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Ald Young Thinks Downtown Condo Prices “Skyrocketed” Based on Centene Announcement

September 28, 2007 Downtown, Economy, Events/Meetings, Politics/Policy, Real Estate 27 Comments

At last night’s Downtown St. Louis Residents Association (DSLRA) meeting, at Dubliner’s on Washington Avenue, 7th Ward Alderwoman Phyllis Young proclaimed to the loft dwellers that their property values had just “skyrocketed” based on the news that Centene would be relocating their headquarters to a portion of Ballpark Village, bringing with them some 1,200 jobs.  I think she was looking for cheers from the group with her non-reality based assertion.

REALTORS® in the room, myself included, were skeptical.  Pressed on the issue of foreclosures, long days on the market and more new projects as rentals, Ald Young indicated “I think” this news will have a positive impact on the market.  Yes, a new corporate headquarters and more M-F workers will translate into more people during the work week.  We may see more lunchtime restaurants as well as stores catering to the office workers.  The impact, however, on residential housing units in the downtown area and a 24/7 lifestyle remains to be seen.  The condo market, days after the announcement, has not changed substantially.  Proclamations of dramatic and overnight increases in property value is typical of St. Louis political spin.  If values are so much higher now, I guess that means she’ll stop supporting subsidies for developers?

If Ald Young wants cheers from the downtown residents she needs to announce a new 24-hour Walgreen’s within walking distance — not the one to be built on Lafayette across from the former City Hospital.

If you have thoughts on this topic be sure to share below and/or contact Ald Young directly.


Currently there are "27 comments" on this Article:

  1. adam says:

    YES PLEASE, a Walgreens/CVS downtown would be awesome. Why didnt the one in the mall relocate?

    Yes, they will skyrocket, maybe, in 2 years from now.

    However, I still think some of the condo prices are still on the high side for what downtown offers. So now she is saying they will skyrocket?
    Good luck.

  2. It’s truly baffling that there is no downtown pharmacy. Huh?

  3. Won’t prices only “rocket” if the quantity demanded of condos and lofts increases? There is no guarantee that these workers are going to live Downtown. Thus why would people eating their lunch affect the real estate market?

  4. James says:

    Contacting the aldermen is one thing, but I think we also need to be contacting the pharmacy chains directly. I’ve heard rumors that Walgreen’s is reluctant to put a store in downtown without a drive through pharmacy. Seems crazy since they had two at one time, but that’s what I heard.

  5. Ott says:

    Steve, the implication from you post is that Young should do something to get a drug store. Are you OK with offering tax incentives to Walgreens? Other than that, what should she do? (no sarcasm intended in these questions)

    [SLP — Wrong!  My implication is that if you want to be greeted with cheers you announce a drug store, not that values have “skyrocketed” due to the relocation of a HQ.]

  6. GMichaud says:

    Screw Walgreens, try some other local or national drug store, remember when drugstores weren’t a monopoly? There is still plenty of independents that might expand downtown.

  7. Southside Tim says:

    hey give phyllis her due. let’s not sound so grumpy here. yes there are a lot of give aways in this stuff but somebody worked pretty hard to land this deal and i would guess fast too. it was just weeks ago the clayton thing fell apart.

    hey i’m as skeptical about some of the goings on but if centene had left town we would all be grumbling about how nothing gets done like the last jerk who left town leaving a list of why atlanta or where ever is sooooo much better.

    hurrah for phyllis and barb

    what will be pissing and moaning about when chouteau lake fills up, not enough crappy and large mouth bass i guess.

    come to think of it nobody congratulated chris and trace when the grocery and drug store deal was landed.

    hurrah for me! boo to the grumps.

  8. GMichaud says:

    I remember, as a child on the north side, there was a pharmacy at one corner of Roosevelt Place and Goodfellow, across the street a bar with a cork ball cage and at the other end of the block a small confectionary. (This was the mid fifties) Now there is no trace of what once was.
    If there is hundreds of millions of dollars to give away to already rich white guys, why not tailor programs to help small local pharmacies expand or move to downtown?
    The priority of course is the rich white guys who buy off everyone in under the guise of donations, and whats worse even people who should be looking to develop local alternatives latch on to Walgreens as if the failure of Walgreens to move downtown is a crisis.
    Corporate government and business has choked America till she can’t breathe.

  9. Southside Tim says:

    in all my days i have never worked for a poor guy, black or white. if it’s so easy how about some of you fella putting your brass ones out there, sign a few personal guarantees so that the bank can take all you hold dear. those corner stores went out of business because you fled the n side. that and walgreens offers the same at a fraction of the old price.

    we ve got to get beyond the nostalgia.

  10. Maurice says:

    What will be interesting to see play out is how the highway construction will combine with the Centene deal and its resultant impact on housing demands.

    [SLP — The new Centene building won’t be finished until the highway is finished so I don’t expect any bump from that.]

  11. M says:

    I’ve been saying this for years, but if Phyllis is allowed to take ANY credit for the downtown resurgence we have seen for the past several years, than she MUST take the blame for the downward plunge that downtown went through during many, many years under her “control” prior.

