Thursday, February 16, 2006

Golden Arches Not So Golden?

Golden Arches Not So Golden?

Over at Urban Review - St. Louis, Steve Patterson has been doing some impressive research regarding the planned replacement for the Grand and Chippewa McDonald's. His earlier post has some pictures.

In short, the plan is for McDonald's to move across the street to Grand at Winnebago, on part of the old Sears site now owned by Pyramid construction. Also, a senior-citizen housing development *may* be built on the corner site currently occupied by McDonald's - but it will also require some adjacent property on Chippewa they may not be able to get so easily.

Meanwhile, so-called "affordable" townhomes would be built (I guess) on Arkansas Ave. behind the new McDonald's. This, somehow, would use up some of the ground and make the rest of the site more feasible to develop the nearly $200,000 single-family houses initially planned for the whole site called Keystone Place.

This is probably better than nothing, but this still doesn't guarantee that Pyramid will actually finish building those overpriced new houses!

I still think Pyramid should be required to build the houses and then try and sell them. Not the other way around. It's not like these are truly custom houses, are they? They have built some houses on spec; why not fill out more of the site that way? Once the houses are actually built, it's easier to attract buyers than when all you have to show are vacant lots and plans on paper.

I can see a market for townhouses priced in the $100,000 to $150,000 range in this area, but let's not kid ourselves: those are not really affordable housing.

Granted, I guess my standard is "if I can't afford it, it's not affordable."

Using really rough numbers, the mortgage payment on a $100,000 house (for 30 years at 7% interest) would be somewhere around $600 per month, possibly more depending on the cost of insurance. Anyway, if you figure affordability as the house payment being 30% or less of your monthly income, that means you'd have to make $2,000 per month for that to be affordable. That's $24,000 per year.

Yeah, I make a little more than that. But most people don't. $24,000 per year is not much money, true. But let's call this what it is - housing for lower-middle-class/working-class households. That's fine. It's not for low-income people, not really.


Anonymous said...

Wow, your hypothetical income is the exact amount Public Eye, Inc. makes each year to edit

I guess we know at least one person can afford to live in Keystone Place.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Public Eye has been perfectly happy on Washington for the last 14 years. The neighborhood McDonalds there is wedged between the P-D and Vector Control.


Anonymous said...

Affordable housing shouldn't be equated with low-income housing. Moderate income folks need affordable housing too.

However, I resent the suburban zoning approach of buffering single-family homes (which aren't selling anyway) from the commercial (Mickey D's) with townhomes. I mean, if the commercial wasn't so undesirable to live next to (sidewalk storefronts instead of a drive-thru fast-food joint), then you wouldn't need to follow such an auto-oriented suburban methodology.

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