Feb 24, 2017
by Stafford Manion
In the wake of a critical report by the city clerk, the municipality’s aldermen effectively quashed a petition by a group of local residents which would have mandated a public vote before approval of construction projects in excess of ten stories or 200,000 square feet. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, officials characterized the proposal as an unworkable idea that would affect dozens of existing buildings and leave developers and business owners in limbo until routine permits could be approved during each election day.
The clerk also said the measure would need to amend the city charter, something which would require nearly twice the 450 signatures obtained by the petitioners.
The signature drive was initially prompted in response to a proposed $772 million development of office towers and other associated amenities by Centene. The plan, which was approved by Clayton last year, drew the ire of some residents who expressed concern over everything from possible traffic issues to tens of millions of dollars in tax abatements for the new project.
Despite not adopting the residents’ petition, Mayor Harold Sanger thanked them for being engaged and said he would arrange a study group to review the city’s initiative and referendum procedures to bolster public confidence in the process.
A lawyer for the political action committee associated with the residents’ efforts said he was still examining Clayton’s response before determining a course of action.
Feb 24, 2017
by Stafford Manion
Once a home for the nation’s military, St. Louis’s Armory may soon be called back to duty in civilian life.
NextSTL.com reports that the design firm Arcturis has unveiled various conceptual portraits of what the revamped Midtown landmark might look like after a full-scale renovation with new office space encapsulating the building’s distinctive atrium along with spot for dining and even a spa.
Spearheaded by Green Street Development, the $83 million project might also encompass properties closer to the corner of South Grand’s intersection with I-64 including a 90,000-square foot building across Prospect Avenue and a proposed seven-story hotel with 135 units.
The developer hopes to put together community improvement and transportation development districts as well as assembling various tax credits to fund the venture.
The area is ripe for revitalization. The Armory’s rebirth may eventually be complimented by Lawrence Group’s $340 million City Foundry Project on the other side of the double-decked interstate and could even be linked to it by a footbridge over the highway. The site is near St. Louis University, the new IKEA and the ever-expanding Cortex, the Gateway City’s growing technology district which envisions a future with as much as 4.5 million square feet of mixed use development convenient to Metro light rail.
According to nextSTL, the Armory developers are still working to gain ownership of an additional tract of land from a local utility to make room for the planned hotel.
Feb 15, 2017
by Stafford Manion
The future of the $2.7-million site which once housed the municipality’s police headquarters remains in question and the city, which has not received any proposals for the tract, may have to issue a new request for development ideas, the St. Louis Business Journal reported earlier this month. Clayton is said to be open to both residential and retail opportunities for the spot along S. Central Avenue.
Things are also on hold for a parcel further to the west where officials appear to have moved into a wait-and-see mode regarding a parking area abutting the intersection of S. Hanley and Wydown. The busy corner, recognizable to many mid-county residents for its chubby, bronze median strip statue “Man on Horse”, is convenient to various commercial establishments. The city-owned lot did generate a pair of proposals but the Journal said leaders plan no action on them at the moment.
However, not everything is in a holding pattern. Plans by an Indiana-based developer remain green-lit for a $70-million apartment tower in the 8000 block of Forsyth Boulevard. Jutting two dozen stories into the Clayton skyline in the heart of the city’s bustling downtown, the edifice would occupy land now owned by the municipality which has reached an understanding to sell the desirable tract for $1.1 million.
Feb 6, 2017
by Stafford Manion
Despite approval by the Board of Alderman, the biggest development project in Clayton real estate history is drawing the ire of some residents who feel a special election is the only way to settle the issue.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the “We Want a Vote” political action committee has submitted a petition seeking a public ballot question regarding Centene’s efforts to augment its headquarters with a $772 million proposal that includes three office towers, thousands of new parking spots and a theater along with retail and apartment space.
Disgruntled homeowners in the area have a variety of complaints over the plans including everything from concerns over traffic to anger over a $75 million tax abatement package. Others claim a lack of transparency in the approval process and feel that the project runs afoul of the city’s master plan which envisioned green space and a retail and restaurant promenade in some of the areas the company will be using.
Defenders of the idea point to the increased tax revenue to support education and say that traffic studies have not indicated any undue impact from the development. They contend that tax abatement was negotiated down for the project which they argue has been moved forward in public meetings and conforms to the master plan.
The residents’ petition still must have its signatures verified and officials are trying to assess what effect a ballot issue might have on the project, which began preparatory demolitions after receiving approval late last year.
