Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back On Market!!! Penthouse Gem!

Originally scooped up in just 4 days, this awesome space has everything a penthouse buyer would ever want!  2 full parking spaces, access to the rooftop pool, guest parking and a MASSIVE master suite and 2 private rooftop decks!!!   Perfect views of the downtown skyline from your floor to ceiling windows or your full length deck!

Call ASAP for showings because this one won't last!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Summer St Louis Loft Sales

Summer ended this past Sunday afternoon, and it seems like a good time to review the latest Downtown Loft sales data from the MLS.  

This summer's loft market was a step in the right direction for the downtown market as well as the overall St. Louis real estate market.  Following a very busy winter and spring, we could have seen a plateau in loft sales.  Fortunately, that wasn't the case.

While the shift from last summer wasn't dramatic, every metric that we saw showed improvement.  

Average sale price rose from $165,278 to $172,528.

Average days on market reduced from 169 to 122.

Average Price per square foot rose from $108.76 to $113.68

Total sales rose from 27 to 31

All that good news, plus there's still 18 units under contract currently.  

One thing that has no metric, but has mostly disappeared is the number of people that talk to me about a glut of unsold lofts downtown.   Inventory is reduced and we're even starting to see year over year sales with moderate appreciation.  

Here are the sales for Summer 2013 from the MLS:

Blu City Spaces  210 N 17th Street

#1207   $27,600
#1112   $36,300
#705     $37,255

Knickerbocker Lofts  507 N 13th Street

#308     $57,000
#309     $104,000

Lofts at 2020 (Sporting News Lofts)  2020 Washington Avenue

#104     $85,000
#713     $92,000
#501     $95,000
#607     $144,000

Terra Cotta Lofts 1501 Locust Street

#201     $101,50

Railway Lofts 1619 Washington Avenue 

#304     $223,500

Meridian Lofts 1136 Washington Avenue 

#612    $148,000
#505    $148,200
#406    $172,000
#501    $200,000
#407    $235,000
#910    $497,500

Printer's Lofts 1611 Locust Street

#606     $200,000
#504     $216,000

Printer's Lofts 1627 Locust Street

#401     $152,000

Moon Bros Lofts  721 N 17th Street

#206     $154,000

McGowan Lofts  1219 Washington Avenue

#510     $147,000

Banker's Lofts  901 Washington Avenue

#205     $225,000
#502     $229,900
#304     $264,000

10th Street Lofts  1010 Saint Charles Street

#1001   $225,500

Dorsa Lofts    1015 Washington Avenue

#305     $260,000
#404     $263,000

Syndicate Condominiums   915 Olive Street

#1201   $193,950

Elder Shirt Lofts  703 North 13th Street

#407     $258,500

Eden Lofts  1720 Chouteau Avenue

#304     $82,600

Monday, September 16, 2013

Homeless Town Hall Meeting Tomorrow Night -- Be There Loft Dwellers!

In 2004, we started working downtown by listing a really cool loft at the Knickerbocker Lofts. 

At that point, the downtown neighborhood was a doormat.  There seemingly was an editorial slant that people living downtown were arrogant and whiny; called "loft dwellers" they were presented negatively.  Problems in other areas had neighborhood feedback and referred to residents, concerned citizens, or home owners.  

Other than the media bias, the Downtown and Downtown West neighborhoods seemed were the dumping grounds for the area.  Visitors to the neighborhood would urinate on buildings and drop trash and think it was ok.  Even worse, Downtown St Louis seemed to be the solution to all other areas vagrancy problems.  It wasn't uncommon to see police cars from outside the city dropping off "new downtown residents" to shelters around the neighborhood.

Our listing at the Knickerbocker gave us a front row seat for some of the problems downtown;  especially that of homelessness.  

