Home » Downtown »Real Estate »Scooters » Currently Reading:

McGowan|Walsh Opens New Sales Center

May 19, 2006 Downtown, Real Estate, Scooters 13 Comments

mcgowanwalsh - 7.jpgMcGowan|Walsh Historic Renovators today opened their new “Sales & Presentation Center” to more than 300 REALTORS®. We were first treated to a “nuts & bolts” seminar on loft selling and lunch down the street at Windows on Washington.

Sadly, many in my profession don’t get the renaissance in urban living. Today’s presentation did a great job of explaining what it is all about. Kevin McGowan asked his wife Erin to talk about a typical day for them. The McGowan’s have a 3-year old as well as twins that are less than a year old. Erin talked about a mom’s group where her son (age 3) is the oldest. The point, families do live downtown.

McGowan|Walsh will be doing something new with all their upcoming projects: Opening sales to those customers represented by buyer’s agents for a full two weeks prior to just taking contracts from those not represented. So, if you are looking to place a contract on one of their projects get with an agent (such as myself) so you can pick the unit you want and get pre-construction pricing.

M|W will be giving each purchaser of a new loft a new scooter as well (updated 5/30/06 – Packard & Motor Lofts only at this point). Kevin McGowan mentioned he has had recent talks with city officials about scooter parking as he wants to make sure his customers have a place to park their new scooters when visiting local businesses and friends. I addressed this issue in a post entitled St. Louis Region Needs to Address Scooter & Motorcycle Parking on April 6, 2006.

Kevin McGowan & partner Nat Walsh are also mixing up the selections scene a bit. Light fixtures, bathroom fittings and kitchen casework is being sourced from Blue Boat Designs located at 1607 Washington Ave. Their products are not the run of the mill loft finishes we’ve seen for the last 5 years.

Look for the West Downtown area to really take off in the next 3-5 years as these buildings become occupied and as new construction begins. Kevin McGowan and I discussed their plans for the remaining Cupple’s buildings near the new Busch Stadium being marketed as the Ballpark Lofts. He indicated they’ve had an amazing amount of interest from office interests as well as national retailers. Looks like at least one of the buildings may go entirely office with street-level retail.

A few additional photos are available on Flickr.

– Steve


Currently there are "13 comments" on this Article:

  1. A free scooter with a loft purchase is an ingenious idea. Not even San Francisco is a Europeanesque scooter city, as motorcycles are more popular there. Scooters are great for urban areas in that you can just zip from your downtown home to your downtown job. Around the corner to the corner grocers. I would really like to see Saint Louis turn into the first American scooter city…sort of a little Rome. Great idea.

  2. Jim Zavist says:

    so . . . where is this new sales & presentation center?

  3. s says:

    ^Corner of 22nd and Washington

  4. Craig says:

    I encourage everyone to call their state representatives and express their displeasure at MW’s policy of giving priority to people with Buyer’s agents in selling properties that have been developed using state tax credits. Realtors must feel very threatened if they feel they must protect themselves in such a manner.

    [REPLY Interesting take. In Missouri it is assumed that all agents, including those working for sellers, are working on behalf of said seller. Therefore, they are not working on behalf of the buyer’s interests. If anything this is M|W saying they want to have a agent to work with that is looking our for the best interests of the buyer. – SLP]

  5. I agree with you in principal Craig. But seeing as it costs no money to buy with a Realtor, I don’t see the harm in the policy. After all, by forcing people to use Realtors, it’s only cutting down on M|W’s profits. It surprises me because usually developers grumble when people use agrents to buy pre-construction lofts, as all paperwork is done by them(the developers).

  6. awb says:

    The buyer’s agent should have 100% loyalty to the buyer without fee to the buyer, and steer potential buyers away from questionable properties. Here we have a developer encouraging people to use someone who isn’t looking out for the developer. I applaud MW for such a gutsy move.

    I’m thinking that MW will benefit in 2 ways. First, their position tells everyone they have nothing to hide and encourages the scrutiny of a buyer’s agent. Second, maybe more agents will get a good look at the downtown market (especially MW projects) and be more knowledgeable of the urban options for their future customers.

    I see it as a visionary marketing concept that can only protect the buyers.

  7. read my epitaph says:

    This is a very savvy business move on the part of M|W.

    They know we’re in a buyer’s market, so encouraging the cooperation of real estate brokers is the smart thing to do.

    Sellers working without agents cut themselves off from the most serious crop of potential buyers.

    Plus agents create the opportunity for repeat sales for professional home builders.

    Buyers representing themselves do not open up the market for such further business.

    With the refi business all but over, ask any mortgage originator about the importance of having established relationships with high-volume real estate agents.

    Networking and cooperation is essential to sustaining their business.

    Most Typical Definition of a “FSBO” (for-sale-by-owner): For Sale, But Overpriced…

  8. Craig says:

    My problem is that not every buyer wants or needs an agent and these people shouldn’t be penalized for their choice. I don’t think public money should help fund the Realtor cabal.

