Lynn Schenck, executive vice president in the St. Louis office of Jones Lang LaSalle, is taking the long view when it comes to her region’s commercial real estate market. She doesn’t expect a boom of activity in 2013. But she is looking forward to a busier two years after that
Midwest Real Estate News recently spoke with Schenck about the St. Louis market. Here is some of what she had to say.
Midwest Real Estate News: How would you characterize commercial activity in the St. Louis area today? Lynn Schenck: The market is definitely not getting worse. We’ve bottomed out. That doesn’t sound great, but it really is good news. Before things can get better, they have to stop getting worse. We’ve reached that point in St. Louis.
MWREN: What needs to happen in and around St. Louis for commercial activity to grow at a faster clip? Schenck: We need to see job creation. The demand for office space is dictated by job growth. Until we see more jobs created, we won’t see demand increase as much as we’d like in the office sector. That’s not just our market, of course. That’s in markets across the country.
MWREN: Are there any areas in and around St. Louis where you are seeing a greater amount of commercial real estate activity? Schenck: Clayton (an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis) continues to be our tightest market. Space can be difficult to find there. And downtown St. Louis is fairly active right now. Downtown has seen a lot of growth in technology-based companies and marketing firms. A lot of times, these types of businesses are attracted to the more unconventional office space that you’ll find in the downtown market. They like working from space that has a more creative feel to it. The Cupples 9 redevelopment is a pretty exciting project for downtown. That’s the redevelopment of a warehouse into a Class-A office building located near Busch Stadium. That building had been vacant for 20 years, and now it is fully leased.
MWREN: Any other areas in the region doing well? Schenck: Leasing activity in the Northwest County region of St. Louis is doing well, too. Leasing activity is on the rise. There are opportunities there for users to find large blocks of space because there is still a lot of vacancy there.
MWREN: It’s not easy to predict, but what do you think you’ll see in the near future when it comes to commercial real estate activity in St. Louis? Schenck: I think 2013 is going to be pretty much like 2012 was. I think it will be in 2014 and 2015 that we’ll see greater demand as the economy continues to improve.