Feb 6, 2017
by Stafford Manion
Karen Karr, Senior Mortgage Lending Officer with Midwest BankCentre, shares with us her expert knowledge on mortgage loans, the pre-approval process, and how to achieve a smooth closing in our latest guest blog feature.
GM: Can you explain the dos and don’ts for customers when applying for a loan and also during the timeframe before closing?
Karen: Once we have taken an application for a client and looked at their credit history, current payments, and income, we can run the information through an automated underwriting system to calculate the ratios and get a pre-qualification letter. From the time an applicant applies for the loan, any new credit inquiries that have been done in the past 6 months need to have a letter of explanation to see if any new credit which does not show on the credit report has been obtained. New payments could change the ratios and the approval status if the ratios become too high due to any new additional monthly payments. Also at the closing on a home purchase, the borrower signs an affidavit which says they have not obtained any new credit since the credit report was pulled.
GM: Should buyers get pre-approved before looking at properties? Are there advantages of waiving the financing contingency for a home loan?
Karen: It is always a good idea for buyers to get pre-approved before looking at properties because it gives them a better idea of what they can qualify for and it also gives them a range to look in. Many times to spend that extra $10,000.00to $20,000.00, the buyer will see the difference in the monthly payment and they may be looking in a much lower price range than they can afford. The biggest advantage is to understand the difference it makes and let them decide what they are comfortable with on a payment. As an example, for every $10,000.00 a client finances on today’s 30 year rates of 4.00% it increases the payment $50.00 per month so if they spent an extra $20,000.00, it would only increase a monthly payment of $100.00. Also, once someone is pre-qualified, if they do not have a home to sell, or qualify for a mortgage without the sale of their current home, they can write a contract which is not contingent on financing. In the case they are in competition with other buyers, the seller will normally pick a non-contingent contract over one that has a financing contingency. Buyers should be very careful when writing a non-contingent contract and should only do so if they know they have an actual pre-approval from the lender which says their information has actually been verified and they qualify.
GM: What options do you offer first-time homebuyers?
Karen: There are many programs available for first time homebuyers such as low down payment loans, etc. and once we have a loan application and have pulled a credit report, we can suggest various programs that might fit their needs.
GM: How long can one lock in an interest rate?
Karen: The normal lock period without a fee for a loan is 60 days. You can lock in a fixed rate loan for a longer period and there will be a fee based on the amount of time needed. At Midwest BankCentre, we have a 6 month lock feature which is a free lock for our 5 and 10 year adjustable rate products. If fixed interest rates are attractive after that period of time, the client may switch to a fixed rate product. This gives the client rate protection and flexibility.
GM: What advice do you give customers to achieve a quick and smooth closing?
Karen: The best advice for a client to achieve a smooth closing is to understand the process and know what documentation they are expected to provide. The more quickly they can provide the documentation, the more quickly the loan will be able to be approved so there will not be surprises right before closing. Also, by providing documentation upfront, there may be some additional information the underwriter will need depending on the documentation which is reviewed, and letting the client know early in the process will avoid delays at closing.
GM: How should a client determine what mortgage is best for them?
Karen: The loan process should not just be about rate, but also what product is best for the client. Not everyone needs a fixed rate loan. If a client is only planning to stay in a home for a few years due to an expected job move down the road, or they are planning to expand their family in a few years, an adjustable rate product may work well for them and save them many dollars over a period of time. But it is also good to understand the risks with an adjustable rate product to avoid any possible payment increases. It is our job as a loan officer to provide information to a client so they can make an informed decision based on their personal needs.
Karen Karr, NMLS #719180
222 S. Central, Suite 300, Clayton, MO 63105
Cell Phone: 314-603-6787
Feb 6, 2017
by Stafford Manion
The site was previously expected to include several uses, including office, retail and multifamily. But now, according to multiple sources, the city appears close to advancing a plan that includes mostly multifamily.
An out-of-town developer is expected to receive approval on the plan, which would call for approximately 300 units with some retail on the ground floor.
Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger said the city is still working with developers who responded to a request for proposal for that site and that no decisions have been finalized. In May 2016, the Business Journal had reported four proposals were submitted for the property.
At least one proposal, from ElmTree Funds’ Jim Koman for a mixed-use project, was rejected. A hotel has also been rumored to be a potential fit for the site.
The property, owned by the city of Clayton, has a 2016 appraised value of $3.14 million.
