Friday, April 16, 2010
Is It That Bad?
Watching the rennaisance downtown has been fantastic.
In 2004, when we started working in the downtown residential real estate market, things were still fairly bleak. Even with all the activity, many of the buildings hadn't changed in form or function since my college days in the early 90's. Walking the streets with buyer's, we'd hear comments like, "it looks like you've still got a long way to go" as we passed by a boarded up building. Some people were attracted to the idea of finding a diamond in the rough: loft living amongst an otherwise deteriorating neighborhood.
Now, despite a much nicer downtown, commercial values are dropping back down and Dave Jump appears to be speculating again.
In talking with a former Pyramid Construction officer, the Jefferson Arms was going to really solidify the neighborhood as a rental building with a movie theater and street level retail. Positioned at Tucker and Washington, the former "Jefferson Hotel" was one of the finest convention hotels in St Louis at one time, but hadn't received much attention since then when it was converted to the Jefferson Arms Apartments. After the collapse of Pyramid, Sherman Associates, a partner in the Syndicate Development, was said to be aquiring the Jefferson, but the building ended up in foreclosure last summer.
In talking with the folks downtown back in the boom times, some folks idolized Jump, others demonized him. I, like the article says, just saw him as a savy investor; buying low and selling high. Other than that, he stepped in to help save the City Museum at one point, providing much needed capital to keep the enterprise going. Hearing he's the owner of the Jefferson Arms gives me a comfortable feeling for a few reasons, but mainly that he had a role in what has been a tremendous turn around of downtown. Also, as a local business man, he has more interest in seeing the property turn around than its prior bank owner. It seems like the Jefferson has sat vacant long enough, so it would be great to see the wheels in motion to make use of this old gem.