Barb Geisman and Kate Shea will be representing the City of St. Louis later today at a White House ceremony honoring the recipients of the 2007 Preserve America Presidential Awards. Downtown St. Louis Revitalization is one of four entries that will receive the award.
Barb and Kate will join Craig Heller and John Steffen, two St. Louis developers whose work several years ago made them pioneers in downtown’s resurgence. Their companies, Loftworks and Pyramid, each rehabilitated a number of downtown’s historic buildings, countering then-prevailing wisdom that had written downtown off as a lost cause. Loftworks and Pyramid deserve the national honor and universal notice. Thanks to Craig’s and John’s initiative and success, many other investors, residents, and businesses now believe downtown has a bright future as the region’s premier living, shopping, and working neighborhood. And Craig and John continue to build some of downtown’s most interesting projects.
I’ve said this before: Downtown revitalization has happened here because of a continuing partnership between the City and risk-taking private developers, like John and Craig, who are using the City’s incentives, and state and federal tax credits to make impossible budgets possible. It’s working and lots of people all over the world are beginning to notice.
Here’s some background on the PAPA award, the nation’s highest award for preservation:
The 2007 Preserve America Presidential Award recipients were chosen through a national competition administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in cooperation with the Executive Office of the President and in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Presidential Awards are given annually to organizations, businesses, or government entities for exemplary accomplishments in heritage tourism and sustainable use and preservation of cultural or natural heritage assets. For more information visit www.PreserveAmerica.gov
The other three recipients of the 2007 PAPA awards are: the USS Midway Museum; the Natchitoches-Cane River Region Heritage Tourism; and The History Channel.
UPDATE: Here’s a photo of Craig, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, and John at the White House today.