Commentary and Analysis on Businesses and Commercial Real Estate In and Around Downtown St. Louis.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
George K. Baum Opens St. Louis Office...But Not in St. Louis
At the end of 2009, Kansas City-based public finance firm George K. Baum - the 12th-largest municipal finance firm in the country - opened an office to serve the St. Louis area.
Of course, the firm chose to locate in Clayton.
This is exactly the type of firm that should be located downtown, to help complement firms like Stifel Nicolaus and Wells Fargo Advisors, along with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. A quick review of Baum's other office locations shows that many of them are located in their respective cities' central business districts (Denver, Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Wichita, etc.), but not in St. Louis.
Downtown needs to re-establish itself as the region's financial district. Frankly, it's embarrassing that so many financial services firms choose Clayton as a default location (presumably) without giving downtown a fair shake.
George K. Baum's St. Louis (area) office currently has just one employee, but the firm hopes to eventually add six to 12 more. If the firm bothers to explore all that downtown has to offer, I think it will find it to be the perfect place to fuel its growth. Downtown has certainly worked well for Stifel Nicolaus, whose public finance arm has grown exponentially in recent years.