In those days, Lucas Park was the scene of most problems with the homeless.   Being homeless itself isn't what bothered the residents downtown, but public urination, public intoxication, public bathing in park fountains, pan-handling, drug dealing, sleeping on park benches, loitering and illegal feeding stations were problems that wear on people.  Downtown residents were looking for a change.  That's where the media bias came in.  Any effort to address the problems associated with the homeless created a classic battle between the "haves" and the "have nots", both in the press, with City Government and with the Police.  City government was even more complicated in that the Downtown Neighborhood has three different Alderman and the neighborhood was seemingly on the 'outskirts' of all three wards.  Lastly, population was a problem.   Downtown wasn't very populous (about 3500 folks), so it was easy for various entities to view any problem as minor since it didn't involve many people.  Thankfully, things have changed since 2004.

Homelessness and its side effects are still downtown.  The voice of the downtown residents and business owners have been heard by the city and downtown continues to improve.  

Now the Downtown Population is around 14,000, and the voice of the downtown residents continues to be important.  

Tomorrow night there is a meeting where the voice of downtown residents will be particularly useful.  

Downtown Hall Meeting
Christ Church Cathedral 1210 Locust Street

According to the flyer, there will be a brief presentation followed by a town hall discussion.  
Without downtown residents at meetings like this, the meetings can be largely dominated by folks with their heart in the right place, but with little realistic perspective on what the homeless problems are and worse off, no concern for the well being of Downtown St. Louis neighborhood.  

So for those of you who care about the continued improvement of the downtown area and the increase in downtown real estate values, plan on being there.  Especially if you are willing to participate in the discussion.  What we don't need is a one sided discussion without the voice of the downtown residents.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Syndicate Summer Open House Schedule

Summer brings a new excitement downtown.  We've already had a taste of some top tier Cardinals baseball and great urban festivals like Blues Week over Memorial Day Weekend.  For the folks that live downtown, being a part of these events is a "no brainer" in an unconventional sense.  Its not that by living downtown, a resident has to go, but the logistics are so simple. Living in the heart of the action means that the planning and arranging of life becomes simple.

The best building for this is the Syndicate Condos, located at 915 Olive Street.

Perfectly centered downtown, the Syndicate is just a few blocks or less from everything downtown.   

So this summer if you're planning on being around for a summer event or would like to see the premier residential building downtown after work, pop by on one of these days and let us show you why this building is the best!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Downtown Living Tour Today!

The 2013 Downtown Living tour is being held today starting at the luxury apartment building, Park Pacific at 1223 Pine.  

The Premier Team will be consulting prospective downtown buyers at the Syndicate Condominiums Penthouse at 915 Olive St in the heart of Downtown.  That upscale building has some of the most favorite amenities in all of downtown, with multiple roof decks, business center, onsite manager, fully appointed club room with kitchen, media room, artist workshop, dual art galleries, covered parking for everyone, plus access to the 9th street garage for additional parking and access to the Culinaria grocer.  Its the Syndicate Condominiums that define the word 'community' when it comes to downtown living.    

This years tour, as each year progresses, is more laid back than the last year with a theme of visiting only occupied units.  Our first Downtown Living Tour was in 2005 when relatively speaking, downtown St Louis was in shambles.  

We used to have an informational tent at street level and direct people to all our listings.  For several years, we put that tent next to Flannery's because the vacant building next door really looked creepy.  That building, like so many others, was transformed.  In this case into the Fitness Factory, now a sort of centerpiece for downtown residents.  Looking back, anyone involved in downtown can certainly say its come a long way!

One other thing about the tour that I remember was the energy and excitement for the number of projects going on.  In 2005, the Moon Brothers Carriage Lofts and the Ventana were announced on the day of the tour, in 2006, the Meridian was announced and tours of the vacant building were held at the tour before it was even closed on by the new developer.  For those in the know, there was always a lot of discussion with the mostly suburban crowd attending the tour about all the great things being built and conceived to make our downtown world class. As the years changed, so did the types of projects and scope of work.  

After the loft boom, getting a construction loan to redevelop a loft building was virtually impossible.  Since the Roberts Tower had already been started, it seemed to be the last building to be built, but at the prices it would take to justify the construction, prospects of completion were bleak.  Even a solid, reliable community institution like the St Louis Cardinals couldn't get the construction financing they needed to start Ballpark Village.  Projects were still completed and rental lofts and stylish apartments, the MX Exchange, and both the CityGarden and Old Post Office Plaza were completed during the scary days of the recession.  Despite the worst financial crisis since the great depression, Downtown St Louis continued to move forward, earning a distinction as the fastest growing neighborhood for young, college educated professionals.

It should be interesting to see how today's tour unfolds.  The drama and hype of the days when loft developer's ran the show are over, and left in their wake is a stable neighborhood that still has room to grow and thrive. 

Stop by and see the Premier Team at 915 Olive at the Syndicate Condominiums for a list of all our stylish downtown listings!  

Tour registration is $20 today.

Monday, April 01, 2013

First Quarter 2013 Loft Sales

Keep an Eye Out for this 2 bedroom 2 bath UPDATED LOFT!

Good things seem to be on the horizon for the downtown housing market. Unlike years past when there was a glut of unsold units in several buildings, pent up demand from current owners, and no such glut of loft buyer's to match, the current loft market has leveled out.  Reminiscent of the market in 2004-2005, when finding a loft was a struggle, buyer's have the hurdle now of being able to find 'the right space'.  

In 2004 & 5, someone that could fog a mirror could get a mortgage, now getting a mortgage isn't so much an issue for the buyer as it is for the loft that's being sold, as banks additional scrutiny seems to have fallen more upon the condominium building / association than it has the buyer.  

Still, loft sales have begun to pick up and appear to be poised for continued growth through the coming months. 

One thing that we had to deal with in 2005 was the absence of a bonafide grocer in downtown.  Now with a grocer plus several smaller convenience stores like Washington Avenue Post, that's no longer an issue.  Plus there are several exciting things going on downtown that will continue to build upon our ongoing momentum for neighborhood building:  SLU Law School, the new Mississippi River Bridge, Improvements along Tucker, Lafayette Preparatory Academy, CITY-ARCH-RIVER and Ballpark Village are all ongoing projects that will build upon the downtown living experience.  

Another factor in the loft market is basic supply and demand economics.  The number of lofts built and sold in Downtown St Louis between 2004 and 2007 was staggering.  It will be virtually impossible to ever repeat that type of growth in the owner occupied condo market ever again.  What seems to have kept the standard 'new construction' home in St Charles from being able to appreciate  much is the availability of land and even newer homes nearby. The number of downtown lofts is almost 'locked in' due to construction financing, historic tax credits, and available buildings reduced drastically from our recent past.  Values of lofts have nowhere to go but up!

Here are the sales for the first Quarter of 2013

Knickerbocker Lofts  507 N 13th Street

#210     $53,000

Lofts at 2020 (Sporting News Lofts)  2020 Washington Avenue

#703     $89,000
#509     $97,000
#309     $100,000
#305     $103,000

Motor Lofts 2201 Washington Avenue 

#302    $83,000

Railway Lofts 1619 Washington Avenue 

#905     $280,000

Windows Lofts 1601 Washington Avenue 

#204    $149,500

Meridian Lofts 1136 Washington Avenue 

#801    $219,000

Marquette Condominiums 314 N Broadway

#1902   $158,000

Ely Walker Lofts  1520 Washington Avenue

#717     $105,000

Printer's Lofts 1627 Locust Street

#704     $105,500
#706     $196,500

Syndicate Condominiums   915 Olive Street

#1104   $169,000
#1009   $260,000

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mixed Messages on Washington

Fantastic 2 bed/ 2 bath Printer's Loft Coming Soon!
A Tale of Two Markets
I spent the past few days showing some cool spaces to 3 different out of town buyers.  Nothing abnormal.  

Something we used to see quite a bit when walking from building to building showing lofts was "run in's" with other Downtown Realtors.  This is the sign of 'hot listings';  it feels like a party, everyone starts showing up at the same time by chance.  It happens all over, but today it was happening downtown.  Clients getting frustrated by excessive showings, seeing agents rushing around with file folders and clients in tow, and working past midnight trying to catch up on paperwork;  these are the signs of a busy market.  While the weather today wasn't fantastic, the market seems to be on fire.  

