Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day....

"Little Francis' teacher called home last week to talk to Francis's Mom & Dad about the progressive slide in little Francis' grades.  

"Darling Francis!" exclaimed his mother, "he can do no wrong!"  "Do something, Father!"

Mother and Father thought hard for nearly a minute before they confidently placed the blame where it truly belonged;  on anyone but Francis."  


Anyone with any longevity in Downtown St. Louis understands four consistent truth's with the St. Louis fear mongering media:   
1.  "Downtown is Failing" is an acceptable answer to any problem.   
2.  No other community faces the same level of scrutiny.  
3.  Responsibility rarely falls where it should.
4.  Use the truth as a last resort.

Seeing the news last night how Harry's was closing was obviously a disappointment.    When it opened, I remembered it was considered one of the top pick up bar's in the area for folks slightly older than me (now around 48-50 years old).  It was a classy place with good food.   Maybe Harry cited all the reasons for closing, and they news channel just cut everything out except his "Downtown is struggling" cliché.   When Harry's opened 23 years ago, Washington Avenue was a dive.   Old warehouses, rave parties and the 3am club scene for the young people, the slightly older, 'yuppies' went to Harry's.  

Now the world has changed.   
We can only hope that the 48-50 year olds have found their first and maybe 2nd or 3rd spouse by now.  The internet has changed how society communicates and online dating / social media has largely taken the primary reason that many people went to the bars back in the 80's and 90's.  My pals in bands tell me all the time, how we live in the different world, which is good, because I'm not in the bars to see for myself.  Harry's was becoming obsolete.  

This really shouldn't be anything earth shattering.  This has happened ever since restaurants really came into being.  A concept gets tired, stops performing, maybe some management or staffing problems take place, or some other outside factor like traffic changes or massive competition.   Sometimes, like young Francis, the place just isn't that good, or the business plan was to blame.  One of my other favorite restaurants on Watson rd, Stellina's recently shuttered.   Rather than blame Lindenwood Park, I would say that there were too few tables and not enough privacy.  I saw it coming, but enjoyed the business while it lasted.  

Like all of downtown, blame Ballpark Village.   That's fair.    Ballpark Village is a fresh concept by players with good strategy, good design, great location and deep pockets.   A tough competitor.   So tough, in fact, that they're blaming it for a closure in KIRKWOOD.  

With J. Bucks, it closed in Downtown.   It also closed in West County (2009) and in Clayton.  The sky is falling strategy used like a club against downtown didn't happen there, and the journalists in St. Louis really have to get real.  

THE BOTTOM LINE is that Downtown will always have challenges, but that growth and development are still going on and things will take time, but the direction Downtown is heading will continue to amaze.  



Sunday, December 06, 2015

Vision Limited

STL Celebrates End of WWII on Washington Avenue
Kudos to Nick Pistor and the Post Dispatch for addressing the maintenance problems of the Washington Avenue streetscape in sunday's paper.  It highlighted the games that go on behind the scenes between the City and public utilities and how Washington Avenue's 'special' features are the victim.  To sum up; the agreement for a public utility to tear up the city streets is accompanied by an expectation to patch up the street, but not the extra effort and expense maintaining 'zipper and stitch' paving and 'runway lighting' down the middle of the street.  

What's particularly frustrating about the article is the reality that the city streets department was interviewed, Downtown Inc. CEO was interviewed, and the Neighborhood Association was interviewed.  The impression that the city leadership isn't concerned that the massive investment in Washington Avenue was evident, possibly due to the writer, and maybe its just the way it is.  No inclusion of comments from one of the many alderman for the downtown area or the mayors office was used.  Reading between the lines, this could be one of the many problems with downtown's lack of an exclusively committed alderman.  With downtown split between multiple alderman, the area just isn't important enough to any one of them to fight for what is necesary to keep things looking good.  

