Thursday, December 13, 2007

Re-establishing the Financial District

It irks me that despite the presence of numerous financial firms in downtown St. Louis, Clayton is now considered to be more of St. Louis' "financial district." I can't think of any other major city whose financial district is located outside of the center city, in another municipality and county altogether. Financial districts play a major role in the vitality of their cities' respective CBDs, and having a stronger financial presence in downtown St. Louis would help our city immensely.

As an example, Fifth Third Bank's lease is expiring at 8000 Maryland, and it is exploring other options in Clayton, but apparently none downtown. National City has also established its regional headquarters in Clayton and Montgomery Bank is relocating its headquarters to a new tower there. Commerce Bank's St. Louis headquarters is located in Clayton while its Kansas City headquarters is actually located in downtown Kansas City (what a concept!).

Boatmen's, Mercantile, Centerre and other banks thrived for years with their headquarters based downtown. Had they not fallen victim to the trend of consolidation within the banking industry, they could easily still be thriving downtown (and Bank of America and U.S. Bank still maintain major presences there). So why do today's banks feel that they absolutely must have their headquarters in Clayton?

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