So when I sat down tonight to review the 1st Quarter St Louis loft sales, my expectation was massive growth in the downtown market overall in the form of loft sales.  While the number of sales wasn't bad, they were surprisingly normal.

In 2008 when the US economy hit a wall and our local real estate market followed suit, our problem with downtown sales was very simple:  Lack of buyers.  There were hundreds of lofts for sale and very few buyers.  That problem has become progressively better as the years have passed.  

Today the issue keeping the loft market stable may vary, but the most interesting problem has been lack of inventory.  

Looking at the numbers, there's 64 Lofts on the
Fantastic 2 bed/ 2 bath coming soon!
market, so one may say, that's roughly 8 months of inventory.  Traditional real estate statistics would say that's still a buyer's market with plenty of available homes.....but wait!  Condominiums have an interesting quirk.  Out of the available 64 condos, approximately one third of the available units would not qualify for any conventional or FHA loan.  Not being able to get a mortgage on a home is sort of a big deal.  Cash buyers are out there, but I ask my cash buyers one question, "when re-selling, do you want to be limited to only cash buyers?"  Most of them buy a unit where financing is not a problem.  

Five percent of the units are luxury penthouses, which, are in a sub-market of their own - not something the 'average' buyer would be able to purchase.    

So just over half the lofts downtown wouldn't be an option for the 'typical' buyer, and of the remaining 30 available homes, 10 of them are 1 bedrooms.  So the 'typical' St Louis loft buyer, as of today, has roughly 4.15 months of inventory to choose from.  The penthouse buyer fares better, but the 1 bedroom loft buyer fares worse, with only 3 months of inventory available.  

So breaking the numbers down, its no wonder that buyer's have been struggling to find a place to call home downtown.  And it's no wonder that the sales have been 'level' at 20.  I've seen how home buyer's get when the see exactly what they like.  It's different than when they get tired of looking and settle.  Vastly different.  While it still happens, most home buyer's give themselves enough time to not have to settle for a home they don't LOVE.  

Before we move on to the individual sales downtown, one more point should be made.  In looking at the sales market, it would be incomplete to look at sales without looking at what's 'in the pipeline'.  Lofts 'under contract' presently number 21 -- 9 of these have been sold within the past 10 days, 7 of which sold since this Thursday.  Sales are picking up for sure!!!

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Return of the Street Car!

Downtown Dallas benefits from a Streetcar System
One of my pet peeves about St Louis is the tendency for St. Louisan's to complain about being in St Louis, but I'm going to do it for a second.

Yesterday I was driving through the former Gaslight Square area and I was thinking what I normally think:  "Why didn't St. Louis do a better job protecting its assets?".

I'm done whining.

Lots of people say the same thing about the Streetcars in St Louis.

Streetcars seem like the thing to do for an urban center.  Having a streetcar line for areas close to downtown would be nice way for people to get around. Independent studies support that. My recent visits to Dallas (above) and New Orleans both made excellent use of the street car within their urban areas.  People used them.  They're simple and clean, quiet and dependable.  In high density areas, they are the ideal way to help people get around the relatively small distances with ease, which allows people to stay in the city,  and not have to get in a car.

Other than Joe Edwards plan to connect the Loop with the History Museum, the Partnership for Downtown St Louis is doing their own research too.  Their event is coming up this Thursday Afternoon & Evening at the Moto Museum in Midtown.  I'm not sure I can make it, but would love to go and support this.  Having been active witness in the re-birth of Downtown, what I've learned is that we can not keep looking at St Louis and complain about the mistakes that have been made without doing our best in this generation to rebuild what we can and should.

When we started selling real estate downtown, we'd usually walk around with buyer's almost all the time.  All the development has done something wonderful for the region, but its spread out the area that we know as downtown (not as far as the press sometimes spreads it).The street cars will probably never be what they once were in St Louis, but having a few around where they would really make the most difference could be huge for the people that live, work and visit the downtown area and areas close by.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Curb Appeal for Downtown

Something we've noticed about major downtown developments is that their often times seems to be very little public awareness or talk about the project until its done.  And why should there be?  Unless someone is the developer, owner, or financier, they aren't involved and the long term project tends to carry less publicity unless there's something controversial.  Even then, as is the case of Northside Regeneration, there's talk and controversy, but still few hard facts about what will be done.

