Sunday, February 15, 2009

Business is Business

Lately business hasn't been great. Not necessarily real estate, but any business. Consumer's are tightening their belts, businesses are doing the same, and a whole chain reaction follows. News of the present economic challenges are everywhere, why loftsinthelou?

Last week I was in two places I would consider prime business locations. At Meramec & Carondelet, adjacent to the St. Louis County Government Center and Courthouse in the heart of Clayton and at West County Mall in Des Peres. Noticing that J Bucks closed its West County Mall location and another restraunt closed at the corner of Meramec and Carondelet, it was a sign that the economic woes are everywhere. Even at arguably some of the best locations in the region, businesses are struggling.

Even some well managed businesses are failing. My rants are always about poorly managed companies or bad business plans. Some companies that are run successfully for many years just don't have the reserves to withstand the adverse climate.

What's the point? The businesses in Downtown need our support. Also, there still seems like there's a negative bias about the ability of stores to survive downtown and that when a shop closes downtown or moves out of downtown that its because of the area and not all the other factors.

One news source that seems to always represent downtown well is the St. Louis Business Journal. This weeks issue's special section "Doing Business Downtown" talked a great deal about some of the factors facing downtown.

One thing that was sort of annoying was an article talking about condo projects going rental. It does happen, but a quote from one developer talked about the tax credit advantages of going rental like they were really benefiting from the whole thing. Nutty really, considering the same developer had 5 or 6 mechanics liens published a few pages later for unpaid bills to a contractor. Condo buildings that have gone rental have done so ONLY to avoid eminent foreclosure. What would have been an improvement would be if they also addressed the implications that these developers actions had on their owner occupied units and thier ability to re-sell. I guess that every angle can't be covered. That may come up in next years issue.

Things keep moving forward though and downtown St. Louis will be one area that continues to grow during these tough times.

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