Friday, April 16, 2010

Is It That Bad?

Back in my college days, Washington Avenue was the bomb!  The nightclub scene sort of migrated around between the landing, Wash Ave, and Central West End.  Most buildings downtown were essentially vacant except for warehouse space, some "true loft" dwellers, and the group of constantly changing nightclubs.  It was at that point, really a supreme low point in value, that Dave Jump started buying underutilized and undervalued buildings downtown. 

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a freelance reporter and I'm looking for any info on hot and spicy news stories surrounding business in downtown. Does anyone reading this blog know anything about the following:
1. Old Navy opening a store near Locust & 10th
2. A major preschool/kindergarten opening at 11th & Olive
3. BJC making an offer to purchase Downtown Urgent Care
4. A work/live theme at the LaSalle building, where each floor is 3,000 sf.
5. Club Fitness opening near 8th & Olive or 8th & Locust

If you know about any of these, please post your contact info on this blog, and I'll email you directly. I have a substantial budget for reliable information. Thanks.