The Business Journal recently made mention of a few large tenants currently looking for space, including two currently based in the suburbs: Panera Bread and insurance broker Lockton Co.
When Panera began its search back in 2007, its CFO stated that "everything from downtown out to the airport, to I-270 and 40, including Illinois," was being considered. The company is in the market for 70,000 sf.
Creve Coeur-based Lockton Co. is looking for 35,000-40,000 sf in several submarkets. No mention of whether downtown is being considered.
Downtown now has several options available for large users such as these. Lockton, for instance, could take the remaining space in The 411. Panera could especially benefit from the high profile and signage that a downtown location could offer. Maybe the General American Building would be a good fit for Panera's corporate headquarters.
A move to downtown by either (or preferably both) of these firms would have a major impact on the momentum that has been building in recent years. Downtown needs to sustain continued positive absorption of office space in order to help bring about the eventual construction of new Class A space.