Monday, November 28, 2005

Historical Loft Living

Downtown loft coffee shopI was in Cummel's the other day and we were asking the owner about the changes in the loft district in the past 20 years, or since Cummel's opened. I used to come down to Washington & Delmar to go clubbing as early as the late 80's, but didn't know much about living there at that time. Now what seemed more unconventional at the time is pretty mainstream and that was what we talked about. cummels cafe St. Louis

The first "loft" I remember visiting looked more like a garage in the middle floors of the City Museum right about the time it opened. The artist that rented there used to bring his motorcycle up the service elevator to park right in the middle of the kithen. It's really wild to hear about the history of loft living beginning in the SOHO area of New York and then take a look at what is available throughout the country today. Its a testament to the changing values of society. Check out the whole story in this historical sketch! [Loft history story taken off the linked website -- Recommended Reading:  Loft Living:  Culture and Capital in Urban Change by Sharon Zukin

And a fond congratulations to Cummels on 20 years of successful business downtown!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Golds Big Move

Downtown St. Louis ResidentIt looks like the Downtown neighborhood has won out over Downtown-West neighborhood for the new location for Gold's Gym. I spoke to people from Gold's since they first were informed of their need to move and talk was pretty much narrowed down between the Goodman Building at 13th and Washington or St. Louis Centre at 7th and Washington. They are moving as I write and should be fully opened at the Centre on December 1.

I have mixed feelings about it, but I'm kind of glad. The area at 13th and Washington while a good location, seems to be anchored right now by several great new businesses. The Goodman building (2 story) would be a great location for a variety of places (bookstore or grocery store maybe?). Not that having Gold's there would have been bad, but to me, it seems like it will do more good having a stable new tennant for the Centre (plus it will be closer to my place at the Dorsa lofts).

The bottom line though, is thankfully, they stayed in the urban core. They could have moved to Affton or St. Louis Hills.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

St. Louis' Hottest Loft Market

St. Louis loft for sale
As evidenced by the smashing success of the Ely Walker lofts, the hottest market for lofts in St. Louis is the $175,000 and below market. Sometimes I think that developers are pushing that envelope, other times it seems that they miss the mark all together. I digress.....I'm actually excited about another new property available through Premier Realty Exclusive that fits nicely into the entry level loft market. It's in the 2020 Loft building by Pyramid and the property taxes can be paid using the change in my desk drawer. Hardwoods, great windows, high ceilings, a great paint job, cool custom lighting and a great open floorplan.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Best View in Town!

Best Loft View in St. LouisLast week we listed a loft in the Terra Cotta Lofts. I had been in the building so many times, that I was suprised how the view from unit 905 struck me. Sometimes views can be over rated. Sometimes the space can speak for itself. In this case the space is and the view is captivating! The first agent that went through it told us it won't last long. Here's the MLS listing of the unit.

Unit 905 has plenty of space (1495 square feet), is a 2 bedroom 2 full bath and has granite counters and laminate wood flooring. Tax abated (only $330/year!) This is one of the few loft buildings where some of the units have a decent view of the arch. Regardless, this type of loft makes me grateful for working downtown.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

If I were to sell on ebay

Selling Lofts on ebayLast week I got an email that someone was selling their loft on ebay (thanks Dave). How freaky is that?

Lots of people have asked me about it, so here it goes.

Hopefully the deal works out for all involved.

I've always had the feeling in real estate that many of my buyer clients sort of feel that the significant involvement from a realtor starts when they begin looking and ends when they find the home they want to purchase. This could be extended to include the negotiations on price. Fair enough.

If that was all that was involved on my end, my life would be so much easier.

In the past year, I've had transactions where we were in negotiations to resolve matters up to and even AFTER everyone walks away from the closing table. The truth of the matter is that real estate transactions can be very complicated and generally, there are two absolutely opposite interests involved. Keeping those interests working together to consumate the sale is what the realtor must do.

I guess the bottom line is, assuming a genuine buyer is found on ebay that intends on closing the deal, there is still a fair amount that needs to take place to ensure that the deal doesn't die or worse yet, result in a lawsuit. If I listed my home on ebay without a reserve, I would make sure that someone was ready to outbid the highest bidder just in case the high bid was drastically below my lowest acceptable price. Not that its happening here, but hypothetically. Anyway, this transaction has really caught my attention, as well as so many others, that I plan to keep an eye on the tax records etc. to see if the loft is really sold or not. Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My Annual Traditional Real Estate Posting

I talked with a friend tonight who hasn't lived in StL for a few years and was unaware of the changes to the loft district in St. Louis. It was a fun conversation because I could imagine if we switched roles, I would be doubtful of the difference a few years can make also.

I wanted to post a link to theSt. Louis Real Estate freddie mac website with the past several weeks of mortgage rate averages. While
interest rates are still historically low, they continue to climb.

I wanted to do my duty as a realtor and explain something important about interest rates that often gets overlooked by the first time home buyer: as that interest rate goes up--What you can afford goes down.

Visit our preferred lender page for lenders that will take care of you and know how to finance St Louis lofts & condominiums!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

More Accolades on Washington Ave.

Washington Avenue Merchant
Congratulations to the Washington AVE Post for the best business award from Mayor Slay at todays Annual Business luncheon at the Renaissance. I concur with the mayor, as I frequently need the services--whether business or one of the fantastic drinks.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ely Walker: part 2 and ramblings of the Old Post Office

I almost lost sleep last night wondering exactly how many of the Ely Walker Lofts had been sold. The total: 91 LOFTS SOLD!!!! Wow!

I heard that they had hoped to sell around 20. What a deal. Three more lofts were sold today without a complete knowledge of what the pricing will be changed to after today. According to Orchard Development staff, just because the sales were so stellar, they won't be too aggressive with the price increases. We'll see.

Other than that, there was another article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch today about downtown development regarding the Old Post office with information about some of the new tennants.

What bothered me was that there was a Pasta House Company Pronto store opening up. Could that possibly be due to the phenomenal success of 10th Street Italian? Probably so.
I know the Pasta House is a local company and all, but it bothers me to see a big chain move to an area AFTER an independent restaurant proves the market worthy. It seems like it should be the other way around.

A Great Night Downtown

Kudos to the folks at Orchard Development for the fantastic party to release the Ely Walker Lofts to the public. People started showing up at 10am for the party that began at 4pm. There was a fair amount of advertising and PR about these lofts, including the business section of the Post Dispatch.

Can too much success be a bad thing? Of the 173 units available, at 8pm, 66 had already been pre-sold with another handful of people still waiting to reserve. One of the party people that we ran into was getting ready to reserve his second unit of the evening. Usually developers want to sell enough to secure the construction financing and get the project approved by Fannie Mae. In this case they may have overshot that mark substantially.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What's Up with the MOPAC Building?

On a recent visit to the Marquette building, I asked about a tentative time frame for one of our city's most fascinating dormant buildings.

I was told (emphasis on tentative) that the building will take about a year from its pre-construction availability to be completed. The building will have many larger spaces available for people not wanting to sell off furniture. It will be more traditional condos rather than lofts, and that the units will be pre-sold most likely in the spring of next year.