  12. Ott says:

    [SLP — Wrong! My implication is that if you want to be greeted with cheers you announce a drug store, not that values have “skyrocketed” due to the relocation of a HQ.]

    Wrong! That’s not your implication, that’s exactly what you said in your post. You wrote the post for a reason, I assume. You’re implying that if Young wants cheers from Downtown residents, she should do something about getting a drug store. My question, again, is what should she do?

    [SLP — Young announced what we already knew — that Centene was moving their HQ to downtown.  She concluded this meant the property values of her audience had just skyrocketed as a result of said announcement.  Instead of being met with applause about this unfounded new real estate wealth — people were skeptical at the leap from an announced office building to vastly different property values in a matter of a few days.  My Walgreens’ comment speaks to having our legislators legislate and not pretend to be real estate appraisers.  Furthermore, I think many downtown residents (actually all neighborhoods) are looking for nearby goods and services to make their lives incomplete — someone that can announce that will be met with positive reactions.]

  13. Adam says:

    i took steve’s comment to mean she should do something a little more substantial than speculate on property values. as for what she should do … well she worked pretty hard to get a new mcdonalds built on south grand. maybe she could do a little more of that. except for something worthwhile.

    [SLP — I just added a clarification to the previous comment after you had posted this so yes, that is what I meant.  And for the record, that was Ald Florida that worked hard on behalf of a McDonald’s Drive-Thur in an urban commercial district.  It is Ald Young that advocated razing Bohemian Hill for a generic strip center.]

  14. margie says:

    Phyllis certainly worked very hard when she was carrying all that water for people behind the Century demolition.

  15. Adam says:

    right. thanks, steve. not sure why i mixed up young and florida. one of those brain things…

  16. Howard says:

    Saying that Ald. Young was speaking as a real estate appraiser instead of legislator goes to the problem of unwillingness to accept the job of alderman as city constituents have defined it for nearly two centuries. She was speaking as a legislator with a whole lot more experience in government’s relationship to housing and development than anyone here and someone who has been a 24/7 cheerleader for her neighborhoods for a longer time than most here have been active in their neighborhoods or engaged in city politics.

    Good legislators do more than legislate. I can’t think of the name of a person in a legislative office who isn’t a cheerleader for his or her district and is worth a plug nickle. Most of you have no real idea what the job of a good local legislator (alderman, county council, general assembly) entails because of unwillingness to accept how constituents have defined the job. It is not glamorous. It has less to do with policy and more to do with constituent services, constituents with complaints and problems and, a lot of the time, complaints and problems way out of the jurisdiction of the legislator. You go to someone you know and access to get something done. Here, the person in a position of power and influence that you are most likely to know and have the easiest access to is your alderman.

    To be able to juggle all the complaints and problems at the nabe level and big developments of a city-wide consequence, as Ald. Young does, takes great skill, acquired over years, and stamina.

    Adding staff and editing laws describing the job of alderman won’t change the relationship between elected and constituents here. They are elected to serve constituents and constituents get to decide what that means. Here, that means problem solver with a personal touch. It’s about service and the service most people are most interested in is what affect thems personally. Changing things on paper won’t change the reasons why people vote for an alderman. They’ll mostly still vote for the the person they know the best and returns their calls, serves as an ombudsman for all government services, and attends their meetings and events over someone who mostly uses a surrogate or tells you to call someone else because they’re too busy being policy makers.

    [SLP — “unwillingness to accept the job of alderman as city constituents have defined it for nearly two centuries.”  Oh now that is rich!  It is all those years of experience that allows her to actually ignore constituent interests and go with what the big boys want.  Of course, that doesn’t apply downtown because Ald Giesman has a firm grip on that territory.  Ald Young was trying to make glamorous — “see we have an office tower so you guys are all now rewarded for buying downtown.”  BS!  She needs to either pass bills or actually be a leader and pull together interests besides Jim Cloar (downtown partnership) and corporate CEOs and actually listen to what residents say are issues as well as needed services.]

  17. sidewalk says:

    I think Howard’s take is correct. the difference is, many (not all) moving downtown are newcomers to the city. So, they are not acccustomed to the traditional role of STL aldermen. Get outside of the urban elite, architecturally-focused demographic, and most STL residents don’t care much about civic issues beyond getting that prime parking space right in front of their house.

    [SLP — Well given that we’ve dropped 500K in population in the last 50 years I think it is fair to say that we need many more that are new to the city.  And since when is it elite to not want dumpsters emptied at 3am and actually have a nearby pharmacy?  The downtown residents are like others in the city — they care about their quality of life in their neighborhood — this is not about urban elitism although I do think the downtown residents get the idea of a walkable neighborhood more than others — and certainly more than the folks from city hall.]

  18. LisaS says:

    Get outside of the urban elite, architecturally-focused demographic

    One of the many problems with that strategy: your so-called “urban elite” are the ones who are moving into the City, and parking isn’t their number one issue like it is for “traditional” St. Louisans. Most of us aren’t from here, and we chose to live in St. Louis instead of moving to more urban places because of its potential.