Koman, through a business entity called 8027 Forsyth Acquisitions LLC, which lists ElmTree Funds’ General Counsel Stephen Schott as its registered agent, owns adjacent property to the parking lot that could eventually make up part of any development site.
8027 Forsyth Acquisitions, according to St. Louis County records, owns 8027 Forsyth, 8023 Forsyth and 8019 Forsyth. Combined, those properties have a 2016 appraised value of approximately $2 million.
Any new multifamily units on the site of the current parking lot would add to several new projects expected to be completed in that area over the next 12 to 18 months.
CA Ventures and White Oak Realty Partners, two Illinois developers, are nearing completion on a $75 million, 250-unit apartment tower at 212 S. Meramec Ave. Two other projects, a $41 million plan from Opus Development at 25 N. Central Ave. and Covington Realty Partners’ $55 million Vanguard apartment project, will add another 340 units combined.
The multifamily segment has been a darling among commercial real estate investors and brokers for the last couple of years, driven by more consumers renting by choice and attractive cap rates.
According to Matt Bukhshtaber, executive vice president of investment property sales at CBRE (NYSE: CBG), roughly $600 million in multifamily assets were sold in 2016, a record for St. Louis and up from $485 million in 2015.
According to Yardi Matrix research, which predicts the demand for multifamily assets (from investors and consumers looking to live in such developments) to remain strong for as long as a decade, St. Louis is expected to see some 1,800 new units be completed in 2017.
Bukhshtaber said he believes the St. Louis market could support another 1,500 apartment units before the market is saturated.
Jan 25, 2017
by Stafford Manion
Home inspections are a crucial part of the home buying and selling process. Generally, all purchase agreements are contingent upon a home’s inspection. These inspections - paid for by the buyer - include structural, termite, radon gas, and environmental and sewer lateral inspections.
The standard Missouri residential sales contract includes an extensive section about inspections. Within the time frame of the inspection period, typically 10 days, the buyer must provide a written statement to the seller specifying one of the following options:
Most often when a request is put in writing from a buyer and sent to the seller, another 10 day time clock is activated. Within this timeframe, the buyer and seller negotiate requests and must come to an agreement in writing or the contract is void. During this 10 day period, there are no requirements as to when a buyer and seller must respond to the other parties’ request, only that an agreement is consummated within this ten day period. Often during this time, buyers and sellers are getting bids for identified repairs.
Many buyers are faced with the question of whether to have a seller repair defects or to request a credit from the seller. If the buyer chooses to have the seller complete the repairs, he/she has the right to inspect and approve all repairs. All need to be completed by a professional and all paid receipts must be provided to the purchaser. Often, having the seller fix the inspection requests can be time consuming and problematic. By asking for a credit from the seller, the buyer can then select his/her own contractor, make upgrades, and move at his/her own pace!
Prior to sellers putting their home on the market, they usually fill out a ‘Seller’s Disclosure Statement’. This disclosure has the seller list the history and condition of the property. Sellers should be advised to be truthful and honest when filling out this statement. Defects identified in this document are less problematic than those identified during the inspection period. Identifying a defect on the Seller’s Disclosure does not prohibit the purchaser from requesting the defect be remedied once inspections are performed. Usually the orginial offer from the buyer is made taking the defects listed on the disclosure into consideration and repairs are not requested; however, the purchaser still has the right to request repairs if desired.
Sellers should be prepared for a second small negotiation during the inspection period. Almost all sales contracts have sellers fixing some requested repairs or offering a credit to the buyer to negotiate removal of this contingency. Often sellers try to sell their home “as is”, but rarely does this happen. After initial contract negotiations, the last thing a seller wants to hear is that they will have to give a little more in a week or so!
Requests on a building inspection when reviewed by a seller need to be categorized as reasonable or unreasonable. Sellers should take into account that by not negotiating with the buyer, they may be faced with the same request from a next purchaser later down the road.
Buyers and sellers would be well served to try and keep their focus on the big picture when involved with these inspection negotiations. An experienced and knowledgeable agent can help with this. Often during inspection negotiations, anxiety is elevated and nerves are frayed. Typically the amount of money being negotiated is a very small percentage of the purchase price and the contract should not fall through because of it.
If buyers and sellers are properly educated by their agents in achieving a reasonable resolution of the inspection contingency, a contract rarely fails!
