Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's the 411?

As an astute poster on urbanstl.com pointed out, LoftWorks has begun marketing its newest project, the redevelopment of the Farm & Home Savings Association Building. Now known as The 411 (after its address, 411 N. Tenth Street), this project will feature 10,000 sf of ground floor retail space and a total of 50,000 sf of office space on floors 2-6. The office space will feature 12’-16’ ceilings, maple floors, and the building will be LEED Gold certified. According to LoftWorks’ marketing materials, the firm has targeted a fall 2008 availability.

For some reason, I would love to see the building leased by a single user. It would make a great headquarters for a smaller firm.

While it’s unfortunate that the building’s original fa├žade could not be restored, the rendering really looks great. Along with the planned improvements to the Locust Building next door, the 1000 block of Locust should really look great in the days to come. And the addition of new retailers will help complement the new Left Bank Books across and the new shops and restaurants in the Syndicate Building across the street.

For leasing information, call LoftWorks at (314) 241-6700, ext. 13.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Left Bank Books to Open Downtown Location!

In his blog last week and at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently renovated Syndicate Building, Mayor Slay mentioned that Left Bank Books has been considering opening a downtown location. Then today, the Business Journal announced that Left Bank has signed a letter of intent to lease the 5,500 sf ground floor space at 321 N. 10th Street, which was formerly occupied by Ambiente. The earliest the downtown store could open is October.

This area should really start bustle in the months to come, with more residents and retailers moving into the Syndicate, and with Craig Heller starting renovation of the Farm & Home Savings Association building right across the street.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Random Lease Roundup

So Properties LLC renewed its lease and expanded to 3,000 sf at 612 N. Second St.

CBH Properties, LLC purchased a 20,200 sf retail space at 1113 Locust St.

C.J. Thomas Co., Inc. leased 19,307 sf at Bank of America plaza, 800 market street.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ludwig Lofts Update

The following tenants now make their home at LoftWorks' Ludwig Lofts development:

SUDA Architects & Associates

Signature Studio Creative Photography

Meyer Financial Group

Tower 29 Marketing Group

Simply Elegant Bridal

Where Magazine – St. Louis

Ebersoldt + Underwood Architects

St. Louis Bride Magazine

This really is an outstanding project from Craig Heller. I look forward to seeing what he has planned for the Farm & Home Savings Association Building.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Downtown? It's Academic.

Ever since SLU and Wash U. relocated from their original locations on Washington Avenue back in the late 1800s, downtown St. Louis has lacked the academic presence that many other CBDs have.

The one bright spot has been Webster University, which has maintained a presence downtown for over 30 years and made a big splash a few years ago when it moved its downtown campus from the Lammert Building to the renovated Old Post Office.

Now Lindenwood University is apparently considering establishing a downtown campus, which would be great for working professionals and any students who are looking to conduct their studies in an urban environment.

Which other local universities could stand to benefit from having downtown locations? UMSL and Maryville are two that come to mind. With campuses in the far reaches of North County and West County, respectively, these schools could possibly benefit from having downtown satellite locations.

Building the Touhill Center on the UMSL campus instead of reusing the Kiel Opera House still ranks as one of downtown’s greatest missed opportunities. Perhaps though UMSL could still establish a permanent downtown studio for its student artists – they’ve already used the old Galaxy space on Washington Avenue for exhibitions.

In the for-profit realm, the University of Phoenix recently moved to a new home in Met Square, and there’s certainly room downtown for other schools.

How about a St. Louis branch of the Art Institutes to bring more of a creative presence downtown?

Or maybe a cooking school? Johnson and Wales’ new Uptown Charlotte campus has helped play a role in that city’s urban boom – perhaps they or Le Cordon Bleu would consider downtown St. Louis. At the very least, maybe Forest Park Community College could move its esteemed culinary arts program downtown, where it would have a built-in “test market.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Could CVS Fill a Void Downtown?

CVS has decided to expand into the St. Louis area. My question to them is: What the heck took you so long?

Walgreens has been operating in St. Louis for decades without the presence of national competitors like CVS, Rite Aid, Eckerd, Osco, etc. They’re firmly entrenched here and have staked out prime locations all over the area.

There is, however, one prominent part of the St. Louis area in which Walgreens has ZERO presence: DOWNTOWN!

After closing its stores in the Century Building and St. Louis Centre, there are no longer any Walgreens stores downtown. CVS could get the jump on Walgreens by swooping in and opening a store somewhere within the CBD. While the new Schnuck’s store near Old Post Office Square will feature a pharmacy, CVS could still easily win over a sizeable share of the downtown market with ease. Travelers staying in downtown hotels are especially much more likely to visit CVS – a name they’re likely familiar with – over Schnuck’s.

Come on, CVS – it’s time to sign a lease downtown! The former Woolworth's space at Broadway and Locust would be a good spot, among others.

Monday, June 09, 2008

2200 Locust for Sale

National Chair and Furniture is moving out of its building at the corner of 22nd and Locust. This building is just west of the Tap Room’s parking lot and right across the street from the Packard Lofts and is now listed for sale by Prudential Alliance Realtors.

Can we expect to see new development there soon? Looks like it would be suitable for either lofts and/or office space, with first floor retail.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Park Pacific Plans Pared

The Lawrence Group's Park Pacific development is being scaled back a bit in light of the current housing market.  The original plans called for renovating the Missouri Pacific building with 98 condominiums and 57 apartments and building an adjacent high-rise tower at 210 North 13th Street with 42 condos.  

Now, the project will feature 193 rental apartments in the Union Pacific Building, with the high-rise used only for office and retail space.  Accounting firm Larson Allen signed on as the lead tenant and is still on track to relocate there.

The size of the high rise has been reduced from 15 stories to nine.  While the southern elevation of the new building looks good, the Tucker side is rather unfortunate looking.  Hopefully the Lawrence Group can come up with a more creative and attractive way of masking the parking garage.  Tucker won't ever become a grand boulevard again with boring architecture.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

American Apparel, Anyone?

American Apparel is considering opening a St. Louis store and has narrowed its list down to three potential locations:

The Delmar Loop

West County Mall

The Galleria

Of those three, The Loop is head and shoulders above the rest, and it appears to be the location that best fits the company’s business model.  A quick scan of the company’s other stores shows that the vast majority of them are located in urban areas, many of which are similar in makeup to The Loop. 

But did American Apparel give downtown any consideration?  They’re about to open a store in downtown Omaha, so it’s not like they’re averse to mid-sized Midwestern CBDs.  Other nearby locations include Country Club Plaza in KC and downtown stores in Memphis and Nashville.  A store like AA – with no other locations in the St. Louis area – would actually help draw people downtown and help bolster its reputation as a shopping district.  A Washington Avenue store would be absolutely perfect.  I’m picturing an AA store in the Bogen’s first floor retail space at the corner of Washington and Tucker, or in the old Poliform space in Vanguard Building at 11th and Washington…

If AA has not considered downtown, they certainly should.  At the very least, they can do us all a favor by avoiding the suburban banality of the two mall locations.

Update: I just got confirmation that AA has decided on The Loop!