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Cautiously Optimistic About the Future of the Railway Exchange Building

May 13, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Real Estate 1 Comment

Word quickly spread on Wednesday about a vacant building downtown:

  1. NextSTL: 1.2M SF Railway Exchange Under Contract, Mixed-Use Redevelopment Planned
  2. St. Louis Business Journal: Developer has Railway Exchange Building under contract
Railway Exchange building 2011
Railway Exchange building 2011

While most were cheering the “news”, I was digging into the record of this developer. From the NextSTL post:

“While the firm has completed several historic redevelopments, one stands as particularly analogous. Hudson purchased the 1M+ sf Huntington Building in downtown Cleveland for $22M last year and have planned a $280M renovation. The 21-story building was completed in 1924.” 

So the analogous example is planned…not completed. What about their other projects? Let’s take a look, in the order listed on their website:

Huntington Building:

Gulfstream Hotel:

Linton Towers:

Mark Twain Building:

Midtown Delray Beach:

The Orlando Hotel:

  • Unable to find anything…

Starks Building:

Sundy House:

Textile Building:

I didn’t find anything actually completed — other than some purchases.  Do they have the right experience to get these complex projects done?

From January 2015:

Steven Michael once managed hedge funds and was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade.

Today he is focused on redeveloping historic and distressed properties, a passion he and his family have followed for some time.

In Delray Beach, he started real estate development firm Hudson Holdings with friend Andrew “Avi” Greenbaum, who also has a background in finance. The company is now managing the Sundy House hotel and restaurant and has a vision to renovate the surrounding area. Hudson also recently bought the Gulfstream Hotel in Lake Worth, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and plans to redevelop that hotel, and add hotel rooms. (Wealth managers move into real estate development)

Their bios do indicate experience closing real estate financing deals. After my research, I have many reservations. I hope they’re successful.

One year ago yesterday, a ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP). gave a presentation on the top floor of the Railway Exchange:

First slide, click image view ULI page with link to full presentation
First slide, click image view ULI page with link to full presentation
Boards from a Washington University project on ideas for the building, click image for article on their project
Boards from a Washington University project on ideas for the building, click image for article on their project
South view
South view

Again, I want to see the Railway Exchange redeveloped, but we must not get so excited we fail at due diligence. Having worked in real estate for years I know that not every contract closes.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Mark-AL says:

    This is great news for the central downtown area–a massive undertaking for the named developers, or for any developer! The sheer size of the pre-buildout phase alone is staggering due to the probable abatement costs and interior demo costs, just to bring the structure to ground zero. If the purchase actually materializes, there’s obviously plenty of room for multi-multi-multi-use development within the single structure: hotel, apartments, condos, retail, offices, food markets, salons, attorney and physicians’ offices, construction management firms (in the basement), emergency clinic, barber shops (if anyone patronizes a “barber shop” today), college/junior college downtown campus, shoe repair, and whatever, which would be unique and exciting in that, once fully leased and developed, it could emerge as the STL’s first all-inclusive building that offers residents and tenants and other downtown residents every service and amenity they may need and all under one roof, a city within a city. Maybe the STL market is ready for such a development. Let’s hope! This building has always stood out as the proverbial rhino among giraffes in downtown STL, and its development will represent a giant step forward in that area’s development. (And the best news: there are at least three parking garages located within a few blocks that can easily accommodate any commuters, clients and customers who may decide or need to travel to the building in either their green or their red(?) vehicles!)


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