Friday Live Chat

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live chat

It’s back, the Friday Live Chat. You know what to do – just use the comments section below. We’re open from 2-3pm today:

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  • Alex Ihnen

    Thanks for the questions! Shutting it down until next time.

  • John R

    Expect any big news out of Cortex soon?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes. But then again, I expect big news from Cortex for a few more years.

  • Last question– what’s up with that little boarded up building on Laclede (same block as Humphrey’s/Jimmy John’s near SLU)? Can’t believe it has survived Biondi’s demolition derby. Seems like a great candidate for rehab, but that’s gotta be a pipe dream, right?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Good question. There was a proposal for apartments there that came and went quietly this past year. Haven’t heard of other plans.

  • Frank Absher

    Alex: In your opinion as a non-political outsider, what needs to be changed at city hall to make it more desirable for businesses to move into St. Louis?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Processes and politics need to be more transparent. An investor/developer/resident shouldn’t have to guess what an Alderman will/won’t approve. It seems to me there are a lot of old fights and factions within city politics. All I can say is that people moving to St. Louis City don’t care about those.

  • John R

    (Whether or not the Loop Trolley is having an impact,) do you think Clayco’s recent announcement for a tower is just the beginning of East Loop infill?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Hopefully. The East Loop is a long stretch and will take years and years to fill in. There will be ups and downs for sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the only big building built for a few years.

  • Felipe Naranjo

    Have you thought of organizing something like a monthly Meetup to inform people about things occurring in the city and how they can get involved?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Would love to do it. May get something started soon (at least a happy hour/meet up thing). Stay tuned!

      • Felipe Naranjo

        Good to hear! Cheers!

  • Vince Chamov

    What do you think is the
    best neighborhood in the city to invest in in terms of risk/reward?

    • Alex Ihnen

      If you can find something others don’t want, FPSE/Shaw are smart bets, but they’re getting $. The great locations like Dogtown, Southwest Garden and McKinley Heights are interesting to me.

  • Vince Chamov

    Who owns the boarded up 4 family across from Urban Chestnut in the Grove and how has that not been rehabbed yet? Frustrates me every time I see it.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Guessing you’re talking about 4440 Manchester? According to city records it’s owned by Restoration St. Louis. They’re going a few big projects in the neighborhood currently. Hopefully this one is next.

      • Vince Chamov

        That’s the one. Good to hear.

  • Hannah

    Any chance of Mike Shannon’s downtown spot turning into new (taller) construction?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Sure. I don’t know the history of the building to be honest. Would seem a candidate for a tear down given the location?

  • Vince Chamov

    What are your top three preferred locations for an MLS stadium?

    • Alex Ihnen

      1. bookend of Gateway Mall
      2. adjacent to Union Station & new Jefferson interchange
      3. at western end of Chouteau Greenway (NE corner of Chouteau/Vandeventer)

      • Ben Harvey

        How would the Union Station location fare with the renovations already happening? Won’t there be a ferris wheel in the way?

        • Alex Ihnen

          I don’t think the images produced by SPACE (my employer BTW) will happen, but hopefully something creative with good urban design is possible.

  • jim

    There are two buildings on Shaw Ave – the former service station and the former Salemeh’s Market – in the Shaw neighborhood that are LRA owned and are being marketed by the Tower Grove CDC for development. Any rumors going around about those buildings? It seems to have been quiet, which is surprising given the development in Shaw and the surrounding area during the past few years.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think the process is playing out – there is interest in both, but it takes time to complete remediation plans, accept proposals, etc. Good things are coming.

      • jim

        I’ve heard Ted Kilgore rumors about the old service station…would be excited if this is true, though this is completely unsubstantiated at this time.

        • Alex Ihnen

          I think several people have shown interest and it will end up in good hands!

  • Is there any hope for the resurrection of the Spivey Building in downtown East St. Louis?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Not from me, but hope I’m wrong. I don’t know much/haven’t heard about any plans recently for downtown ESTL.

  • Jim Arsenault

    What are your thoughts on all of the blame ballpark village is getting for recent restaurant closures in an around St. Louis (including as far out as Mile 277 in Sunset Hills)? It seems to me that unique, well run places downtown are able to do just fine and this is overblown.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think you’re right. It would be hard to deny that BPV had a negative impact on Shannon’s and perhaps Harry’s. But these places do need to adapt. IMO – the more important issue is the subsidy given to chain restaurants. IF BPV would have added jobs and residents as promised, perhaps the impact would have been less. But in the end, good places will succeed.

