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.


Anonymous said...

It would be great to find out from these business owners the primary reasons they chose non-downtown locations as opposed to downtown? Was it the earnings tax? Lack of Class A office space? Lack of talent? Parking? Incentives? Location relative to business owners residence?

If we took a pole of these for say the last few years, it would give the city a lot to work off of. If 90% say it's because of the earnings tax, then the city HAS to find a way to get rid of it to pull these firms. If it's location then the city needs to provide attractions that areas such as Clayton cannot replicate to overcome this.

Anonymous said...

I blame brokers like Matt Hiatt at CBRE. They win downtown listings, and then, when someone calls their number, they take them over to Clayton. Downtown building owners should boycott all brokers who do not have their main office downtown. It's a no-brainer. Matt is not the only broker to have this behavior. After all, it's all about self-preservation - something commercial real estate brokers know all about! DO NOT LIST YOUR BUILDING WITH A NON-DOWNTOWN BROKER!! Just take a look at how many days on the market these brokers have their free billboards on all the downtown shopfronts. It's an 800 pound gorilla, right in the heart of Downtown. The gorilla's name is 'Clayton'.