Friday, June 27, 2008

New Listing in Arnold!

This beautiful brick ranch is nestled in an extremely quit and private cul-de-sac. As you approach the home you are welcomed by the expansive front lot.Once inside the gorgeous hardwood flooring will capture your attention and lead you through the living room to the spacious kitchen that boats brand new ceramic flooring and counter tops. Down the hallway leads to a cozy full bathroom with ceramic tile, and three spacious bedrooms.
Down to the basement with an enormous area perfect for the family room or rec room, a wet bar, additional refrigerator, and half bathroom. The basement walks out to the HUGE, beautiful yard that goes on forever and just happens to be the biggest lot in the subdivision. The deck is perfect for enjoying the summer nights, or perhaps you can take a dip in the brand new swimming pool. His and hers garages top it all off!

Six panel doors, newer roof, newer water heater add to the perfection. This is the one you've been waiting for!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Shaw Neighborhood Named One of the 50 Best Places to Buy in the U.S.

This Old House named the Shaw Neighborhood one of the top 50 places to buy in the United States. I love the Shaw area. The homes are beautiful, and Flora has to be one of the most gorgeous streets in the city.

You can check the article out here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Beautiful New Listing in South City

I just got finished entering this awesome house into the MLS:

This beautifully renovated and perfectly maintained home is nestled on a quiet south city block. As you approach the home you are welcomed by the covered porch to enjoy the evenings. Once inside the sparkling flooring will capture your attention and lead you through the living room & dining room, with beautiful paint, updated windows, & fantastic window treatments.

The kitchen located in the back of the home boasts newer cabinets, tile floors, & counters, with gorgeous stainless appliances. A sun room off the kichen is the perfect spot to unwind and gaze out into the beautifully landscaped yard.

Upstairs you will find three bedrooms, with fresh paint, sizable closets, hardwoods, & updated windows with treatments. The upper level bath is brand spanking new with granite flooring, and a spectacular vanity.

In the basement is an additional full bathroom, a perfect spot to finish for a home office or additional bedroom, & storage galore! This is the one you've been waiting for!

If you, are anyone you know, is looking for an awesome house with great space, and nothing to do, then send them my way! This house is being offered at the great price of $144,500 ! (Thanks to Jessica S. for pointing out I forgot to put the price in here :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rates Improve on Rumor of Fed Rate Hike...

It was a positive week for 30 year fixed rates with 3 consecutive days of rate improvement, as various talking heads voiced expectation of a Fed Rate increase in the near future. While the Fed meets next eek, and is widely expected to hold rates steady, an increase in the Fed Funds Rate could come later this summer.

Why is a Fed rate increase good for 30 year fixed rates? Remember that the Fed Rate and long term mortgages are not directly correlated. A Fed Rate increase would be viewed as anti-inflationary. Inflation is bad news for mortgage bonds and hence mortgage rates. So an action to prevent further inflation would be received as welcome news in the bond market, and we could see mortgage rates improve.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More of the Streetcar Fiasco

About a week and a half ago, I blogged about the Great American Streetcar scandal, that being Saint Louis ripped of all its streetcars and trolleys. To make matters worse, Saint Louis apparently had more miles of streetcar lines than any city in the WORLD, until Paris took that distinction in the 1940s.

At any rate, this should add some salt to the wounds:

Map of the former Streetcars of Saint Louis...that's A LOT of lines...what a shame.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dump the Pump Day is Tomorow

Metro will be handing out free day-long passes to ride Metrolink and Metro Buses, tomorrow, Thursday June 19th. Passes are available athe MetroRide stores, various bike shops, or by emailing your name and address to with the subject line "Dump the Pump."

I guess one way to get people to use the Metro system is to give passes away...right?

For more info, you can check out Metro's Dump the Pump Page.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Want to Get Away? Fantasy Real Estate: Chora

Cavo Tagoo is a unique luxury hotel near Chora of Mykonos, built into an impressive natural cliffside. With its luxurious barefoot chic aesthetic, its distinctive architecture, versatile services, and respect for traditional elements, Cavo Tagoo unfolds as an unparalleled experience to its guests.

The hotel features suites with private pools, a Spa Center, indoor heated pool, fitness center, stunning lounge and poolside bars, we excel at offering the complete island indulgence package. Relax, gaze across our breathtaking panoramic view and enjoy the jet-setting vibes of Mykonos. These are lasting memories in the making.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Documentary on Pruitt-Igoe to be made...

