Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leather Trades Building on Track for Fall Renovation

Despite a tough economy, downtown continues to make positive strides - Steve Patterson of Urban Review STL is now reporting that Dominium Properties will begin renovating the Leather Trades Building in September!

Barring any major changes to the original development plans, the Leather Trades is slated to include approximately 90 apartments and studio space for artists, dancers and musicians.  Sounds like a great way to enliven the area.

The redevelopment of the Leather Trades will go a long way toward making Locust a cohesive residential street, like its neighbor to the north, Washington Avenue.  There are still a few buildings left to renovate along Locust west of Tucker, the most notable being the Dragon Trading Building at 1709 Locust.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

St. Louis Coworking Coming to the Shell Building


Calling all freelancers and self-employed professionals!  Beginning August 2, you'll have a new great new place to work when Saint Louis Coworking officially opens its doors in the Shell Building.

Saint Louis Coworking will offer three different monthly payment options, ranging from $450/month for a dedicated desk and file cabinet to just $100/month for basic unlimited access to the work space.  And, anyone can drop in for the daily rate of $15.

This concept will hopefully prove popular and make downtown the place to be for those professionals who are constantly on the go and aren't tethered to leased office space.  I can definitely see Saint Louis Coworking's 10,000-sf space becoming a beehive of activity and a place for create professionals to collaborate and share ideas while maintaining their independence.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Breakfast for Bikers this Wednesday at Old Post Office Plaza

Has the Tour de France got you fired up and ready to ride your bike?  Have you been considering making bicycle commuting a part of your routine?

If so, bike on down to  the Old Post Office Plaza this Wednesday, July 28 from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for "Breakfast for Bikers."  Meet fellow cyclists and enjoy coffee from the London Tea Room and bagels from the St. Louis Bread Company.  It'll be the perfect way to start your morning while showing your support for cycling in St. Louis.

These morning meet-ups will be taking place on the last Wednesday of every month through October 27th.  The first event, held on June 30, attracted 15-20 bike commuters, and its organizers - Trailnet and the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis - are hoping to keep the numbers growing.

For more information, contact emily@trailnet.com.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can Cupples Station #7 be Saved?


It wasn't all that long ago that downtown buildings dominated the Landmarks Association's annual list of the region's most endangered buildings.  The Statler Hotel, Merchandise Mart and Kiel Opera House once seemed like they would be permanent fixtures on the list, but the wave of redevelopment that downtown has experienced over the last decade has seen most of the threatened buildings restored to their former glory by developers.  Even vacant buildings like the Arcade Building are considered viable candidates for redevelopment or have stable enough ownership to no longer warrant endangered status.

Prior to the beginning of the downtown renaissance, Cupples Station was possibly the most decrepit portion of a central business district that had its share of decrepit areas.  Saved from demolition by Mayor Schoemel in the 1980s, redevelopment eluded the historic, nine-building warehouse district for decades before McCormack Baron renovated the four easternmost warehouses as the Westin Hotel.

Eventually Bank of America, which owned the entire Cupples Station district, sold off each of the five remaining buildings to developers.  HRI and Conrad Properties each renovated a building, and Kevin McGowan's Blue Urban took the remaining three.  Blue Urban successfully renovated one of its three buildings before the economy stalled, leaving the other two - Building 7 and Building 9 - vacant.

Now Building 7 has landed on the Most Endangered List.

The building has sustained quite a bit of damage over the years, and has significant holes in its roof and numerous open windows that expose its interior to the elements.  Prior to selling it to Blue Urban, Bank of America had thought it was too deteriorated to be rehabbed and sought to demolish it. 

Kevin McGowan saved it once; can he save it again?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Future of Ballpark Village Residential?


DeWitt also mentioned that he is hopeful that future phases of Ballpark Village will include a residential tower.  Obviously, attaining financing for new residential construction is extremely challenging at the moment, but based on past comments from both the Cardinals and Cordish, I think both groups grossly underestimate the demand for condos in a new residential building overlooking the ballpark.

In my opinion the uniqueness of such a project in baseball-crazed St. Louis would make demand virtually inelastic - popular regardless of the state of the real estate market.  If the tower were to be configured in such a way that each unit has a view of the stadium/playing field, it could very easily become popular as second homes for wealthy executives, and could even be popular with companies for use in entertaining clients.