Friday, November 30, 2007

Shell Building Sold!

RSDB LLC has acquired purchased the 12-story Shell Building, located at 1221 Locust for $2.55 million, or $23/psf. The new buyer intends to market the space for professional firms, law firms in particular.

Trey Buffington of Sperry Van Ness Infinity handled the deal for the seller. Hal Hanstein and Ron Kramer of Cardinal Realty Group represented the buyer.

Downtown Leases this Week

Architecture/engineering firm Middough Inc. leased 22,040 sf in the Deloitte Building at 100 S. Fourth Street.

Community Program Development Corporation renewed its lease for 3,946 sf at St. Louis Place, 200 N. Broadway.

Laclede Gas Building Sold

According to the Business Journal, The Hertz Investment Group has purchased the Laclede Gas Building for $10.5 million, adding to its St. Louis portfolio, which also includes the Bank of America Tower and the Equitable Building.

The Laclede Gas Building is 78 percent occupied with major tenants Laclede Gas occupying 107,978 square feet and law firm Blackwell Sanders occupying 66,491 square feet. Blackwell, however, is only signed to a short-term lease and is reportedly in merger talks with Husch & Eppenberger, which may impact the firm's location in the future.

The entire 30,000 sf second floor is available, and "a number of prospects" including architectural firm Arcturis are reported to be considering leasing the space. Arcturis is currently based downtown at 1910 Olive.

Asking rents at the building range between $15.50 and $17.50 per square foot.

1881 Pine Fully Leased!

As reported in the Business Journal this morning, 1881 Pine will be the new home of grades 6 through 12 of the Ethel Hedgeman Lyle Academy, a rapidly growing charter school. The school has leased the entire 110,000 sf building and will be boosting its enrollment to 1,000 students.

Andrew Sheir of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the owner in the lease and Wanda Wyatt of Solon Gershman Inc., an ONCOR International affiliate, represented the lessee. The deal is worth an estimated $11.5 million over the life of the 10-year lease.

While this transaction is not necessarily indicative of the health of the downtown office market, the leasing of a significant block of vacant space will help tighten the market and improve downtown's vacancy and absorbtion rates.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A-B: A Missed Opportunity

One of the biggest disappointments this year was Anheuser-Busch’s decision to vacate its space in One City Centre, moving its IT, corporate accounts payable, manufacturing procurement and central logistics departments to nearly 150,000 sf in Sunset Hills.

A-B already leased space in two other buildings within close proximity of its new space, forming a “mini-campus” with its newly combined operations.

A-B leaves behind six floors in One City Centre, totaling 110,000 sf. The company’s decision to leave downtown in favor of Sunset Hills instead of consolidating its space downtown is truly a missed opportunity for the city, especially at a time in which the bleeding of firms from downtown to the suburbs has largely stopped.

The planned redevelopment of the St. Louis Centre mall (which is attached to One City Centre) as part of Pyramid’s exciting Mercantile Exchange development should make One City Centre an attractive option for tenants looking for large blocks of space. What was once a liability will soon be an asset. Hopefully Pyramid, which also owns One City Centre, can capitalize on this opportunity and start landing some new tenants.

While terms of A-B’s Sunset Hills lease were not made public, the asking rates for the space it leased ranged from $19.75 to $23.50 psf, while the listing rate for One City Centre was $18.50 at the time the lease was signed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Other Landing

While most St. Louisans are familiar with Laclede's Landing, many may be surprised to learn that there is actually another Landing downtown - Chouteau's Landing.

Chivvis Development has begun renovating several buildings in the 700 to 900 blocks of Fourth Street as part of the $18.75 million first phase of its Chouteau's Landing redevelopment plan. Bushwoods Bar & Grill (756 S. Fourth Street) and Riley's Flowers and Gifts (904 S. Fourth Street) are the first two tenants to make Chouteau's Landing their home and will be opening in early 2008.

