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St Louis residents aren’t happy about rising property taxes

St Louis residents aren’t happy about rising property taxes

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 18, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The red hot St. Louis real estate market could very well mean a higher property tax bill for many residents in the greater metropolis today.  St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman stated that most people will see a significant increase this time around.  The last time the reassessments were done, in the wake of the Great Recession, there was no increase to residents.  This shift is already creating controversy and unhappiness in worried residents today.

“Two years ago we saw that homes in really nice parts of town were going up in value and the rest of St. Louis County, not so much.  This year, the rising tide seems to be lifting all of the boats,” said immerman.  He went on to state that it’s about a 7 percent increase across the board.  Residents are wondering how they come up with these numbers.

Zimmerman responded, “It’s data driven, but we have personally inspected 75,000 properties just in the space of the last couple of months.”

Some St. Louis residents have certain opinions on who should be subject to these increased assessments.  Sarah Heine of Kirkwood, the former head of the group that pushed for property tax relief ten years ago, stated that there ought to be a property tax cap for anyone over the age of 65.  “I feel at some point I should not be in a position to have to move out of the community I helped to support for all those years, and be able to live in my home and enjoy the community I helped create,” she said.

She went to claim that it might be time to consider taxing homes when they are sold, not when they are being lived in.  Heine’s group, the St. Louis County Citizens for Property Tax Relief, is presently looking for new leadership to carry on the crusade.

More tax credits requested for McKee NorthSide grocery

More tax credits requested for McKee NorthSide grocery

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 8, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The gas station and accompanying grocery store planned for the NorthSide Regeneration under Paul McKee have sought out additional tax credits this week.  The developers are after another $3 million in New Markets Tax Credits to help finance their plan to oversee the construction of the project near Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street, just north of downtown.  The request, which was submitted by the St. Louis Grocery Group LLC, would bring the group’s total asking to $8 million in New Markets.  This would yield them approximately $3 million to the $19.6 million project.

This Tuesday, the St. Louis Development Corporation will sit down and consider the resolution at its weekly meeting.  The SLDC Executive Director, Otis Williams, proclaimed that the St. Louis Grocery Group, due to the bank requiring mounting reserves, desperately needs these additional tax credits.

The project kicked off initially with the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approving $2.8 million in tax increment financing (TIF) and a 1 percent sales tax for a Community Improvement District to help fund the project.  These same developers are also in the process of leveraging a $5 million New Markets Tax Credits commitment from the Central Bank of Kansas City.  The equity acquired from the two New Markets allocations will yield about $3 million to the project that is being provided by the U.S. Bank.

Additionally, the project is also counting on $10 million in debt from Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, as well as a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant.

The project is the first of its kind for NorthSide.  KAI is the general contractor on the project, which is slated to produce 72 new jobs at this time.  The project will result in a 20,000-sqaure-foot grocery store, located at 1408 N. 13th Street.  It will be called the GreenLeaf Community Marketplace.  Across the street, a 6,500-square-foot Zoom gas station is in the works.

New hotel planned for midtown St. Louis

New hotel planned for midtown St. Louis - STLRealEstate.News

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Downtown St. Louis’ Habitat for Humanity has been officially acquired in pursuit of developing a brand new hotel, sources reported to the St. Louis Business Journal this week.  Maryland Heights-based Midas Hospitality has acquired the location with plans to redevelop it into a $25 million hotel. Midas bought the property, a campus that includes 3763, 3745, and 3755 Forest Park Ave for $2.4 million.  Midas stated they plan to eventually demolish the buildings in order to construct an Element by Westin hotel, an eco-friendly, extended-stay concept that will feature more than 150 rooms, and 10,000 square feet of retail space along with a rooftop lounge.

The project will take place directly across the street from Steve Smith’s St. Louis Foundry project, which is situated between Saint Louis University campus the Cortex innovation district.  “We were looking for a site in this part of St. Louis for a number of years and with the demand generators around us, like SLU and SLU Hospital, along with Washington University and Cortex, this is a perfect fit for that type of property,” said CEO David Robert of Midas Hospitality.

Hotel analyst at HVS and a St. Louis-based managing director for the company, Daniel McCoy, said that extended-stay hotels typically look to open near hospitals and areas of development for the outpouring of individuals in tricky situations.  McCoy went on to state, “I think it’s a good fit for that neighborhood.  It will also fit well with the Aloft Hotel in Cortex, which is a lot of times Starwood tried to pair together to work with each other since Aloft is more transient-oriented and Element is extended-stay.”

The Aloft project is part of a $100 million phase of development in Cortex that will also include a 180,000-square-foot office building being built by Wexford Science & Technology.

St Louis small business owners are feeling confident

St Louis small business owners are feeling confident

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Bank of America Corp. released survey results this week indicating that St. Louis-based small business owners are feeling more confident about their business operations and the business climate they operate in today.  The corporation, which recently surveyed 1,000 small-business owners across the nation, found that confidence in the local, national, and global economy rose to its highest level since the fall of 2015.  The survey also indicates that a new gauge of confidence among small-business owners has sharply up-ticked over the past 6-months.

In the recently released BofA’s Spring 2017 Small Business Owner Report, 50 percent of small-business owners expressed confidence that the local economy will improve over the next 12 months, which is up a staggering 37% from the rate measured this past fall.  Additionally, another 52% of entrepreneurs surveyed conveyed a similar feeling on the national level, with 35% expecting a global economic improvement moving forward.  Both of these measures were up from 31 percent and 19 percent, respectively, from the fall 2016 report.

Looking at how these numbers translate into business proceedings in St. Louis today, the findings of renewed confidence have yet to translate to higher revenue outlooks and growth plans in the next five years, according to the report.  Furthermore, hiring plans also dipped to a five-year low, with just 18% expecting to add staff.  Close to 73% answered that they plan to keep their employee count the same.

“While on average small business owners nationwide are taking a wait-and-see approach to hiring and expansion, millennial entrepreneurs, by contrast, indicate more ambitious plans to hire,” said Sharon Million, head of small business for Bank of America.  “Millennial small business owners also have higher expectations both for increased revenues in 2017 and business growth over the next five years.”

Lastly, the report showed a decline in economic concerns among small-business owners from the previous six months.

The Charlotte-based bank conducts these small-business surveys twice per year.

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

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.

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Picture courtesy of CleanTechnica

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