Pruitt-Igoe has always fascinated me. I wasn't alive during its hey-day, but learning the story of the concepts and issues surrounding it has always intrigued me. It was a housing project built in North City, and was an extreme failure for urban renewal. It had over two thousand units until the demolition, which was televised, in 1972.
It's been dead since 1972, but still remains a controversial topic, as explained from Wikipedia:

Controversy over the project remains, based mostly on racial and social-class perspectives. Similar projects were highly successful in other larger cities, but St. Louis has a unique character and political climate. This was elaborated upon in the Harvard University study on public housing in American cities, and in reports by actual residents. During the Nixon administration, Pruitt-Igoe was widely publicized as a failure of government involvement in urban renewal, and the destruction of the buildings was dramatized in the media to show the American public that government intervention in social problems only leads to waste, and to justify cutbacks on social and economic "equalization" programs. Wealthy St. Louisans had also objected strongly to the artificial racial integration, and the resulting decrease in property values.
Getting to the point of this post - a documentary is in the works. Do you know anything about Pruitt-Igoe? Or people who perhaps lived there? If so, Chad Freidrichs wants to hear from you:
Unicorn Stencil Documentary Films of Columbia, MO is preparing to produce a feature-length documentary film about the notorious public housing development Pruitt-Igoe.
When Pruitt-Igoe was built in St. Louis in 1954, it was hailed as a triumph of modern architecture and a prime example of post-WWII federalism’s ability to improve the lives of underserved citizens. When it was destroyed in the 1970’s, it represented the failure of American public housing and urban renewal. To this day, Pruitt-Igoe remains a controversial symbol of bureaucratic inefficiency, systemic racism and the struggle to solve the problem of poverty in America.

The Pruitt-Igoe Documentary will explore the social, economic, historic, cultural and architectural issues surrounding the conception, construction, expectations, degeneration and ultimate destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex. This is a pivotal story, not only for St. Louis’s history, but for the American urban experience. We seek to remove the layers of misconception and stereotype surrounding the development’s design, funding and tenant population. We are seeking:

-Former residents of Pruitt-Igoe who have interesting stories to tell about life in the developments.
-Anyone interested in contributing visual or audible artifacts (obviously photos and films are most beneficial) that would assist in the telling of the story of Pruitt-Igoe.

We will begin production in July. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Chad Freidrichs
Unicorn Stencil Documentary Films

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rumor Mill: The Cupcakery Expanding...

Rumor has it that The Cupcakery, in the Central West End, will be expanding into the former Girl Boutique location in Maryland Plaza.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rates Rise on Fear of Inflation

Mortgage rates experienced tremendous upward pressure this week as oil prices surged and various Fed members vocalized seemingly unanimous concern over inflation. Inflation is negative for mortgage bond prices, which ultimately impact the rates buyers will receive. While rates are at the highest levels seen since October 2007, we tend to get spoiled quickly. Current rates are still low historically, so buyers should not be discouraged from moving forward with the purchase of a new home. It is also important to note that current rates are exactly what they were just 8 months ago. The intervening 8 months saw a tremendous decrease in rates, as low as 5.375%, and it could happen again if oil prices start to retreat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ikea: Clever Advertising

Ikea is opening a new store in Brooklyn, and apparently they promote that by placing a portable showroom dressed to look like a big typical Ikea box in the middle of the city.

Very Cool!

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Restaurant Coming to the Grove

According to Post-Dispatch food critic and writer Joe Bonwich:

Phil Noe, longtime chef at the Blue Water Grill and recently of SqWires, will soon debut his own place, Mia Rosa, at 4501 Manchester Avenue in the Grove. The menu will be “rustic, coastal Italian” (read: lots of seafood) and the dining room will seat about 110 inside, with another 25 or so seats on a rear patio. Latest opening estimate: “Mid-July.”

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saint Louis Wins "All-America City" Award

From Fox Business

The St. Louis region, represented by a diverse contingent of 20 citizens and leaders, won the 2008 All-America City Award tonight, presented by the National Civic League in Tampa. St. Louis was the only "region" to make the finalist group from among the nominees, and is only metro region in the nation to be designated an All-America City. Now in its 59th year, the award is considered the 'Oscar' of community recognition for civic progress and improvement. It is the oldest and most prestigious civic recognition in the nation. This is the first time since 1956 that St. Louis has been recognized as an All American City. The region will celebrate the All-America City award at Saturday's grand opening of the McKinley Bridge Bikeway and Trestle at Branch Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The bikeway is the latest addition to The River Ring -- a unique, 600-mile web of 45 biking trails and greenways that will encircle and connect the St. Louis region. The River Ring played a key role in the region's winning nomination for the All-America City Award. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay noted, "It has been more than 50 years since St. Louis won this outstanding award. This is a strong acknowledgement by an objective source of the improvement in the quality of life in both the City of St. Louis and the entire region." "This is a great, great moment for the St. Louis region," said d*ck Fleming, president and chief executive officer of St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), which led the rigorous effort. "Being recognized as a region that is building a stronger community by tackling challenges through collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation underscores the theme of our region's branding effort, 'St. Louis: Perfectly Centered. Remarkably Connected.'" Over 100 communities submitted applications this year for the All-America City award presented by the Denver-based National Civic League. St. Louis was one of 16 communities named as finalists in March. Each finalist community sent a delegation to Tampa this week to perform a community presentation in a three-day award competition before a jury of national business, government, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders. The St. Louis region's nomination and presentation focused on the challenges of revitalizing the region's central city, the need for connecting the region through trails and parks that was holding the region back from competing with other metro areas in environmentally-friendly mobility, and the need to empower youth to succeed in the arts.

