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Tips for finding a starter home in a seller’s market

What goes into the appreciation of a house

ST. LOUIS, MO/April 12, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A seller’s market is never good news for buyers wishing to score their first-time home in a budget range they can actually afford.  Sellers know they are in control of the limited supply today, and they are using this positioning to their advantage big time.  But, thanks to increased confidence in the economy, leading more people to make large purchase like new homes, this trend indicates securing a starter home even for the tiniest of budgets can be a definite reality in the future.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the share of households that believe the economy is improving soared to 72% in the first quarter of 2017.  “Forty-seven percent believe that strongly, up from 45 percent in Q4 2016 and 44 percent one year ago in Q1 2016,” stated NAR this past week.

Another new report, one by Redfin, reveals home prices in February increased 7.2% from a year earlier.  That coupled with the lack of inventory isn’t a good buyer combination.  However, here are a few tips for making the best of it all and scoring that starter home:

Professional Support: Buyers are going to want an agent who really knows the local community and neighborhood when buying a starter home.  Realtors who know their turf are able to smell out deals before other buyers are aware they are available.

Pre-Approval: Do you homework before even beginning the search.  Sort out your finances beforehand, have your credit score received, and reach out to lenders for tips regarding how to improve credit scores if they are less than stellar.

Compromises: It is undoubtedly a seller’s market, which means you need to be prepared to make compromises.  If you fall in love with one home, keep looking until you fall in love with another home, just in case the first one isn’t available in your price range after all.

St. Louis Panera Bread sold to JAB Holdings

Panera Bread, St. Louis, MO

ST. LOUIS, MO/April 8, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis Bread Co., known as plain Bread Co. to St. Louis residents, is part of a much bigger chain today: Panera Bread. Regarded as a local tradition for those in St. Louis, the St. Louis Panera Bread chain sold to a Luxembourg-based investment firm that focuses on consumer brands this week.  The restaurant-industry darling facility, which grew out of a Kirkwood store that opened back in 1987, now belongs to JAB Holdings Co., the owner of Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

The transaction went through this Wednesday when JAB Holdings purchased the Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread Co, at a deal valued close to $7.5 billion, including debt, as it expanded its coffee and breakfast empire.  Contrary to other absorption sales in the greater St. Louis region, there was no reported financial struggles indicating that a sale was inevitable, no succession questions, no negotiations, and no regional drama flooding news sites.  This Panera sale truly came out of the blue for all St. Louis residents.

“This was a definite surprise,” said Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones who follows Panera and other consumer brands today.  “The company had been performing really well, especially versus the rest of the industry here.”  The St. Louis Dispatch went on to claim that Panera had been performing exceptionally well, with their stock being traded at 33 times expected earnings, well above the industry average of 24.7 according to Reuters.

Today, JAB has offered $315 in cash per Panera share, representing a 20.3 percent premium to the stock’s closing price on March 31, the last day it was traded before any reports of the potential deal.

JAB Holdings, a foreign company, is the investment vehicle of Germany’s billionaire Reimann family.  JAB is run by Chief Executive Olivier Goudet, who also serves with the Anheuser-Busch InBev.

St Louis working to keep up with technological changes

St Louis Realtors announce creation of HSG Realty

ST. LOUIS, MO/April 08, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Technological Changes – St. Louis has long been regarded as a quintessential American city, offering a crossroads of traditional manufacturing with urban development and growth.  Known for its industrial hub and plethora of jobs throughout the years, St. Louis finds itself at a standstill today, deciding whether or not to embrace technological innovation within all of its traditional sectors.

Now in the digital age, St. Louis needs to embrace a future powered by new tech-focused industries while shedding some of its traditional, yet waning, economic drivers.  Today, the market still presents many opportunities for successful real estate development in key sub-markets, most notably Clayton.  The area’s population has held steady throughout the years, and it’s actually positioning itself as a go-to location for millennial families today.  Additionally, it benefits from the presence of several Fortune 500 companies in high-growth industries, including the healthcare and insurance fields, all committed to bettering the local economies.

