The Saucer on South Grand has been vacant for not yet two weeks and already it's showing a symptom of urban blight: fresh graffiti on the windows.
The debate over whether the building should be demolished will persist, and we might not know its fate for a while. But in the meantime, as these photos show, the Saucer is just another empty tagged-up building in a city with too many empty tagged-up buildings.
Developer Rick Yackey, who recently received a tax abatement from the Board of Aldermen to redevelop the property, has said that one reason a demolition is likely is because retailers have not shown much interest in renting out the current structure. And he doesn't want a vacant property sitting there deteriorating and bleeding money for very long.
Of course, the redevelopment would be easier, cheaper, and faster if a new tenant were willing to reuse the Saucer. That remains a possibility. Alderwoman Marlene Davis, in whose ward the building stands, has said that the media attention and public support for the Saucer has led to more inquiries from retailers interested in potentially reusing the structure.
And the sooner a retailer steps up, the sooner St. Louis can shed one more sad vacant property -- and one more tempting target for taggers.