Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Woolworth's Lease

In May 2001, real estate investor Keith Barket purchased the lease to the old Woolworth's space in the first floor of the St. Louis Centre parking garage on Locust, between Sixth and Broadway. Barket completely gutted the retail space and converted it for use as additional parking. At that time, downtown's renaissance was in its infancy, and this proved to be a shrewd move on Barket's part.

However, downtown has seen an influx of new residents and businesses over the last six years, with more to come in the months ahead. Pyramid's upcoming redevelopment of the moribund St. Louis Centre, which will see the building converted to condos with first floor retail space, and other nearby projects, such as the new apartments and condos in the Marquette building, suddenly make the Woolworth's space attractive for use as retail space again.

While I don't know the specific square footage of the Woolworth's space, it appears to be large enough to pique the interests of national retailers. The Woolworth's space, along with the recently revitalized downtown Macy's and potential retail in the first floor of St. Louis Centre and the old Mercantile Library Building (also scheduled for redevelopment by Pyramid), give the area great potential for a rebirth as a major retail corridor.

Let's just hope that when Barket's lease is up, the City (which owns the garage) will do the right thing and find a retail tenant. When retail returns to the old Woolworth's, it will send a strong signal that downtown has turned the corner.

No comments: