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Poll: How Will Macy’s Closing Their Downtown Location Affect Downtown St. Louis In The Long-Term?

May 26, 2013 Downtown, Economy, Featured, Retail 14 Comments
Macy's in the Railway Exchange building
Macy’s is located on 3 floors of the Railway Exchange building

You likely heard the news last week about the Macy’s store downtown:

Retailer Macy’s will close its downtown St. Louis in the Railway Exchange Center later this summer.

A final closing sale will begin June 2 and last 10 weeks. (KSDK)

Immediately following the announcement people were upset, but clearly not enough to keep the store open. The poll this week asks: How will Macy’s closing their downtown location affect downtown St. Louis in the long-term? The provided answers are:

  • Very negatively
  • Negatively
  • Neutral
  • Positively
  • Very positively
  • Unsure/no answer

These answers will be presented in random order in the poll (right sidebar) so the order doesn’t influence the results. You the comments below to share your thoughts.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Bryon says:

    Like a drop in the bucket. That’s how it will effect downtown. As it is there are two kinds of people downtown 1) those strapped that can barely afford a bicycle and 2) those who can afford an S-Class Mercedes. There’s a big gap between Thrift stores and Mercedes dealerships. Macy’s tried to fill that gap for as long as it could by playing along with the “Everything is fine! It’s turning around” crowd. Wake up call. If you’re not a Lawyer, CEO, Administrator or Architect that can afford to shop in Clayton or Ladue… you’ve probably just spent your last $ on new bike tires or given it to metro after shopping a few miles out of town at a Walmart.

    Focusing on mid-upscale residential properties… has failed. Census #’s prove that. St Louis is among only 6 others in the top 100 US cities by pop who actually lost residents last year. And Slay is full steam behind pushing for even more of that crazy $#!t via McKee. The writing is one the wall, it is hi-lit, underlined and there are blinking flood lights on it. No one wants to hang around a city that defines income disparity… which leads to violence, apathy and decay. They can paint it, disinfect it, flood it with all kinds of happy happy rally pom pom squads and it is still just a glorified Memphis as long as no one has the nerve to say “Know what? This isn’t working. The constant ‘Next year’ ‘Soon’ ‘In time It could be’ ‘Just think of what if..’ people have driven it off of a cliff”.

    • Tommy G. says:

      I agree and disagree. I think Macy’s closing will adversely affect downtown. If nothing else, it will make redevelopment of the RE Building more difficult. And it will obviously eliminate another shopping venue, and while I don’t live downtown, I do (did) shop at Macy’s on lunch hours. I somewhat disagree that there’s no middle class in downtown. Salaries of most loft dwellers are as high as those that might be found in some SW and W areas of STL City and County, (which is predominantly middle class) but the lifestyle that many of the loft dwellers live is beyond their means. Lots of pressure to party all weekend at fancy clubs, then return late to their loft buildings to throw up in the elevators and allow their dogs to piss on the lobby and hallway floors. Don’t cha know that just about every loft dweller NEEDS a dog? Some of those who purchased vs. lease lofts will find the real estate tax bills in their mailboxes this year, since the 10 year tax abatement in three loft buildings expires Dec. 31. That will be interesting! Now add real estate taxes to the budget line item, and the mortgage, and the monthly utilities, and the monthly property owner’s assessment, and the car note, and there are going to be several more lofters looking for free lunches at St. Patrick’s Center! I know of several who thought they’d dump their lofts at the end of the tax abatement period (thinking they were going to make a FORTUNE on the resale–only to find their current value circling the drain), and instead they currently find they are still under water on their mortgages, unable to unload for obvious reasons…with no improvement in sight….and with lots of lofts currently on the market at give-away prices! And…..the really best is yet to come: many of the loft buildings have weak reserve funds, and they’re illequipped and unprepared to deal with major capital improment replacements…..which will lead to a special assessment!!!!!!! At best, the downtown economy is “false” and tentative, and could change for the worse after the next minor economic setback–just as in most areas of the city, county and country.

      • Downtown2007 says:

        you have no idea what you are talking about. The fact most loft dwellers party away their discretionary income is absurd.

