Thursday, April 29, 2010

Landshire Moves Downtown

The next time you eat a Nike Sandwich, you'll be doing your part to help downtown St. Louis.

Landshire Inc., distributor of prepackaged sandwiches, announced Thursday that it is relocating its headquarters to Raeder Place on Laclede's Landing from Belleville.

The company will be leasing 14,500 sf in the historic cast-iron fronted building and will be moving 50 employees downtown.  Landshire, originally known as Lakeshire, was founded in St. Louis and moved to Belleville in 1966.

It's been a while since we've heard of any developments on Laclede's Landing, so this is great news.  Welcome back, Landshire!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blustein Building Headed for the National Register

At Monday's Preservation Board meeting, the board recommended the St. Louis News Company Building at 1008-1010 Locust for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.  The building is best known for its most recent incarnation, the Blustein Bride's House.

This building is owned by Sam Berger's Alverne Associates, which also owns the vacant Alverne Hotel next door.  The Alverne is listed on the National Register as well.

Could redevelopment of this building be just around the corner?  I'm not terribly optimistic about it, considering that the Alverne has been on the National Register since 2002, with no progress made.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Datotel Consolidates Downtown

Datotel announced that it has consolidated its operations in the Globe Building at 710 N. Tucker, moving its administrative office downtown from O'Fallon, MO.  The firm now has 36 employees working in its downtown headquarters.

Earlier this month, Datotel began a major investment in its data center, doubling its cooling infrastructure in order to add to its cloud-computing capacity and clients.

"Moving all our employees to one location is key to the growth of Datotel's business and cloud-computing offerings," said David Brown, president of Datotel.  "Downtown has a buzz and energy that we feel is important for a tech company and part of the image we want to communicate to our customers and the public.  Our downtown office provides more room for growth and is more centrally located for our wide variety of clients.  At the same time, to help build downtown buzz and fulfill Datotel's core value of bettering the community in which we work, our employees plan to participate in downtown volunteer efforts and advocate for downtown St. Louis."

I love it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Arcturis Named an "Interior Design Giant"

Interior Design Magazine has named Arcturis one of the country's Top 100 Interior Design Giants for 2010.  This is the third consecutive year that Arcturis has been named to this prestigious list.

Arcturis' inclusion was based on its design work on more than 2.28 million sf of office and commercial space in 2009, which was nearly 800,000 sf more than the firm designed in 2008.  Included in this total were major downtown projects for UMB Bank and office space in the Cupples Station district for Luxco.

In 2009, Arcturis ranked as the region's largest interior design firm and the 16th-largest architectural firm in the St. Louis Business Journal's Book of List.  The firm is based in the Laclede Gas Building.

Congrats to a great downtown firm!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Businesses I'd Like to See Downtown: Crazy Bowls and Wraps

Building Blocks had a recent post on the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis' efforts to attract "chainlets" - local and regional chains such as Clarkson Eyecare and Schnucks - that are more likely to choose a downtown location than national retailers in the current economic environment.

Well, here's a chainlet that I'd like to see downtown: Crazy Bowls and Wraps.

CBW would be an outstanding choice to fill the void left by the loss of Lion's Choice (another chainlet that I would like to see return to downtown) and Espresso Mod while adding a little diversity to the lunch options available to downtown office workers, visitors and residents.

It's a known entity, a local chain that has a loyal following, much like St. Louis Bread Co., which has been very successful downtown for years now.  This familiarity would enable CBW to quickly and easily establish themselves on the downtown scene.  It certainly fits in with the "chainlet" concept that the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis is trying to attract downtown.

So how about it, CBW?  We need more restaurants downtown!

Monday, April 19, 2010

210 N. Tucker Powers Up

Digital Realty Trust is making a major investment in 210 N. Tucker, adding 16 MW of new electrical power (quadrupling the power available to the building), a new power distribution system and 30,000 to 60,00 sf of data center space to the 200,000 sf building.

"These improvements to 210 N. Tucker make it one of the most desirable data center properties in the Midwestern United States," said Glenn Benoist, vice president of portfolio management at Digital Realty Trust.  "The increased level of data center demand in St. Louis has prompted us to expand our commitment to this market.  With a total of 20 MW of power and a significant amount of new data center space, the facility will be the premier site for St. Louis' growing data center market."

Set for completion by the third quarter, the expansion will allow customers seeking space in the facility to begin building out their data center space following the infrastructure improvements.

Digital Realty Trust is working with its national and international partners and customers for expansion of their data center networks into the 210 N. Tucker property.  They're also partnering with the RCGA, the St. Louis chapter of AFCOM (a trade association for data center professionals) and the local brokerage community to address the needs for quality and affordable data center space.

Said Dick Fleming of the RCGA, "This is further evidence that the St. Louis region is a leader in the Midwest for data center operations.  We have the world's largest wholesale data center provider making this major investment in St. Louis at a time when the region prepares to showcase St. Louis IT industry successes at the upcoming Gateway to Innovation conference on April 20.  We at the RCGA were pleased to partner with Digital Realty Trust on this important business expansion project."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cash Infusion for Park Pacific, Laurel

Good news for two important downtown developments: The Business Journal is reporting that the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is investing $63 million in the Lawrence Group's Park Pacific project on Tucker and $45 million in Spinnaker's Laurel  development in the former Dillard's Building at 6th and Washington.

As I mentioned last month, the Lawrence Group had been given a deadline of June 30 to begin construction on the Park Pacific, and expected to have financing in place by the end of April.

The Park Pacific will include 230 apartments and office and retail space, while The Laurel is slated to include an Embassy Suites hotel and 205 apartments.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Peat Wollaeger Leaves His Mark on Powell Square

The Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday that stencil artist extraordinaire Peat Wollaeger is doing his part to spruce up the decrepit Powell Square building by painting a huge 16-foot-by 16 foot mural on the side of the building that reads "I ♥ St. Louis," with his trademark eyeball replacing the letter I.  Wollaeger was given permission to create the mural by the building's owner, Steven Murphy.

While the Powell Square development has stalled, at least Wollaeger will leave it looking a little better than it was.  He had a great quote in the article:

"I'm tired of the haters who say they can't wait to leave St. Louis," Wollaeger said. "Yeah, there are a lot of racist people in this town. There are a lot of people who are so closed-minded and people who only will come downtown for Cardinals games. But there are also people who put a lot of heart and soul in this town to make it a better place."