The manufacturing sector, as the biggest driving factor behind St. Louis’ economy, continues to embody a slow, but formidable, growth patter with steady long-term retention of major employment drivers.  Subsequently, there are also a variety of sub-markets within the manufacturing sector that provide niche investment opportunities for out-of-towners.  For the long-term investor looking to own high-quality office real estate in areas with strong and steady demand, two markets stands out: Clayton and West County.

All in all, it’s a good situation for St. Louis today, which means that now is the time for the city to embrace the wave of technological development and integration.  The manufacturing sector needs to open its doors to mobile applications and programmed robotics for delivering better quality turnarounds every time.  Since the city is positioned well today, it will provide developers time to open their doors to the innovative, embrace it, build out the infrastructure, and be good to go in the future.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate adds St. Louis franchise

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate adds St. Louis franchise

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 28, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, a full-service national real estate brokerage determined to expand its operation and clientele hold in 2017, this week announced they have added their latest St. Louis, Missouri-based brokerage, Properties West, to their franchise network.  Now called the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Preferred Properties, led by brokers Charles and Laura Davis, they are poised to take on any kind of real estate demand in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The owners went on to state, “It is rare to find a partnership with a completely aligned set of values, but that is how we immediately felt with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate,” said Laura Davis.  “We are going to continue to support our affiliated agents as we always have as a small company, but with great resources from a recognized brand.”

Better Homes went on to state they have such passion and energy when it comes to providing an authentic and personal experience to every single real estate customer they support.  Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC stated, “This mindset is fully embraced by the entire company and makes them a perfect fit for our network.  We are thrilled to be working together to serve the St. Louis region, and can’t wait to get to work.”

The newly formed entity will move into a new location this April.  They have not, at this time, disclosed their intentions for where they plan to move, what sized office they are looking at, and if they have any expansion plans in the near future.

This isn’t the first St. Louis real estate partnership formed in 2017.  The area has proved to be a hotbed for buying and selling of property today, so companies from around the country are eyeing the region for a regional office.

Upcoming office vacancies in St. Louis

Upcoming office vacancies in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 28, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Though, as a whole, St. Louis has been performing incredibly well with regards to tenants in commercial space today, there are still those “clouds” on the horizon, particularly the announced ones in 2017 for upcoming office vacancies.  As part of the commercial real estate nature, vacancies are imminent, and we are going to discuss the known ones expected to rock the St. Louis region in 2017.

Since Centene has big plans this year, like opening new office space in downtown Clayton as part of its massive campus expansion, they are going to leave a big vacancy in the heart of the city of St. Louis by doing so.  They also announced they are planning to consolidate about 1,000 positions to its new campus when it is complete.  These consolidating plans point to a lot of previous vacancies for an exodus to Clayton.

Downtown St. Louis is going to get rocked with another big vacancy rate when the AT&T Center is scheduled to finish emptying out this fall.  It will put one of the largest office buildings in the region on the market.  The problem with the design of this building is that it’s going to need significant renovations to accommodate more than a single tenant.  “It is a challenge and that is one of the tings we’re having discussions about,” said Otis Williams, head of the St. Louis Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm.

Additionally, Scottrade’s sale to TD Ameritrade, expected to close by the end of the year, likely points to the downsizing of about 1,000 local staff while also putting several large buildings on its Town and Country campus up on the market.  There is also a chance Monsanto could offload some its Creve Coeur buildings as corporate functions are consolidated with Bayer.

It will be interesting to see how these vacancies are balanced with the 2017 St. Louis commercial real estate market.

Peabody staying in downtown St. Louis offices


Peabody staying downtown St. Louis

St. Louis, MO/December 18, 2016 (STLRealEstate.News) Peabody Energy renewed their downtown St. Louis office leases through 2023 this year, making a sustainable commitment to their longtime St. Louis residency.  The energy agency’s world headquarters is based out of the downtown St. Louis offices, and they made the official lease extension announcement this past Wednesday.  The announcement extends the current lease on the company’s 701 Market Street office by two years as well.

