Friday, October 23, 2009

The Future of 500 N. Broadway

It's been an exciting week, with lots of good news on the redevelopment of One City Centre, St. Louis Centre and The Laurel.

The only downside to all the recent news is that Lewis Rice's impending move to One City Centre will leave 500 N. Broadway in peril.

The Sklarov family, owners of 500 N. Broadway claims that when Lewis Rice vacates its 110,000 sf space, they will likely lose the building to foreclosure. They bought the building in 2003 for $11.8 million and currently have it listed for sale for $17.5 million.

500 N. Broadway's other tenants include LaBarge Pipe & Steel, Burton Greenberg, RBC Dain Rauscher, McGlynn & Luther, Beneficial Capital Leasing, Coleman & White, Barken & Bakewell and The Castle Law Office. Together, they lease about 65,000 sf - less than a quarter - of the 282,965 sf building.

The Sklarovs are taking issue with the city and state assistance being provided to Lewis Rice and SCR Investments, which owns One City Centre. On one hand, I can see their point; on the other hand, they've had more than enough time to attract more tenants. For years the building has had several vacant floors, so it's not as if a lack of large blocks was a detriment to its marketability.

500 N. Broadway has many positive qualities which should make it attractive to a wide variety of users, such as a great location, parking for 282 cars, modern layout and low lease rates. It offers a outstanding opportunity for a value-oriented tenant to take up to 200,000 sf, making it an excellent potential headquarters site.

Perhaps the loss of Lewis Rice will force the Sklarovs to be more aggressive in signing on new tenants. We can only hope that this building does not languish for long.


Vanishing STL said...

The owner needs to make an investment to improve the curb appeal of the building. Currently the building has the street presence of a WW2 bunker.

They need to do a complete face-lift at street level: New entrance, lose the smoked glass and replace with clear, add a new canopy, some nice paving on the sidewalk, some trees, planters, etc. Not sure what the lobby inside is like, but if it is anything like the exterior, it likely needs a makeover as well. Make leasing the ground floor retail a priority ( I assume there is some?)

Laclede Gas was looking pretty tired before they did a similar street level makeover. It makes a huge difference in the general appearance of the building, its attitude, and they have brought in new tenants.

badmansard said...

I am so sick of whiner building owners. Based on my firm's experience, it seems most building owners won't make promised improvements to tenants and won't try very hard to negotiate a better lease with a departing tenant. But then when the tenant leaves for another building, it's all "waaaaa, it's hard to own a building, blah blah blah."

Brian said...

Paul, I agree with you completely. The lobby is actually pretty nice - it received a full renovation in 99, and has had some periodic updates, if I'm not mistaken. The front is where it's really lacking - trees, planters, signage, etc. would really make a huge difference. Savory Deli has one of the first floor spaces, but I believe the other first floor space is empty. It was previously leased by Adecco.

Thomas Duda said...

Curb appeal is hardly at issue; rather, the inequitable disbursement of PUBLIC money for the competition (One City Center) is harming every taxpayer in St. Louis City. That it could be so easy: spruce up the entrance, and presto--tenants!

We need sustainable economic growth in St. Louis City, not an effort to shuffle a decreasing number of businesses from one block to another. Blind celebrations of "new" development and blanket condemnations of those on the losing end of a project are unhelpful.

Imagine if we had representative governance in St. Louis--then, the City would try to balance the needs of competing interests rather than choosing winners and losers through an opaque political process.