The article also addresses the lack of vision in the planning.    Not having funds set aside for maintenance is a common theme.   Its common knowledge that its easier to get millions for a new road or bridge than getting smaller amounts for maintenance and repair of what's already in use.

Hopefully this conversation keeps going.  

The last thing we need is a light shined on a problem downtown but no further action.  Between the neighborhood and Downntown STL, Inc., STL City leaders need to know that this issue isn't going away.   


Monday, September 21, 2015

Potential Downtown Neighbor


Not that this is a brand new video, but I find it more exciting than most of the other press coverage about building a stadium.  

Last year, downtown lost a prospective buyer because our city had failed to capitalize upon our position on the Mississippi.  They were shocked that this resource didn't have more public use space.  This plan to build a stadium has too many factors to mention, but seeing it materialize with the support it has garnered this summer is inspiring, and considering its place just north of the newly redesigned archgrounds is especially appealing.

The Harvard study is a good plug for the overall investment OPPORTUNITY, but in my mind, only if every phase of the project is well thought out and other positive changes (ie City to River) materialize.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't Forget the Downtown Neighborhood Association! Tonight at 6pm -- Central Library!


Downtown Neighborhood Association Meets Again!

As a city Realtor, the one thing I've noticed about neighborhoods is that the quality of life is proportional to the quality of its neighborhood association.   Neighbors that care show up.   There's strength in numbers (sometimes referred to as 'votes'), and there's strength in well organized associations.  

Currently the association is about as organized as I've ever seen it, which is a start.  Longevity and focus are also important, not so much for the individuals, but the objectives and goals of the organization. 

In downtown St. Louis, the goals have been consistent, but the effort behind organizing the neighborhood has been consistent.  Elected officials have had the ability to 'ride out the storm' and wait for the squeaky wheel to silence itself.  That has happened in the past, but clearly isn't the case now.  

Its great to see a current website  with minutes and agendas for each meeting.  

It would be EVEN BETTER to see a strong turnout and participation for tonights meeting!

6pm
Central Library



Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Adding Class(es) to Downtown

The Arcade Building Downtown has secured its needed ancor commercial tenant as Webster University has chosen to expand its presence downtown.  

The St Louis Business Journal reports that increasing classrooms, adding a cafe, an auditorium and more office space will be the anchor tenant, but declined to state how much of the commercial space will be used by the university.

The upside of this move is big for the city in that it will allow development of a historic gem to be completed and backed financially by a credible institution in St Louis.  Nice too that Webster will be increasing its activity downtown, despite not really knowing what extent that will be. Completion is scheduled for 2016.

My hopes are that the actual arcade within the first two floors will allow for additional commercial development and public use of those amenities.  That seems to be what the first two levels of the Arcade building is designed for, rather than a secured entry with more lower level offices and classrooms.  The remainder of the building is still going to be used for downtown apartments and artist lofts which will add to the density of the area, but retail establishments will be needed to attract tennants and fullfill the needs of downtown.   


Monday, March 31, 2014

Phenomenal Spaces Available in Downtown St Louis!!!


Getting ready to post the sales for the first Quarter of 2014 has me excited!  There were some fantastic lofts sold and a busy downtown market.  

These are some awesome listings that are available as of today!  The top one, PRINTER's 403  is a fantastic 2 bedroom 2 bath large space with a balcony and 2 parking spaces.  AT nearly 2100 sq ft, there's a great spot to add a 3rd BEDROOM if desired! We can't believe its still on the market!    

PRICED TO SELL AT $263,900!



Meridian Lofts Extra Large, Extra Luxury

This beauty was JUST LISTED by the Premier Team (it will be open as of 4/1/2014) and we're so excited for some lucky buyer!  

Originally built out as the developer's personal unit at the Meridian Lofts, this combination of 2 normal sized units into one huge corner space is exquisite!  

Top of the line appliances and phenomenal views of the loft district, this space is mind blowing!   On top of all the obvious features, the fact that each window was replaced with sound deadening windows.  

Phenomenal Experience at $519,900