The renewal of the entity’s lease comes at a frustrating and difficult time for the international company, still trying to determine how to course its way out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Local news stations took special interest to the announcement, speculating that the business has a plan for climbing out of their economic woes in 2017.

“We took a decent amount of time to speculate the future of Peabody in many different ways,” said Vic Svec, a spokesperson for Peabody.  “Though we’re not entirely sure where we see ourselves five years from now, we do know one thing: that downtown St. Louis is our home, and we’re pleased to call it the home of our global headquarters.”

Svec went on to say that the decision is an enormous announcement of Peabody’s commitment to the greater St. Louis community, and their contributions in the form of job development and economic growth.  Additionally, the spokesperson confirmed that the lease renewal is a “testament to the sustainability of Peabody” as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Peabody was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past April.  The onslaught came from a disruption to coal markets and debt from recent purchases of mining companies overseas.  Svec acknowledged in her statement that development, along with the “industry headwinds,” sparked outside speculation about the fate awaiting its block of downtown real estate, as well as the company, overall.

Peabody currently employs about 380 people in its St. Louis headquarters.


Picture courtesy of CleanTechnica


Copyright 2016 K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals release new Ballpark Village layout drawings

Ballpark Village

St. Louis, MO/December 8, 2016 (STLRealEstate.News) The St. Louis Cardinals last month confirmed they are revamping and constructing a new village complex right in St. Louis. This week, the team published two new renderings of what the $220 million second phase of Ballpark Village is likely to look like. The “official phase two plans” call for construction of a 29-story, 230-foot-tall luxury high-rise apartment tower, as well as what officials said will be the “Class A” building – the first new one built downtown since 1989. The construction project, therefore, is momentously historic and exciting for all St. Louis residents.

One of the renderings released this week shows an aerial view of the site that includes a generic mock-up of what to expect from a third possible renderings release. The other rendering available at this time showed the complex will include a rooftop pool on one of the buildings.

Construction is set to begin in the second half of 2016, with some areas that will be available for public use as soon as 2018. The entire second phase addition is slated to be completed by 2019, reported officials.

Previous hints of what a third phase rendering could look like includes three rectangular parcels to the north of the current plans. Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III previously reported to the Business Journal that those blocks could be anything, but are set up strategically to lay the foundation for an office or something residential. “My dream would be a big company to come in and build a campus on three blocks and add some retail and add to the streetscape,” said DeWitt.

At the end of November, a St. Louis aldermanic committee advanced $65 million in subsidies for the project. The subsidies include allotments from tax increments, a community improvement district, and a transportation development district. The Ballpark Village bonds will expire in 2037.


Contributing editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo


Picture courtesy of St. Louis Ballpark Village


Copyright 2016 K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STL.Properties and STLRealEstate.News.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wisconsin real estate firm buys St. Louis office complex

Wisconsin real estate firm

St. Louis, MO/December 5, 2016 (STLRealEstate.News) An up-and-coming full-service Wisconsin real estate firm has its eyes on real estate available in the greater St. Louis metro region.  Sara Investment Real Estate, a multi-faceted Midwestern real estate firm, this past week official acquired three West County office buildings in hopes to expand their reach on major metropolises in the central United States corridor.  The acquisition officially happened this past Wednesday, though terms of the deal were not disclosed at this time.

The properties, located in a complex that embodies 1610, 1630, and 1650 off of Des Peres Road, have a combined appraised value of $24.5 million, according to the St. Louis County records.

Corporate Hill Associates, a business entity tied to Anthony Sansone Jr., co-founder, chairman and CEO of a local real estate investment firm Sangita Capital Partners, sold the closing transaction.  TJ Redmond, a vice president of locally based CBRE, represented Corporate Hill Associates in the official closure.

The three buildings have a whopping 300,000-square-feet of Class A office space between them, are 68 percent occupied with tenants.  Current residents of the buildings include Charter Communications, Bethesda Health Group, KPFF Consulting Engineers, and Gallagher Bassett.

