Commentary and Analysis on Businesses and Commercial Real Estate In and Around Downtown St. Louis.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
New Police HQ - Smart Move
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's recent purchase of the former Sherwood Medical building at 1915 Pine for its new headquarters seems to bee a smart move for several reasons:
The police department is getting a fresh, modern space with state-of-the-art technology, which could help make it more efficient and even be good for morale.
At a selling price of $2.7 million, $5 million under its market value (or at least the asking price), the police department is getting a good deal.
By purchasing the building using money from its forfeited asset fund – money seized as proceeds from crimes– the impact on the department’s finances is significantly reduced.
Added police presence will add stability to the Downtown West neighborhood, which will undoubtedly be appreciated by nearby residents and business owners.
The presence of police department employees will benefit restaurants, bars and shops in the area.
The building will be removed from office vacancy figures, resulting in 143,000 sf of positive absorption. Depending on the criteria for buildings used by the various providers of commercial real estate research, the building could either be classified as Class A or B. In my past life as a research analyst for a commercial real estate firm here in St. Louis, we had it listed as Class B space (albeit high-quality Class B space).
And fortunately, the department isn’t completely abandoning its presence on Clark Street; the police crime lab, adjacent to the current headquarters building, will remain where it is.
Finding a developer to repurpose the existing 83-year-old headquarters building should be a challenge. Its non-ideal location, coupled with the high cost of renovation ($75 million as quoted by the police department) are two major strikes against it, but its attractiveness and interesting back story could work in its favor. Time will tell.
And sure, it would be preferable to see the 1915 Pine used as a corporate headquarters again, but this is probably the next best thing.