CityArchRiver could possibly be an exception.

So far, as a public project, there's been more open houses and meetings.  They've got me excited.  Now, the plan is to form a citizens board to assist in carrying out the plan.

What's really nice about that is that civic minded DOWNTOWN RESIDENTS, as well as citizens from the surrounding area can share their time to ensure the project is completed in the best interests of the community.

My fear is that good folks from Chesterfield, Arnold, St Charles (where they didn't even put the tax measure on the ballot) or elsewhere will dominate the decision process with a largely pro-tourist bias.  The Downtown neighborhood has the most to benefit, we need some downtown residents to participate!

Visit the CityArchRiver website to get an application for the Citizens Advisory Committee and build Downtown St Louis' curb appeal for your home today! 

Printable Application?  Click Here!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Coming Soon To a Neighborhood Near You

917 Locust was slated to be a Hotel Indigo

Today's Post-Dispatch has a couple articles about downtown buildings:  one about the former holdings of the Robert's Brothers, that changed hands in October, and a more recent sale of the former Peabody Coal Buildings new life as the ICC Engineering Headquarters.

Of the two articles, the subject of Chicago developer hopes to transform vacant Roberts properties has a larger impact on continuing the vision of rebuilding Downtown St Louis.   Focusing on the acquisition of Roberts Tower, Lofts on the Plaza, the Mayfair Hotel,  and the rest of 800-900 Locust, the Chicago developer Urbanstreets Group claimed to be excited about the opportunity.   

Some of the opportunities lack mystery.  The Roberts Tower will be turned into 132 Luxury apartments. The Mayfair will continue to be a hotel, the Lofts on the Plaza will hopefully be cleaned up a bit, and remain apartments.  

What's intriguing, is what they will do with the buildings initially slated to be another Hotel Indigo at 913-923 Locust.  Having 4 buildings adjacent in a downtown setting could be a fantastic development.  These buildings mostly have character and could be developed independently or in a group.  Walking access to the 9th Street Garage, Post Office Plaza, the Culinaria, Downtown Urgent Care, the Syndicate,  MX ExchangeLeft Bank Books, and the Downtown Bicycle Station would be amenities that would be a perfect fit for a mid-sized company looking for a solid location in the heart of downtown.  The other article in today's Post describes just that;  except the company was already in the Downtown area, relocating to the lager 'Peabody Coal Building'.  

As one person interviewed, the question was put to me that with rental apartments going in at Roberts Tower, the Arcade, and the Chemical Building, would we be facing a 'bubble' in the number of rental lofts.  My first answer was "no".  Its always possible, but we have a tremendous opportunity for growth as defined in the Downtown Next plan if we continue to increase the density in downtown St Louis in all possible sectors:  housing, education employment, hotel, and recreation in reasonably proportional amounts.  

Downtown St Louis
Highlighted area is 8-900 Locust
The Urbanstreet Group LLC website page for 913-923 Locust says that the developer is evaluating development opportunities.  Obviously, as a capitalist business, they are looking for what will pay them the most and spend the least.  My hope is that they also consider what will be the best fit for the area. By marketing the building to potential corporations looking for custom developed corporate locations, the area itself would be improved and a needed component of building downtown would also be met..    

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2012 Downtown St. Louis Loft Sales

Ringing in the new year, the downtown loft market has a lot to be cheerful about.  

For those looking for the prices to bounce back to 2007 levels, we're still not there, but the real estate market has strengthened in 2012 and is back on the right track.  Sales are at a 4 year high based on number of lofts sold (102).  In 2008, when there were 109 lofts sold, there were 583 lofts on the market compared to 277 this year.

While pricing isn't going through the roof just yet, we did see an increase in prices this year.  Lofts sold at an average of $113.37 per square foot, up from $109 per square foot last year.