    I don’t question the business savy of MW–after all, they have reaped the rewards of millions of dollars worth of tax credits.

    If Realtors are truly concerned about looking out for the interests of Buyers then they should have to adhere to ethical standards that express such a concern, and such standards must be backed up by harsh punishment for their violation. Realtors will never take this step because any agent in a transaction profits by getting a deal done at the highest cost to the buyer that is possible. No?

    [REPLY Uh, no! In Missouri and in most states real estate law assumes agents represent the seller. This is why the concept of buyer’s representation was passed — so that buyer’s woudl have someone on their site. A long list of standards applies to buyer’s agents and the penalties are stiff for non-compliance. Developers are themselves acting as agents on behalf of their properties. Would you call a listing agent on a property and have them write up your offer? I would certainly hope not. – SLP]

  9. Craig says:

    Would you let a buyer’s agent who stands to make 3.5% commission on the sale of the home counsel you and write up your offer to buy a home?

    It happens every day and is acceptable practice in the residential real estate profession.

    But that situation presents an inherent conflict of interest.

    This is like allowing an insurance defense lawyer to be paid a percentage if what her client settles for: the more her client pays (i.e. is harmed) the more she makes.

    I dare you to show me the standards that you say exist and the consequences for their violation.

  10. Craig says:

    I erred in positing the 3.5% number. That’s too high, I realize.

    [REPLY – Yes, way too high. The only times I’ve seen percentages like that is when we are talking about a $25,000 property. M|W is paying 3% commission to buyer’s agents which is then split between the agent and their broker. We also have other fees and expenses to pay. If it was like a new loft I sold last year, I showed my buyer a number of properties throughout the city and the one he settled on happened to have been a new loft. – SLP]

  11. read my epitaph says:

    “My problem is that not every buyer wants or needs an agent and these people shouldn’t be penalized for their choice. I don’t think public money should help fund the Realtor cabal.”

    Sadly, Craig just doesn’t seem to get it.

    Buyer’s may not need real estate agents, but seller’s do.

    That’s the whole point, Craig.

    The seller is not trying to benefit you, the buyer. The seller is trying to benefit the seller!

    M|W understands this, which is why they are trying to cultivate agents in the St. Louis real estate industry.

    Craig, as a free agent buyer, acting on your own, you’re free to contact any property owner you wish about selling their home. That’ll be a lot of fun!

    In some high demand areas, those tactics actually work. A nice note to an elderly lady once a year, reminding her that when she’s ready to sell, you’re ready to buy sometimes pays off! (And I have some of those elderly ladies as neighbors, and I can tell you, their ideas about property value follow that old “FSBO” maxim: For Sale, But Overpriced!)

    For the more typical property owner, they seek out the wise counsel and professional service of a qualified Realtor, operating according to the Code of Ethics established for Realtors.

    And what is the basis for that code? The Golden Rule.

    Craig, here’s a challenge for you: what code of ethics does an unrepresented individual operating as a free agent follow?

  12. Craig says:

    First, I like how Steve was unable to show me the “rules” that prevent buyers’ agents from “double-dealing.” That’s because the rules don’t exist.

    Second, read my epitaph has offered me a foolish challenge. The unrepresented individual acting as a buyer will presumably be loyal to herself. She will do her best to get the lowest price for the property she wants. The unrepresented seller will try to get the highest price she can.

    But if these same folks hired real estate agents for the transaction they would be dealing with people who have only vague standards of loyalty to their customer–especially the buyer’s agent or (gasp) the dual agent.

    [REPLY – Well, Craig, the form I want to show you prevents me from saving it as a PDF. And I have more critical things to address I did take the time to retype the list of duties of a buyer’s agent as required by state law. Trust me, when I get around to it you will see what is required. I take my loyalty to my buyer’s very serious as I primarily represent buyers, not sellers. Developers are not unrepresented, they are in nearly every case brokers themselves. – SLP]

  13. read my epitaph says:

    “The unrepresented seller will try to get the highest price she can.”

    Unfortunately, most unrepresented sellers get less than those represented by real estate agents, because their properties have far less exposure to the market.

    Craig, it sounds like you have had a bad experience buying and selling property.

    Let me share a story with you about the time we bought our last home…

    We looked at multiple properties. Most listed with real estate agents, one a FSBO, and yes, the FSBO was for sale, but overpriced.

    We hit the FSBO hard, with a asking price of $299,000 we offered $275,000. They countered close to their asking price, and we walked away (ooh, ya gotta love that buyer’s power to “walk away”)…

    Later, we found another home a block away, listed with an agent for $287,000. We offered $265,000, they countered at $273,000. We accepted and bought the home.

    Meanwhile, the FSBO sat on the market. And sat. And sat some more. Finally, about 6 months later, the owners listed the home for sale with a real estate agent at $274,000 (less than our original offer). It finally sold for $265,000.

    By the time the home sold, the owners had moved out, were carrying the cost of owning two homes, and wound up with a much lower price and net proceeds.

    There’s the real-life story of one FSBO that was his own worst client…


Comment on this Article: