Friday, November 04, 2011

Hey World Wide Technology, How About Downtown?

This would be a good spot for World Wide Technology's HQ

World Wide Technology, one of the region's largest private companies, is considering expanding its headquarters in Maryland Heights.  It currently employs roughly 1,700 people and plans to hire more.

As a general rule of thumb, most commercial real estate professionals recommend leasing 175-250 square feet of office space for every employee. Using this ratio, World Wide Technology would need between 297,500 and 425,000 square feet just to house its current workforce. Just as a point of reference, this is enough space to completely fill the equivalent of downtown buildings such as 600 Washington (300,000 sf) and One Financial Plaza (434,136 sf). The addition of as few as 100 employees would require WWT’s space requirements to grow substantially. WWT would likely require a new office building – what better way to jumpstart the moribund Ballpark Village development?

A tenant of WWT’s magnitude would have a transformative impact on downtown St. Louis, far greater than any of the “silver bullet” projects like shopping malls and entertainment districts that have been either built or planned over the last few decades. 1,700 employees are enough to support new and existing retail businesses downtown, and it’s likely that at least a few of those 1,700 employees would suddenly be a lot more open to living downtown.

It’s exciting to see a local company experiencing such a high degree of success, especially in a tough economy. It’s disappointing, however, that more of our local companies don’t even consider downtown as an option. In other cities, such as Detroit, companies of similar size are moving from the suburbs to their respective downtowns. Why couldn’t WWT move to downtown St. Louis?


Dickson said...

One reason could me the city income tax?

Dickson said...

Maybe Mr.DeWitt and Company should spend their money made from the SECOND World Series win since the Cardinals got their new stadium in WWT instead of a Cardinal historical museum? The issue must be The Cardinals unwillingness to put some REAL money on BBV to attract any company downtown. They got what they MUST have, in order to not MOVE the stadium to the EAST SIDE, along comes a recession and well 6 years later the $600+ million project is $95 million. Just wait, this will end up being a $30-40 million project.

Steve said...

From what I have gathered, WWT is not considering downtown as a potential destination because a large proportion of its existing workforce comes from St. Charles County and other western suburbs. The 1% tax has little to nothing to do with their decision to not relocate downtown, which tends to be the case with most businesses in the region.