Nobody Asked Me, But...

I always wonder why we didn't just leave the streetcars and trolleys be, as they still have in San Francisco. It's no secret that mass transit in Saint Louis is absymal, and having streetcars still in place would be amazing. Hell, even if we converted the old cars to light rail. Don't even get me started on the Highway 40 construction and lack of Metrolink expansion coinciding. Wouldn't it make sense to put Metrolink tracks all the day down Highway 40 while they are tearing it up? Of course it does - which is why they aren't doing it.

Back to the topic - Saint Louis was once a city with streetcars everywhere.
I then read the following:

The Great American Streetcar Scandal was the sequence of events in which General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California and Phillips Petroleum formed the National City Lines (NCL) holding company, which acquired most streetcar systems throughout the United States, dismantled them, and replaced them with buses in the mid 20th century. It is alleged by historians that NCL's companies had an ulterior motive to forcibly gain mass use of the automobile among the U.S. population by buying up easy-to-use mass light rail transportation countrywide and dismantling it, leaving populations with little choice but to ride their buses. Convicted of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, GM was fined $5,000 and each executive was ordered to pay a fine of $1 for a conspiracy to force the streetcar systems to buy GM buses instead of other buses (but not for dismantling the streetcar systems, which were also being dismantled by non-NCL owned systems).

Between 1936 and 1950, National City Lines bought out more than 100 electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities, including Detroit, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Seattle and Los Angeles, and replaced them with GM buses. The scandal is rehashed in books like Fast Food Nation and the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit; testimony by Government Attorney Bradford Snell to a United States Senate inquiry in 1974 gave the scandal its current prevalence and weight in U.S. popular culture. The scandal also invokes the Interstate Highway System as an additional culprit, because the system began its initial construction in California after the large-scale dismantling of that state's trolley network.

At least I have an answer to my question that I constantly ask. Hopefully GM put some of that money into savings. If we only still had streetcars to get everywhere - gas prices would be a moot point huh?

Rumor Mill: American Apparel Slated for Saint Louis

American Apparel will apparently be opening a location in The Loop. While it's good to see that their choice for a location wasn't located in a mall, I would have liked to see them choose Downtown as the destination.

Speaking of Downtown, Bar Louie will apparently be opening a third Saint Louis location on the first floor of The Bogen Lofts, down on Washington. I think that would be an excellent spot for them, and while Bar Louie is a "chain," it doesn't necessarily have that chain feeling and will most likely excel downtown.

Going Green: Grenite Countertops

Great new material for countertops...and, it's Green! From their website:

Grenite™ is the brand name for a patented surface material developed by Greneker Solutions and RMD, Inc. Grenite is a ceramic/resin matrix that yields extraordinary resistance to surface wear and tear. It is the first surface material which is conceived with ecological soundness. Up to 85% of Grenite can be post industrial waste which we recycle back into productive service as we manufacture Grenite. After that, 100% of Grenite is recyclable, ready to be used again in the creation of new Grenite. As our upcoming programs mature, Grenite will gain complete Cradle to Cradle sustainability.

Grenite™ is manufactured via a cold-pour molded method or production. No VOC’s are released into atmosphere. No by-products, precipitates or residual wastes which need to be disposed of are created. The process occurs at room temperature; no additional energy is required to drive the manufacturing process. Finally, 100% of Grenite™ is recyclable, becoming the basis to build new Grenite. Our goal is to make Grenite not only “green”, but part of a new generation of products which conform to the Cradle to Cradle Design Protocol. By design, these material can exist in a perpetual closed loop, continually serving as both finished product and new raw material and never contributing to the pollution and land fill waste problems facing our society.

Inflation Concerns Pressure Rates Higher

It was a difficult week for mortgage rates. Concerns over inflation and the continued rise in oil prices helped create anincrease in rates for the week ending June 6. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a graduation speech delivered to recent Harvard grads, stated his concern for inflationary pressures caused in part by high oil prices. Most economists predict that the Fed may start to raise the benchmark Prime rate later this year to combat inflation. In a historic context, interest rates remain favorable for home purchases, and there are some amazing deals to be had.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Innovate + Real Estate: Creative Laundry

Introducing the ASKO Laundry Care range – the world’s most co-ordinated range of laundry appliances. Totally modular, with a selection of concealed door finishes, it can even be integrated with existing cabinetry. A range of storage solutions provides elegant possibilities for making the most of available space. And like all ASKO products, the range reflects our tradition of pure, minimalist and ergonomic design and our commitment to the environment.