Other Related Articles
Gladys Manion Real Estate was founded in 1936 by the late Gladys Manion. Now led by her grandson, Stafford H. Manion, the boutique agency located in Clayton celebrates over 80 years as being the leader in luxury residential real estate in the St. Louis market.
Dec 27, 2016
by Stafford Manion
GLADYS MANION REAL ESTATE WELCOMES NEW AGENT LAUREN BLANCHARD
Clayton, MO (December 21, 2016) – Gladys Manion, Inc. is proud to announce the newest member to its team, Lauren Blanchard.
Blanchard attended high school in St. Louis at Westminster, and after attending college out of state, returned to St. Louis in 2002, where she has built a life and career in real estate, and is happy to call St. Louis home. Blanchard’s strengths lie in her commitment, loyalty and determination in assisting her clients throughout the entire home buying and selling process.
Blanchard is constantly seeking continuing education and market knowledge, and focuses primarily on the Central Corridor and West County areas.
About Gladys Manion Real Estate
Gladys Manion Real Estate was founded in 1936 by the late Gladys Manion. Now led by her grandson, Stafford H. Manion, the boutique agency located in Clayton celebrates 80 years as the leader in luxury residential real estate in the St. Louis market.
Dec 19, 2016
by Stafford Manion
GM: Tell us the history behind Design Aire and your role at the company
Seth: Design Aire was started in 1904 when my great grandfather, Frank Fischer, began installing steam heating systems in South St. Louis. I started working at the company delivering duct systems for new construction during my high school and college summers. Currently, I am in charge of sales and marketing for our residential and replacement division.
GM: What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?
Seth: The main task performed for furnace maintenance is the inspection of the heat exchanger. If a heat exchanger is cracked, carbon monoxide or other harmful flue gases can enter your conditioned air. A licensed service technician should check your furnace every fall to make sure that your heat exchanger is operating safely. The technician will also clean your furnace and make sure it is operating efficiently.
The two primary functions of air conditioner maintenance are to clean the AC/condenser coil and check the refrigerant charge. Both a dirty coil and low refrigerant levels will negatively impact the efficiency of the system which will result in elevated electric bills.
GM: How often should an air filter be replaced?
Seth: The most important HVAC maintenance that almost every homeowner can perform is replacing the furnace filter. Most inexpensive filters should be changed every 30 days. Upgraded, pleated filters are designed to last 3-6 months.
GM: How important is air quality and what factors need to be considered?
Seth: The most important indoor air quality improvement that any St. Louis homeowner should consider is a whole-house humidifier. Both the reduced outdoor relative humidity and the process of heating your indoor air combine to lower the humidity levels in some home’s to uncomfortable levels. To protect your home’s woodwork, your family’s sinuses, and to eliminate those annoying electric shocks, I recommend every St. Louis home have a whole-house humidifier.
GM: What is two-stage heating?
Seth: Two-stage heating and air conditioning is a relatively recent advancement in the HVAC industry. The idea is that most systems are designed for the extreme temperature days. You want your home to be cool when it is 95 degrees outside, and warm when it is 5 degrees. Your home’s heating and air conditioning capacity should be sized to handle these days, but the vast majority of our temperatures are not that extreme. Often you don’t need the full capacity of your system to adequately condition your home. Two-stage furnaces and air conditioners are capable of operating primarily in a 50-70% capacity while still offering 100% capacity when necessary. Two-stage systems are both more efficient and more comfortable.
GM: Any current trends in the HVAC industry?
Seth: The main trend in the HVAC industry parallels a larger trend: home automation. Wi-Fi thermostats are the most requested system upgrade of the year, and they are just the beginning of automation in home air conditioning.
314.739.1600 | Seth@designaireinc.net
Dec 16, 2016
by Stafford Manion
2016 was a busy year for new proposals and developments in St. Louis. With so many diverse projects making headlines – both residential and commercial – we have collected some of the biggest announcements this year, and have listed them below.
Probably one of the most talked about developments hitting downtown Clayton, the Centene Clayton Campus is close to a billion-dollar project, adding more jobs and new residents to the area.
This $340-million project is hoping to make the Cortex-Midtown area an even better place to work and reside. The development is set to turn the abandoned foundry into a food hall and retail shopping area, as well as hoping to add office space and residential housing.
A 36-story residential tower is coming to the Central West End, which will be the second largest residential tower in St. Louis.
When SSM Health Care purchased SLU Medical Center, many thought that a complete hospital overhaul would take place, and recently a site plan for the new $550-million campus was released. The project is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2020.