      • mark says:

        Tommy, you have no idea what you are talking about. My wife
        and I own a loft downtown. Our building is 100% occupied and are reserves are kept at the required 15%. Our building is made up of mostly young professionals and older couples like my wife and I. We have found that it is actually less expensive to own a loft than it is to own and maintain a home. Our utilities and taxes are far less expensive for our loft than the home we own in Illinois, and since the loft is new, we have few if any maintenance expenses. But a huge factor is that where once my wife I were spending upwards of a $1000 per month on fuel and car expenses to commute,
        we almost never have to drive the car anymore and we both can walk to work. Not to mention the +2 hours per day we once wasted everyday driving.

        The downtown loft market became like many real estate markets in 2008, over extended with too many people buying properties that they could not afford without any money down. Since then, the market has stabilized
        downtown and inventory has fallen. While there are still owners that are
        underwater prices have rebounded back and prices have started to become more realistic. The largest problem facing the industry is that it has become very difficult to get a home loan, try it if you don’t believe me. The issues facing real estate today are not exclusive to the loft market, as you will find the same problem in surrounding communities. What is different is that the city has continued to slowly grow even during one of the worst economic downturns in history. This trend will continue as more couple grow older and realize that it makes little if any sense to maintain an overly large and isolated home in some suburb, when they can live downtown and be within easy access to so many community events. I can think of very few if any cities of St. Louis’s size where living downtown is this affordable, and we have people like you to thank because the only thing holding the city of St. Louis back is the negative attitude of its outlying suburbs.

  2. moe says:

    an interesting article in today’s (Sunday) Post: Downtown surge is missing a key ingredient: Jobs. That says it all really. Any job loss from any employer is a blow to that neighborhood….Downtown or Clayton or Wildwood.

    • guest says:

      Well, there certainly is *land* available close to downtown for economic/job development. Look McNorthside. Look New Mississippi Bridge landing area. Those areas are a walk/short bike ride from the Loft District. Here’s some irony for you: Creating jobs on the near Northside could save downtown.

  3. macmama31 says:

    I don’t live downtown, but visit downtown often. My biggest concern is the Macy’s Christmas party! It is a slam dunk for my son EVERY YEAR! Nobody’s gives a Christmas party or any other kind of party like Macy’s! I was looking forward to introducing the parties to my grandchildren. 🙁

  4. branwell1 says:

    What’s notable is the fact that Famous-Barr/Macy’s stayed in operation as long as it did. Without (at one time) a family connection to the business and subsequent political pressure, it would have gone the way of other free-standing, downtown department stores in comparable cities decades ago.

    Census numbers can illuminate and distort. While the city overall lost population in its last census, downtown and other neighborhoods gained in population, some significantly. Population losses in some other neighborhoods were modest and/or the result of households changing in character and composition, i.e., multi-family dwellings rehabbed into single or fewer large units. These units were then sold to and occupied by individuals, couples, or small families, who replaced the previous, denser occupancy. This is reduced population density, but not wholesale abandonment, which, unfortunately, continues in and is largely confined to, north St. Louis.

    • dempster holland says:

      It is good to see someone who appreciates the complexity of st louis,s population change,

  5. Downtown Worker says:

    It will have a huge impact, psychologically and financially. Business 101 teaches the multiplier effect. Less foot traffic means less sales means fewer nearby stores means less foot traffic …

  6. Downtown Worker says:

    The store had been in long decline, partially for the same reason as I just posted — the effect of the closure of nearby stores. The removal of the restaurants spelled the end. Macy’s was always half-hearted in maintaining a downtown employment base and in updating the store. I don’t think it ever really tried on either count. Furthermore, it never attempted to market itself to the thousands of new downtown residents.

    • Downtown Worker says:

      Nor did it stay open late enough for downtown residents to actually shop. The real story over the past ten years has been the mass exodus of employees from “Grade A” office buildings. Downtown has flipped from a nightime ghost town to a daytime ghost town.

    • dempster holland says:

      In the old days (ie 1930s and 40s), the stay at home no car ladies would take the bus or streetcar down
      town, shop and have lunch and come home. Their purchases would be delivered to their homes the
      next day by truck, an easy task since there was almost always someone at home. Suburban shopping
      centers, two car families and women working changed all that. Presto: no downtown retail


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