Home » Real Estate » Recent Articles:

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

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.


Rehabber’s Club Tour Visits Dutchtown on Saturday

Tomorrow morning, Saturday September 15th, the Rehabber’s Club will hold its monthly tour of rehabbed and yet to be rehabbed properties. Last month was a great look at activities in Forest Park Southeast (aka The Grove). This month it is Dutchtown. Each month the tour and discussions are interesting as you get to see what others have done as well as what typical places look like prior to renovation. Discussion topics that come up can be quite helpful to those considering their own rehab project. The 9:30am starting point is the recently completed Marquette Park Condominiums located at 4056 Minnesota, appropriately across the street from the lovely Marquette Park.


Above, the condos framed by the double row of trees at Marquette Park.


Imagine this as your view!


The building, acquired by the Dutchtown South Community Corporation (DSCC) using federal funds, was in poor condition and has thus been extensively renovated top to bottom. DSCC Executive Director (and SLU Alum) Debbie Irwin will walk us through some of the issues faced during the renovation process. The condos are each one bedroom & one bath. Originally the DSCC was going to attempt to turn this building into two townhouses but as you see it has a single front door with an internal stair serving all four units. When I volunteered on the committee, the plan was changed to retain the four unit configuration. It had been argued there was no market for condos in Dutchtown but I countered that there were zero condos available so that cannot be a justification of the market.

Each of the condos is listed for $100,000 and includes a “write down” program as well as closing cost assistance. Buyer’s must be income qualified meaning they can’t have too high of an income in order to qualify. This, of course, is all based on requirements attached to the funding sources used to renovate the building. Debbie Irwin will explain these programs in more detail at the meeting. The condos are listed with CBG, click here to view the MLS listing for Unit A (all four listings are the same).

Part of the meeting will include a discussion of what is called the “VAL” project — this stands for a triangle of land bounded by Virginia, Alabama, and Liberty streets. There is not much to see in person on site as it is still vacant as environmental cleanup has to be completed before construction can start. I believe the rehabbers club will get a look at the drawings for the proposed project.

Last up is the corner storefront property I have listed at the corner of Itaska and Louisiana. Unlike the condos on Minnesota, this building has yet to be rehabbed. Thankfully it is starting out in much better condition than the condo building did.


Large windows create a pleasant front to the street yet it still works in this predominantly residential area.  Three of the four corners at Itaska & Louisiana have storefronts.

Last week the owner had the remains of two apartment finishes removed from the 1st floor area. This leaves a rough but open space ready to be transformed.  This stage is good for future rehabbers to see — to get a sense of what what things they might be dealing with when they purchase a property for rehab.   For many all the old walls, finishes, dropped ceilings and such as a bit overwhelming — so the lesson here with a rehab project is to carefully remove all the undesirable later additions to buildings — getting back to the original bones.  From this point you can get a better sense of what you have to work with.  Additional information (and photos) on this property can be found at 3463itaska.com.
The monthly Rehabber’s Club meetings are pretty punctual so plan to arrive on or just before 9:30am.  However, if you are running late know that you are welcome — you just might miss some good information.  Again the starting point is 4056 Minnesota and we’ll be headed to 3463 Itaska after that (google map/directions).   If you are running behind you can call Claralyn Bollinger at 314-604-1570 to see where we are at that moment.  For those not interested in the full Rehabber’s Club meeting but curious about 3463 Itaska, I will have it open from 10am to 11:30am so feel free to stop by.


Property on Virginia Illustrates Mixed Uses, Evolution of Buildings

Buildings are hardly static and the property at 5411 Virginia in South St. Louis is a perfect example. What was once a 1-story structure grew over the years into a 15,000+ complex that includes a storefront, an office, an apartment, a garage and lots of open space. Over the years this property has been an early gas station, a bowling alley, a dance hall, a fried pies stand, a tavern and, most recently, a large-scale costume shop.


Preservation of buildings usual involves looking at a “period of significance” architecturally or historically. When originally built the complex was much smaller than today but we know from records, like the above, that the dance hall portion of the building on the 2nd floor was in place by March 1935.


The modern storefront may date to the 1930s as well.

The terrazzo entry clearly identifies the use as a bowling alley. The wood floor remains as well as some of the markings but the gutters have been filled in with wood and the manual pin equipment has long been removed.


The 5,000sf upstairs ballroom is a more “raw” space as the current owners removed the old plaster ceiling when they purchased the building back in the 90s. The space was used occasionally for parties, weather permitting (this floor is not air conditioned).

St. Louis is full of equally interesting buildings that, over time, have changed and evolved — sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. They are always fascinating. A great book on the subject of buildings is How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built by Stewart Brand.

As you might expect by this point, I do have an other motive for this post.

At my previous real estate company I had this listing and when I left the listing stayed there, I’m on good terms with the company & seller so all is good. In the MLS the listing still shows as “pending” but a backup is requested. I know a bit more than this but it is inappropriate for me to share details.Let’s just say if you or someone you know might be interested in such a property get on the phone and call your agent, me or the folks at Schaller Realty. The listing price is $199,900. Click here to view the listing detail (w/additional photos & contact info). And for full disclosure, yes I will receive a referral fee upon closing of this property.


Artist’s Studios Open This Weekend!

This weekend take a tour of studios of local artists:

The Contemporary is thrilled to present the Second Annual City-Wide Open Studios Weekend on July 21 and 22, 2007. This event is FREE and open to the public, offering the St. Louis community the unique opportunity to experience art being created in many of St. Louis’ most diverse and energetic neighborhoods.

This can be a great way to meet local artists, see interesting spaces and explore parts of the city and region that you’ve not seen yet. For more information, including the official tour map, see the event website at openstudiosonline.com.

Friends of mine, each with corner storefronts, will be on the tour Saturday at the intersection of Idaho & Eiler (see map). A few blocks away I will have my listings at 3459 & 3463 Itaska open for viewing from 11am-1pm on Saturday (and 1-3pm on Sunday, see 3459Itaska.com and 3463Itaska.com for more detail).


Two Open Houses on Sunday

Very brief shameless plug, I will have two properties open Sunday (7/15/07) from 1pm-3pm — one is a renovated large one-bedroom home at 3459 Itaska and the other is a 3,000sf multi-family/storefront property at 3463 Itaska ready for your renovation ideas.  Stop by and say hello.