By Tracy Clemons
St. Louis (KSDK) - In 2006, the Missouri History Museum bought a property next door to the old Delmar High School on Delmar Boulevard. The land once held a McDonalds and then a barbeque restaurant.
Museum president Dr. Robert Archibald had high hopes for the property.
"The idea was to create a real center for storytelling knowing that most of the history of this community resides in the memories of people who live here," said Archibald.
He led the effort for the Missouri History Museum to buy the property from former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. They bought it for $875,000 and paid another $100,000 for environmental assessments, legal fees, and "other" fees.
All this was done without an appraisal.
"We looked at properties all up and down Delmar. We knew what those properties were worth, or what the asking price was. We knew what properties had recently sold for so we were pretty comfortable with the decision we made," said Archibald.
The museum is run on private donations and tax dollars that are allocated by the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District. NewsChannel 5 contacted a member of that board, who was on the museum commission at the time of this purchase.
"Bob Archibald and the board of trustees purchased the property and told us after the fact. So the commissioners, who are the representatives of the taxpayers, they were not in on the transaction at all," said Gloria Wessels.
Archibald says they paid it entirely with private dollars.
"There were no tax dollars involved in that purchase whatsoever," he said.
And now they hope to recoup those private dollars.
"We think that in the long run we'll be able to sell that property for what we paid for it," said Archibald.
Dr. Archibald believes the redevelopment along Delmar will make this a very desirable property.
He says he does plan to have it appraised, mainly to make sure it's worth what it's listed for on the museum's balance sheet.