Thursday, December 10, 2009

Benefits of Foreclosures

Downtown St Louis real estate
Right now, I've had just about enough of foreclosures! Hearing that the Arcade Building is being foreclosed on was somewhat of a relief though and I'm not sure why.

Maybe its because of what felt like a big "land grab" back in 2004-2006 as rival developers postured to see who could stake out the remaining gems downtown. Prices for abandoned buildings rose as high as $30/square foot. This surge in buying somehow seemed to force development downtown much too quickly and at to high a cost for the then market to support. By itself, completing the Arcade may not have posed a monumental challenge at that time, considering that the Syndicate Trust underwent a similar conversion. Going back to that time though, Pyramid was unable to sell out the remainder of the Banker's Lofts and had 50% of the Dorsa Lofts to sell also. Both of these projects were priced at less than $150/square foot(base price) while the the Arcade shows a price of just over $200/ square foot for a unit that included parking.

The Post Dispatch article announcing the foreclosure blames the "nationwide housing collapse" for the foreclosure. That's as close to the truth as if the Culinaria purchased 4 times the amount of bananas it normally sells in a week and bumps the prices up 46% then blames the economy for the not selling. Ridiculous! I won't even touch the "housing collapse" comment except to say that a 20% drop in prices is hardly a collapse.

Like so many people following this buildings history and future, my hope is that someone with a viable plan can step in once the building is priced right. This foreclosure just might be the first step in seeing that process move forward. Map of 800 Olive shows the location in the heart of downtown adjactent to the Old Post office and Metrolink Station. My take isn't more condominiums, but rather a custom build out for a corporate headquarters along with a slight mix of retail and possibly some apartments or corporate housing. With such a phenomenal building and perfect location, who could resist?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Downtown North?

Remember when Ballpark Village, the MX Exchange and the Bottle District were all being unveiled and in competition with each other for the new hot commercial zone in downtown St Louis? Having downtown built out in every direction with great new places to go seemed far fetched, but exciting. How could it all come together.....could it all come together?

Obviously that answer was, " uh..NO".

This new bit of information was released today about some plans for the Bottle District site.

While the work HRI did on the Merchandise Mart Loft Apartments has been allegedly some of the worst construction downtown, somehow this new project is exciting. The area to the north of the downtown area can really benefit from some affordable loft style housing and its obvious that the 'big picture' for the Bottle District won't come together as one giant plan as previously announced. Building the area block by block will do. While the Art Lofts, City Museum and the Syndicate have some great amenities geared for artists, downtown has still been limited in the area of affordable yet updated homes. We'll see if this plan takes off. In this day and age, building an effective plan to obtain financing is a long shot contingent on many factors.

Lets just hope this plan includes soundproofed walls & floors!