Feb 24, 2017
Feb 24, 2017
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
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 22, 2017
Feb 15, 2017
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 13, 2017
Feb 7, 2017
Feb 6, 2017
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
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
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.