In 2010, four different people tried to buy 2925 Union Blvd., a vacant city-owned property. All four were told no. The city’s refusal to sell 2925 Union is by no means unique: More than 9,000 parcels like this one are owned by the city, and even though there are offers to purchase many of them, most aren’t being sold.
From a public policy perspective, offers to buy vacant city properties are win-win: The city has fewer vacant properties to maintain, and private individuals can take on the risk and profits of redeveloping some of Saint Louis’ most undesirable properties. Yet from January 2003 through December 2010, Saint Louis government has rejected offers to purchase more than 2,200 vacant city properties.