      • Frank Absher

        My sense is that there are now two pretty good vacant locations for another restaurateur to try something.

    • jim

      While a few folks complain about Shannon’s or Harry’s, I’ll be gorging myself at Range, PI and soon, Porano.

  • What’s in store for the lot at the NW corner of Forest Park Pkwy and Vandeventer? (I have a laundry list of inquiries, but I won’t hog the forum.)

    • Alex Ihnen

      Good question. It will be a Cortex project – total guess is something like a Cortex I building, but could be a single tenant if one can be found.

      And you didn’t ask, but we’re hearing tenants are being signed for the Gerhart Building next door. They’re small spaces so it will be interesting to see what goes in.

  • John R

    Important question for a Friday…. do dogs belong in brew pubs?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes.

      • John R

        woof!

  • Any updates on the plans for a residential tower and Kingshighway & Lindell?

    • Alex P

      I won’t be okay with a single demolition in this city until that site is properly utilized.

      • Any specifics? Can we expect to hear something official soon?

        • Alex Ihnen

          I wouldn’t expect something soon, but there’s more coming in the CWE. Kingshighway/Lindell isn’t dead, but we haven’t heard anything new for a few months.

  • John R

    What do you think downtown stakeholders have to do to attract more area companies to either move HQ there or at least set up a decent presence?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Find a niche…downtown is far from the population center of the region, even Clayton is east of that point. Create a place people want to live, a place where retail can thrive. Two-way streets, integrated parking facilities (showing spots available, etc.), new lighting, etc. would be great.

      Downtown has already tried (is) cheaper than Clayton and other employment centers, that’s not working. And while tourism and sports is a lure for some people, it’s not great for daily commuters – office workers.

      • John R

        I don’t think we can give up that easily on office; downtown Detroit for example is even further away from the region’s population center than ours and has been snagging office leases left and right…. not necessarily hq relocations but from businesses seeing the value in having a presence there.

        • Alex Ihnen

          You may be right. I think downtown needs new Class A space as well. There aren’t a lot of options for a firm wanting something that shines.

          • John R

            Yup, If Centene is building more office with floors for lease, that makes me worry about losing another downtown tenant like we did Armstrong Teasdale when the first one went up.

            Maybe I’m wrong, but I just think we need one blue chip company to make a commitment and others will follow. It may not be a mass infusion, but hopefully enough to be a good piece of the puzzle for downtown.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Yes. What’s amazing to me is that Clayton can charge 2x what downtown is asking and still land tenants. It’s why I think downtown STL needs a new plan. You can’t build new if you have to build that cheap.

  • Ben Harvey

    What ever happened to the STL streetcar project that was bouncing around a couple years ago?I haven’t heard much recently and was wondering if anything has happened http://www.downtownstl.org/about-downtown-stl-inc/streetcar/

    • Alex Ihnen

      Nothing new. It’s an effort/organization without a home at the moment. City politics hasn’t lined up behind any particular transit effort at this point.

      • Ben Harvey

        Thanks! I’m seriously considering starting a small business in the city after graduation. In your opinion, what is going to be the next “it” neighborhood in St. Louis? I’ve been looking into some real estate lately

        • Alex Ihnen

          Boring answer…but the Central Corridor is where the growth is and where it will continue. That said, several neighborhoods are great places for a small business, especially depending on the biz, and I’d look at the East Loop, around Forest Park (Dogtown), down through Southwest Garden, around Tower Grove Park and on to Soulard, Cherokee Street, etc.

  • Jim Arsenault

    Hi Alex, thanks for these weekly chats. Do you have any information on the former streetcar power plant at 1711 Locust? Other than the damaged roof, are there other issues that keep developers away?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Hi Jim! 🙂 I know people have looked at it, but you have to have a willing buyer and seller. I think the seller would likely lose many on any sale. It’s a great building and would clearly be historic tax credit eligible. Even with the roof damage, it can be reused – believe it’s entirely open inside, as opposed to having floor after floor of damage.