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St. Louis leaders condemn downtown loft, ordering management to answer safety issues

The Ely Walker lofts were served with a failure to abate and a public nuisance summons hearing.

ST. LOUIS — Video circulated on social media earlier this year showed hundreds of people taking over a community room at the Ely Walker Lofts, reportedly part of a short-term rental party that overwhelmed the Washington Ave. space. 

It's the same building where, in March, bullets shattered the front glass doors, pierced walls, and killed 16-year-old high school student Terrion Smith after another party.

City leaders say they're taking action after a pattern of safety issues.

"The Ely Walker lofts were served with a failure to abate, and a public nuisance summons hearing following a cease and desist order earlier this year," St. Louis Public Safety Director Dan Isom said.

Isom says the City's now calling on property managers from STL CityWide, which is responsible for a significant number of units in the building, to address safety concerns, going as far as to condemn several of CityWide's units.

"The unit could be in really good shape. We just don't know yet because we haven't been in it. The owner just hasn't done what they are supposed to do at this point," St. Louis Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said.

5 On Your Side left a voicemail for CityWide staff but did not receive a response by airtime. 

The City's action comes as private groups call for security investments and action downtown.

"We are urging city leaders at all branches of government to make a major landmark and catalytic investment in downtown infrastructure," Jason Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Greater St. Louis Inc., said.

Isom said there is a reason for optimism, pointing to the record crowds downtown for this weekend's Cardinals game

"Forty-eight-thousand people packed the stands," he said.

Yet, adding the downtown safety issue will take time and coordinated efforts.

"I think we can minimize the problems. Particularly the problems that occurred late at night once events let out," Isom said.

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