This isn’t the first acquisition by Sara in the great St. Louis region.  The real estate company is now on its fourth transaction, after having acquired the Chesterfield Exchange Building in Chesterfield Valley for about $15 million from the Danna brothers this past February.  In 2015, Sara acquired the Nortek Global HVAC building in Wing Haven, a property valued at $5 million, and a 50,000-square-foot industrial building at 1533 Larkin Williams Road, in the Fenton Industrial Park, for close to $5.3 million from TJC Partners.

The Wisconsin realty firm said they are planning for $15 to $20 million in acquisitions in the coming year.  The entity is led locally by CFO Luke Wolf, and is looking to keep expanding their operation.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo


Copyright 2016 K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pfizer to consolidate St. Louis offices


St. Louis, MO/December 5, 2016 (STLRealEstate.News) Pfizer had a big announcement for the St. Louis metro region this past week.  The mega-corporation laid out their plans to research and develop a massive, four to five-story, 460,000-square-foot facility and parking structure on the northwest corner of Olive Boulevard and Chesterfield Parkway.  Pfizer confirmed that the plans are already being set in motion to the St. Louis Business Journal this past Tuesday.

The new structure will absorb the two different Pfizer facilities functioning around the Chesterfield region.  Pfizer will consolidate the Monsanto Chesterfield Village Research Center and at their location at the Missouri Research Park in St. Charles County in the new facility.  The facility will accommodate 625 employees and contractors, and is expected to cost more than $200 million.

Even more impressed, the pharmaceutical conglomerate is planning on centralizing their biotherapeutics and pharmaceutical science groups out of the new facility.  Much of the work conducted in the building will involve developing biologics and vaccines for clinical trials.

Local real estate agencies, Clayco and CRG, will be handling the development team and operation.  CRG, a subsidiary of Clayco, will work alongside the real estate business for the oversight of the new building construction.  Pfizer is planning to lease the building, once it is completed, which is expected to happen at the beginning of 2020.

Pfizer, through their operation expansion, is expected to create hundreds of jobs for locals.  The state of Missouri is rewarding them with $5 million through the Missouri Works program and $800,000 through the Missouri Works Training program based on job creation goals.  Pfizer is still in talks with the city of St. Louis for landing additional subsidies for their pledge to spur the creation of jobs and accelerate the job growth rate in the city.  Sources report Pfizer will at least receive some sort of real estate tax abatement in the process.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo


Picture courtesy of Missouri Business Alert


Copyright 2016 K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis factory building to become loft high-rise

St. Louis factory building

St. Louis, MO: (STLRealEstate.News) A 100-year old St. Louis factory that once housed roaring printing machines in a dusky environment may now play home to eye-catching, lofty, high-rise apartments soon.  The Woodward & Tiernan Printing Co. building at 1519 Tower Grove Avenue this week announced conversion as housing is planning for the once bustling factory site.  Pier Property Group, a brand new St. Louis-based real estate company, announced they are in hopes to complete the purchase of the 250,000-square-foot building in March to begin the total renovation into 160 loft-style apartments.

The first units could be available for residents as early as late spring 2018.

Pier’s founder, Michael Hamburg, stated that the $30 million to $35 million project in total would be titled Woodward Lofts.  The project, he says, would help connect the rapidly growing Grove neighborhood to the north and areas to south, which include the likes of Botanical Heights and the Shaw neighborhood.  As Hamburg puts it, the project would “be an infill anchor between all those areas.”

A local St. Louis architectural firm, Trivers Associates, states that the early 20th century daylight factory design incorporated in the location will translate perfectly into designed Woodward Lofts’ modern apartments.  The daylight design also calls for heavy factory rehab, reinforced concrete floors, and columns permits to alter the huge window and clerestories that admit daylight deep into the building’s interior.

Rewind 100 years ago, Ford’s gigantic Model T that factory opened in 1910 in Highland Park, Michigan, epitomized the open daylight design, which quickly spread to all other industrial areas of the time.  The building at 1519 Tower Grove Avenue was no exception, and the central daylight inclusion design will make for incredibly beautiful and naturally lit high-rise apartments. Klipstein & Rathmann, a prominent St. Louis architectural firm, will design the total building conversion.

Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo