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?

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