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Greater Dutchtown 3rd Annual Showcase of Homes, Sunday April 29, 2007

The Greater Dutchtown area (Dutchtown, Gravois Park, Marine Ville and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods) will be hosting their 3rd Annual Showcase of Homes this coming Sunday from 1pm-4pm.

The tour of homes for sale is, as  you might expect, free to the public.  Many homes will be open in all price ranges and in a variety of areas.  If you haven’t been to Dutchtown in a while now is a good time to check it out.  Visit the Dutchtown South office at 4204 Virginia (map) on Sunday for the list of open houses.
I will have my listing at 3459 Itaska open from 1pm to 4pm.   Here are a few images of the single family home, recently rehabbed, now priced at $99,900:
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Loughborough Commons, Eminent Domain and Fairness

Today I was have a “conversation” about Loughborough Commons with another REALTOR® that lives and works in my area. Quick background, the Schnuck’s grocery store wanted to build a new building and create a big shopping center and in the process 12+ homes were bought out and razed. A single family held out — not wanting to move.

This is where our conversation turned to disagreement. We were discussing value — fair market value. He felt it was “unfair” of the family to hold out for a higher price on their family home than what was the “market” value prior to redevelopment and rezoning of the land. I countered that it was unfair they were being forced to sell something they didn’t wish to sell. Furthermore, I stated I thought it was immoral that Desco, Ald. Villa and the City of St. Louis forced this situation upon these families for an outparcel.

When a client comes to me and wants to sell their property my job is to help determine the best price for them relative to their debt, how quickly they wish to sell and what the market will bear. Some property is in more demand than others and prices generally reflect that. If you buy all the homes around me and then want mine I am going to be wise and recognize the value just went up. Developers know the “value” of that land is considerably higher than if located in an area not being targeted for redevelopment.

Developers often will offer 25% more or so above the normal residential assessed value but often this just approaches the true market value. They’ll use scare tactic arguments to suggest all development will stop if we try to curtail these practices but little evidence if offered to back up these claims.

Taking someone’s occupied personal home is unjustifiable. Sure, if it is falling in and they’ve been dragged through every housing court in town I’ll grant you an exception. But in terms of fairness I think preference should be given to home owners, not developers. I always wonder about the people that advocate for developer’s rights in such terms — how they’d feel if it were actually their home being threatened.

Fair is relative but what is fair to me is allow people to not fear their homes being taken away from them at the whim of a developer or sales tax starved municipality.

– Steve


McGowan|Walsh Opens New Sales Center

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


7th Annual Big BIG Tour This Sunday

May 4, 2006 Events/Meetings, Real Estate Comments Off on 7th Annual Big BIG Tour This Sunday

10th Street Lofts, #804This Sunday marks the seventh year of the city-wide REALTOR®open house known as the Big BIG Tour. The event, sponsored by ReVitalize St. Louis, gets better and better every year.

This will mark the first year that I’ve had a listing on the tour, and what a listing it is!

If you are looking for the very definition of “loft” this place is it; big, open, brick walls & wood floors, exposed ducts, and tall ceilings. It is just under 4,000sf and thanks to the open floor plan it looks every bit of it. See the full listing here.

This loft, like all the properties on the tour, will be open from 1pm to 4pm.

The event actually kicks off at noon on Sunday at the Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman at Kingshighway, where you can get a list of the over 100 properties that will be open. For more detail visit bigbigtour.org

[UPDATE 5/5/06 @ 7am – I’m told this year they’ve surpassed all prior years by a big margin with over 250 properties open on Sunday!!! Also, in addition to properties listed with agents the tour includes FSBOs (For Sale by Owner) as well.]

– Steve


CCBF REALTORS® Showcase Sunday April 2nd

The Carondelet Community Betterment Foundation, better known as CCBF, is holding their annual REALTORS® Showcase this Sunday, April 2nd. CCBF, located at 6408 Michigan St. Louis, MO 63111 (map), is the starting point for tours of homes for sale. I will have a listing of mine open at 6600 Pennsylvania during the Showcase hours of 11am to 3pm (view MLS listing w/pictures).

Carondelet is a great area with a wide variety of architecture. Plus, for those that think St. Louis is flat then you need to go for a walk in the area.

Be sure to check out the grounds of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. I don’t know if they will have the motherhouse open for tours on Sunday, most likely not. If you’ve not seen this stunning facility then you should check it on the first or third thursdays of the month at 10am. Reservation information is on their webpage linked above.

Further south is the St. Boniface National Register Historic District.

On a related note, the Dutchtown South Community Corporation (DSCC) is holding their “Discover Dutchtown Home Showcase.” on the last day in April. This real estate open house will be from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday April 30, 2006.

– Steve