While the first floors of the Fourth Street buildings will be dedicated primarily to retail space, Chivvis is marketing the upper floors as loft-style office space targeted to creative firms. Currently, the following office spaces are available at $14.00 psf:

744 S. Fourth Street - 6,244 sf
754 S. Fourth Street - 5,600 sf
900-902 S. Fourth Street - 6,105 sf
904-908 S. Fourth Street - 8,842 sf

The leasing agent is Andy Murphy with NAI Desco Commercial - (314) 994-4093,

Web site:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grant Thornton Snubs Downtown

Accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP has opened a new "St. Louis" office in temporary quarters at Two CityPlace Drive in Creve Coeur. It will be moving to its permanent home in Clayton in early 2008.

This is Grant Thornton's 51st U.S. office. A quick scan of its other offices reveals that the vast majority of them are located in their respective cities' central business districts, as most major accounting firms' offices tend to be. (A few metro areas, such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have suburban satellite offices in addition to downtown offices.)

So why didn't they choose downtown St. Louis for their St. Louis office? They're clearly not averse to having downtown offices, so why Creve Coeur and Clayton? Does steering take place among commercial realtors as well as residential realtors?

Downtown Ad Agencies in the News

Some of downtown's most prominent ad agencies have been making news lately.

The Post-Dispatch ran a great feature on some of the great work being put out by St. Louis agencies, including downtown's own Drive Agency, Rodgers Townsend, Schupp Co. and Waylon, along with a few suburban-based agencies.

Meanwhile, Hughes - which recently moved from Clayton to the Art of Living Building - has acquired Olivette-based PR firm Millennium Communications. The acquisition will bring eight new employees to Hughes' office downtown.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Loft District Opportunity, Part II

Right next door to the building profiled here on November 7 is another exciting opportunity, the former People's Hospital building at 2221 Locust.

This handsome building consists of 28,850 sf (7,121 sf per floor + full basement) and is available for build-to-suit at $16.95 per square foot.

Listed by the Friedman Group -

Eric Friedman - (314) 367-2800

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paradowski Moving West...Down Locust Street

Paradowski Graphic Design, currently located right next to the Mercantile Library building at Broadway and Locust, is plotting a move to the former Stern Fixture Co. headquarters at 1910 Locust.

Paradowski will spend $8.7 million to renovate the two buildings, which total 20,000 sf and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A third building on the site, constructed in 1942, will be razed for parking. A 2,000 sf coffee shop is planned for a storefront space at 20th and Locust, which will add a little more life to an area that already has its fair share of eating and drinking establishments including the Tap Room and Jim Edmonds' new restaurant, F15teen.

The agency has 36 employees and expects to add at least thirty new jobs over the next five years. Once Paradowski has moved out of its current offices (in August 2009), it will make its current building available for lease.

It would make a great home for St. Louis' NEXT great creative firm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Zipatoni to Merge with Rivet

According to Promo Magazine, Zipatoni will be merging with sister agency Rivet, based in Chicago, and the Zipatoni name will be dropped in favor of Rivet. Both agencies are part of the Interpublic Group. Zipatoni was named Promo’s Agency of the Year in 2000.

Hopefully this move will not have adverse implications for Zipatoni's St. Louis office, which recently renewed but downsized its space to 37,000 sf at 555 Washington.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Missouri Valley HQ Update

On Bernie Miklasz's show on 1380 AM, Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Doug Elgin offered up the following tidbits of information on the conference's planned headquarters facility:

- The MVC is still negotiating with the City Treasurer's Office and the Missouri Development Finance Board to acquire the parking lot just south of the Scottrade Center.
- A major donor has stepped up and offered to help finance the construction; the MVC is also soliciting donations from major corporate sponsors. They're still "dotting the I's and crossing the T's."
- The facility will be a "media/meeting center" designed to raise the profile of the MVC.
- They hope to break ground at some point during 2008, preferably during the Arch Madness men's basketball tournament.

Missouri Valley Tournament to Stay in St. Louis!

The Missouri Valley Conference will announce today that its "Arch Madness" men's basketball tournament will remain in St. Louis through 2011, with an option to extend the agreement through 2013.

While this decision was pretty much a no-brainer, I'd like to see increased corporate sponsorship to help ensure that St. Louis retains the tournament beyond 2013.

