St. Louis Butler Brothers Building - "Hopes for downtown rest on residential"

As Memphis-based commercial real estate firm Development Services Group weighed whether to invest in downtown St. Louis by renovating the historic Butler Brothers building into apartments, the developer's first look at the data behind that $140 million decision wasn't very convincing.

The high-level numbers, such as vacancy rates and growth projections, were of "pretty modest interest for us," said DSG Principal ... . "But the more we dug in, the more interesting St. Louis and this area became."

The lure of creating a new, thriving neighborhood in Downtown West next to the new $461 million Major League Soccer stadium and within a mile and a half of the new $1.5 billion campus of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency was the primary selling point for ... DSG, which has rehabbed historic buildings near other revamped neighborhoods across the country and saw a unique opportunity to do the same in St. Louis.

Typically, high vacancy rates for existing apartments and projections that show only modest population growth over the next five years would be worrying signs for the expansion of residential development downtown, which city development officials and business groups concerned about the future of ... in the growing area of Downtown West near the new soccer stadium. As more development brings people, jobs and walkable attractions, the hope is that those numbers will start turning around for the rest of downtown.

Developers and officials agree that for retail, restaurants and attractions in St. Louis to continue to grow, downtown needs more residents. The city has a loftier goal as part of Mayor Tishaura Jones' economic justice plan to add 30,000 more residents citywide by 2030, and adding housing downtown is a key part of those efforts.

Ken Aston, managing director of Berkadia, a commercial ... ' city. In order to thrive it has to have residential density," Aston said. "It's important for visitors and residents and employers to see people walking, shopping, dining and sightseeing."

High hopes for downtown Jack Roddy, who owns JTLand, a company that leases corporate apartments across the St. Louis region, had looked around downtown over the years to find the perfect mix of a neighborhood with enough amenities to satisfy an out-of-town visitor, while balancing safety concerns. He never found it, at least until he saw Ballpark Heights, a boutique office-to-residential conversion across from across from Busch Stadium that developer Bamboo Equity Partners opened in August. The new apartment complex is ... near Ballpark Village, the St. Louis Cardinals' entertainment district, which brought some of downtown's first new apartment construction in years with a 29-story luxury apartment tower, One Cardinal Way, that opened in 2020, developed by the Cardinals and Cordish Cos. To Roddy, Ballpark Village was the missing piece downtown that created a more walkable environment for out-of-town visitors such as his corporate clients ...

Read the full story from the St. Louis Business Journal.

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