Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Letter to the Editor

Lake City's Blanche Hotel: Another Pruitt-Igoe?

As I see the Blanche decay, likely because its owner is likely waiting for a payday from the city, I think of similar failures in public policy and urban planning when government intervenes.

I think our councilmen and citizenry would be well advised to investigate Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, which cost over 60% of the national average housing cost at the time it was built. It is studied by every architect and urban planner in the nation as a cautionary tale. The $38 million Pruitt-Igoe was felled by dynamite because it was untenable, just as our Blanche has become.

Regardless of good intentions, nostalgia, greed or arrogance, the Blanche Hotel project intends to put $14 million of good money after bad. It should be sold at market price or condemned and destroyed to protect other buildings from termite and rodent infestation.

Private owners of property have to put their properties on the market when they need to sell. Why is this not the case with The Blanche? I won't deceive myself into believing it is on account of historical significance. If this is the only case I would ask the citizens: Is it worth $14 million to them in sentimental value? 

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