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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blairmont's Big Money: For Speculation or Development?

According to deeds of trust filed with the city Recorder of Deeds, the three active Blairmont companies -- Sheridan Place LC, MLK 3000 LLC and Dodier Investors LLC -- financed $1,102,800 worth of real estate purchases between January 16 and January 23. This total represents only eight transactions in Old North St. Louis, St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou.

Among the properties are the Ackermann Auto Repair building at 1514 N. 13th Street north of the Brecht Butcher Supply Company buildings, two small houses in the 3000 block of Montgomery Street, a string of vacant lots and one old tenement building in the 3000 block of Thomas Street, a house on the 2600 block of Howard Street and some vacant lots on 25th Street. Besides the Ackermann property, none of these seem to be worth the amounts of the deeds of trust -- at least on the current market.

To think that such money would be invested in pure landbanking seems folly. Why would these entities and their backers pay over one million dollars for a week's worth of purchases including vacant lots in JeffVanderLou and deteriorated flats? Where would the eventual payoff come?

The more likely scenario is that there is a firm master development plan for the near northside and that the people putting money into these acquisitions have confident that their plan will allow them a return, with profit. Selling these properties to other developers on a piecemeal basis seems to offer no real guarantee of a return. Likely, the properties in Old North and on major streets would be cherry-picked, leaving the other properties to be sold at less than the acquisition cost or retained.

While I know nothing of the motives behind Blairmont's owners, I do think that I am safe to assume that these people would not invest over one million dollars simply to buy property on speculation. Their effort is relentless, as the amount of transactions and capital flow they reported in the last week shows. The companies probably own nearly 500 properties to date, an impressive feat that suggests there is a more serious effort at work than just making money off of money.


Anonymous said...

And what do political leaders think?

The properties are in the 5th and 19th wards. Some people who should have a lot to say are April Ford-Griffin, Sal Martinez, Mike McMillan, Marlene Davis, Rodney Hubbard, Maida Coleman and others.

The properties are an incredible grip on the near northside. What happens here could change the character of this area and adjacent areas like downtown and midtown. Some people who should be talking are Barb Geisman, Mayor Slay, Rollin Stanley, Jim Shrewsbury, Lewis Reed, Rodney Crim and others.

Instead everyone is silent.

What...is landbanking boring or something?

Geez. St. Louis is letting a whole section of the city get bought up by a suburban developer, and no one is saying a word.

What a f-ing complacent political culture this city has.

Anonymous said...

Let alone individuals contacting Blairmont...has anyone forwarded these blogs/websites now documenting their properties? I would be interested in seeing or hearing a reaction from them on "others'" opinions of them. I doubt they care, but I would still be interested.

Anonymous said...

I see Shrewsbury and Reed partying at the Royale.

Since these two are mum, maybe Steve Smith would say something about Blairmont?

Or is everyone more interested in liquor licenses in the 20th?

Oh, hey, how about posing that question to Reed and Shrewsbury, right after a question about aldermanic courtesy!

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

"Some people who should have a lot to say are April Ford-Griffin, Sal Martinez, Mike McMillan, Marlene Davis, Rodney Hubbard, Maida Coleman and others."

Well, I ran into Mike McMillan last week and asked him if he'd heard of this whole Blairmont issue and what he thought about it. He told me that he thought he remembered perhaps being e-mailed a story about it, but that he hadn't read it because he had been in meetings all day, and that he was going to be just that busy for the next few weeks.

To be fair, I didn't ask him to make a statement to be published or anything and I wasn't thinking that hard about it at the time (it was a total surprise encounter), but anyway that is what he had to say when I asked about Blairmont.