

Both areas are overpriced, Bauer said. "The market forces are causing people to look to Dogtown to fill the desire that people have to live close to Forest Park and close to all the amenities."

Saaman already has sold out a total of eight townhouses in two developments in the same area, for prices ranging from $200,000 to $275,000. One is the five-unit Dogtown Village at 2020-2036 Prather Ave. and 2035 Forest Ave. and the other is the three-unit Dogtown Forest development at 6911-6915 Garner Ave.

A duplex on Prather and the conversion of a four-family flat on Tamm Avenue are among the projects commanding high prices, Bauer said.

"You've got the new construction and now people feel confident in spending money, rehabbing their homes. So it has a synergy effect," Bauer said. "Prices of existing homes are increasing."

People are fixing up distressed properties that previously sold for a maximum of $45,000 and selling them for around $100,000, Bauer said.

"We're running out of properties that can be rehabbed because everybody is combing the streets in Dogtown looking for opportunities," Bauer said.


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