While the sales news for the entire year may not be worthy of any major excitement, average price per square foot for the fourth quarter 2012 jumped to $131.55/square foot.  

Several things are encouraging for the years to come:

  1. As progress continues downtown, the number of condominiums probably won't be             increasing - creating more demand.  
  2. Our recent REALTOR Magazine had exciting news about how FHA loans are becoming more "condo friendly" with the possibility of allowing for "spot approvals" in the future.
  3. MEDIA RULES - the downturn seemed to be exacerbated by the fact that news about the downturn was broadcast 24/7 with articles trying to over dramatize the state of the real estate market.  Lately, positive news seems to be having the opposite effect on the public.

Here are the Downtown St Louis Lofts sold in 2012:

Blu City Spaces  210 N 17th Street

#911     $28,500
#610     $29,995
#908     $29,995
#411     $30,000
#403     $37,000
#305     $42,000
#404     $44,995
#1210   $50,000
#803     $54,995
#406     $55,000
#312     $59,995

Knickerbocker Lofts  507 N 13th Street

#502     $49,100
#204     $78,023

Lofts at 2020 (Sporting News Lofts)  2020 Washington Avenue

#605     $83,000
#604     $84,000
#703     $85,000
#711     $101,000
#313     $105,000
#201     $105,500
#803     $128,500
#714     $133,000
#706     $137,750
#101     $205,000

Motor Lofts 2201 Washington Avenue 

#208    $51,000
#408    $83,000

Westgate Lofts  410 N Jefferson Blvd. / 2323 Locust Street

#307     $80,000
#405     $96,750
#406     $94,000

Terra Cotta Lofts 1501 Locust Street

#402     $94,000
#503     $99,000
#804     $171,500
#707     $200,000

Ventana Lofts 1635 Washington Avenue

#509     $100,100
#912     $222,500

Railway Lofts 1619 Washington Avenue 

#603     $120,000
#405     $157,000
#505     $169,000
#705     $191,000
#304     $195,764
#802     $140,500

Kingbee Lofts 1709 Washington Avenue 

#602     $69,900

Windows Lofts 1601 Washington Avenue 

#304    $140,500
#210    $155,000

Meridian Lofts 1136 Washington Avenue 

#209    $102,000
#710    $156,000
#712    $168,500
#903    $215,000

Lucas Lofts 1123 Washington Avenue 

#409     $110,000
#304     $112,500
#308     $117,050
#216     $152,000
#716     $159,430
#215     $311,000 

Marquette Condominiums 314 N Broadway

#1805   $100,000
#1404   $120,000
#1604   $120,000
#1601   $129,900
#1808   $145,000
#1101   $165,000
#1403   $230,000

Ely Walker Lofts  1520 Washington Avenue

#316     $153,500
#608     $175,000

Printer's Lofts 1611 Locust Street

#502     $165,000
#601     $184,000
#303     $195,000

Printer's Lofts 1627 Locust Street

#305     $158,000
#406     $163,000

Annex Lofts 1511 Locust Street

#508     $90,000
#806     $115,000

Alexander Lofts 1121 Locust Street

#302     $372,000

Banker's Lofts  901 Washington Avenue

#505     $200,000
#704     $390,900

10th Street Lofts  1010 Saint Charles Street

#703     $120,000
#803     $240,000
#1102   $350,001
#1004   $416,800

Dorsa Lofts    1015 Washington Avenue

#509     $119,795
#302     $240,000
#304     $249,000

Edison Condominiums  400 S 14th Street

#1108    $229,000
#1206    $242,000
#1203    $246,500
#1114    $275,000
#1113    $290,000
#1216    $300,000
#1202    $330,000

Syndicate Condominiums   915 Olive Street

#1502   $193,950
#1504   $218,000
#1410   $226,200
#1308   $226,900
#1310   $230,900
#1207   $237,800
#1305   $315,000
#1612   $448,200

Elder Shirt Lofts  703 North 13th Street

#503     $455,000

Here's to a brighter 2013 in the Downtown Market!