This is great news for downtown St. Louis, and the relationship between St. Louis and the Missouri Valley Conference certainly proven to be mutually beneficial. Hopefully the Valley's women's basketball tournament, which is now scheuled to be held at the Family Arena in St. Charles on an annual basis, will enjoy similar success and have a positive impact on the region as well.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Crime Down in Downtown St. Louis

Good news from the Downtown St. Louis Partnership:

Through October, total crime in Downtown east of Tucker declined by 24.2% compared to the same period in 2006. For Downtown West, total crime fell 9.0%. The City as a whole showed a 16.4% improvement.
It's important to keep in mind that despite the incorrect perceptions of some St. Louisans, statistically speaking, downtown has traditionally been one of the city's safest neighborhoods. As downtown continues to add residents, workers and businesses, it should only continue to become safer.

A New Office for Accenture

Management and IT consulting firm Accenture has opened a new office in downtown St. Louis, leasing 7,229 sf on the 29th floor of Met Square.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

TIF Approved for New Office Building on Washington

Nadira Place, a proposed seven-story office building with first floor retail at the corner of Tucker and Washington has received approval for a $2.175 million subsidy from the city's Tax Increment Financing Commission. A representative from the developer - downtown-based Kwame Building Group - has stated that the company hopes to break ground early in 2008 with construction taking about 18 months.

According to the West End Word:

The company is targeting professional services companies, such as accounting firms and law firms, as potential tenants. A law firm from Chicago has expressed an interest in taking a whole floor.

The space is listed for lease at $16-$22 psf and for sale at $210 psf ($230 psf for the penthouse and terrace). Joi Niedner of McKelvey Properties is the listing agent - (636) 669-9111.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Loft District Opportunity

This architecturally interesting 13,500 sf building - a former car dealership - is currently listed for sale at $770,000. It's adjacent to McGowan Walsh's Packard Lofts development and right across the street from the Tap Room. Looks like it would make a great office for a creative firm or any small company, for that matter.

The listing agent is Daniel Vaca - Investors Alliance - (314) 771-7112

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cannon Receives Tax Credits for Powerhouse Rehab

Cannon Design has been approved for up to $271,067 in tax credits for the redevelopment of property located at 1100 Clark Ave. into its new headquarters. The project will bring an anticipated 130 jobs to the area, including 40 new ones.

Ralcorp to Acquire Post

After weeks of speculation, it appears that Ralcorp Holdings is poised to acquire Post Cereals from Kraft Foods, its first foray into branded cereal since it sold Chex to General Mills in 1997. If the transaction goes through, it's expected that Ralcorp will devote more attention to the Post brands in terms of marketing than Kraft did. And with brands such as Grape Nuts included in the Post lineup, Ralcorp has the opportunity to take advantage of growth trends towards natural, healthier foods.

Ralcorp Holdings is based downtown, in the Bank of America Plaza at 800 Market Street.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Shell Building for Sale

I noticed recently that the Shell Building at 1221 Locust had been listed for sale, and today's Business Journal explains why - the partnership of the building's owners, Kevin McGowan and Nat Walsh, is dissolving.

The 112,000 sf building is listed at $2.6 million and is 82% occupied. The entire 9th floor - 9,064 sf - is available at $12.00 psf.

This historic building - the former headquarters of Shell Oil - has always been my favorite downtown office building, and I hope it finds a great owner.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random Lease Roundup

Here are a handful of random leases that were signed in downtown buildings in spring-summer-fall 2007 (this is just a sampling, not an all-inclusive list by any means):

  • Hoffman, Slocomb & Taylor - 3,800 sf at 1115 Locust.

  • PorcupineProperty Management - purchased a 3,810 sf office condo at 1115 Locust

  • Terminix International - 2,000 sf at the Equitable Building, 10 S. Broadway

  • Transaction Transport Technologies, LLC - 1,852 sf at the Millenium Center, 515 Olive

  • Burns, Vandover & Godfrey, PC - a 3,112 sf renewal at 720 Olive

  • Fox Galvin - 19,670 sf at the Gateway Tower, One Memorial Drive

  • Kerber, Eck & Braeckel - 8,223 sf at the Gateway Tower, One Memorial Drive

  • Energy Systems Group, LLC - 5,335 sf at the Gateway Tower, One Memorial Drive

  • The Hullverson Law Firm - 5,399 sf at 1010 Market Street

  • Laboratory Corporation of America - 1,900 sf at 320 Washington Ave.