  19. LisaS says:

    btw–the idea of getting an independent pharmacy to move downtown is a great one–has anyone talked to Brett Williams (owner of Prescriptions Plus in the CWE and Williams Pharmacy in UCity) about it? Or are they just offering lots of money to out-of-state chains instead of helping local businesses grow?

    [SLP — We’ve got a heavily funded downtown group, multiple aldermen downtown, and countless city agencies that should all be working on such issues.  But you think they are going to spend time trying to get a little pharmacy from a locally owned company?  Please.  Walgreen’s wants a drive-thru before they’ll locate downtown and this is just the city to give it to them.]

  20. MH says:

    I am shocked that an elected official would resort to hyperbole when speaking in front of her constituents.

  21. Thor Randelson says:

    “Here, that means problem solver with a personal touch. It’s about service and the service most people are most interested in is what affect them personally.”

    Howard, I have no problem if this is all Alderman and their constituents aspire that they become.

    That said, if that really is all that Alderman and their constituents aspire that they become, then I say it is fair game to take away any of their policy and planning making powers.

  22. newtown says:

    Fair Game to remove their planning and policy making powers? Uh…no. Never gonna happen. Alderman are masters of their domain. It’s a perk! Newcomers need to assimilate with St. Louis culture, not the other way around. Why should we change to meet the expectations of outsiders and newcomers? If you don’t like our way of doing things, then you can move. But please don’t expect us to change. St. Louisans do not like change. Some don’t even leave their own neighborhoods. They may live in St. Louis, but never see the changes going on in neighborhoods outside of their own. We have a very old, traditional, ward based, culture. If you try to change local culture, you will go crazy. Like a wise person once said, “pick your battles”. Trying to change St. Louis culture is a losing battle. Better to adapt to local culture than try to change it.

    [SLP — Life would be much easier for me if I simply said “Fuck it” and got the hell out.]

  23. Ben H says:

    newtown, your argument is ridiculous.
    You suggest that everyone who doesnt like the current ward system is an “outsider” or a “newcomer”. there is plenty of homegrown resentment about the ward culture. Its self evident that the many of the old timers who reigned in STL while it lost 60% of its population dont like change, but change is indeed inevitable and sorely needed. And i think the younger people who are “insiders” understand that too. Theres plenty to like about St Louis culture, and theres also lots to try and change. What does newcomer mean to you? Lets go ahead and define it. Should anyone who’s lived here less that 20 or 30 years be criticized for expressing their opinions?

  24. newtown says:

    Ben, it has nothing to do with expressing opinions. It has everything to do with being effective. Opinions are like…well, like they say, everybody has one. On the other hand, not everyone is effective. People here are always posting about how its time to stop talking and to start bringing about progressive change. The challenge is, how to do it. Trying to change STL culture ain’t the ticket. What is? Work within the system.

    [SLP — Progressive change from within the unchanging system? WTF?]

  25. newtown says:

    There are examples of progressive change within the current system. One of the best is the eastward extension of the Delmar Loop into the city proper. That effort is working through a partnership between property owners, developers, the aldermEn (26th and 28th wards), the Skinker DeBaliviere Community Corporation, citizen leaders (like Joe Edwards), federal assistance, and more. It’s the St. Louis way. Success through collaboration, shared vision, and community buy-in developed over the long term. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen. We have proven models of success. Forest Park. South Grand. The Loop. Downtown. New homes for people who want them. To be effective, get involved. Back away from the computer screen and participate. Start on your own block. Buy a house or a condo or rent for a very long time. Commit to stay. Get known. Build a track record of being a good neighbor. Show up. Get known as a “neighborhood person”. Invest the time. Then your effectiveness will increase.

    [SLP — Please explain how the areas listed are “progressive change within the current system.”  Forest Park was created over a century ago, as were all the other areas listed.  Allowing developers to bring back what previously existed is not progressive change — especially given the current shake down mode used by some elected officials.  Ah yes, a “neighborhood person.”  The go along to get along type that gets stabbed in the back by the system if you dare speak out in public.  No thanks, been down that time wasting route before.]

  26. newtown says:

    The progressive change at Forest Park was the community effort to raise $50,000,000 from throughout the region to restore Forest Park from the crumbling state it was in previously. How can anyone dispute the progressive change along Delmar? Delmar in UCity and STL was just named one of the ten best streets in the country. That success was community driven under our current St. Louis system. There’s a commercial development committee active within Skinker DeBaliviere that worked tirelessly for years to pull together resources to improve Delmar. This month, the Skinker DeBaliviere Community Housing Corp is cutting the ribbon on a substantial historic rehab of an apartment building on Delmar. These are all volunteer, community driven efforts. People working together. Following a shared vision. And then pursuing it as a team.

    [SLP — Raising money regionally is the best you can do?  C’mon — that is more common sense than literal progressive change.  I’m looking for long-term sustainable change so that future generations don’t have to deal with the political BS it takes to get sh*t done around here.  And the loop, once it was going strong in University City the City of St. Louis finally got on board and allowed Edwards to have his way.  This is not progressive — they let every developer have their way!!!  It just happens that Edwards’ plan is urban and attractive.  Had someone envisioned strip mall hell east of Skinker that is what we’d have today.]


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