What development trends are we seeing in St. Louis?
Mark Kornfeld: In retail, I think the biggest issue we’re seeing is how retailers are battling e-commerce. When you talk to the various retailers, they are equally as focused on the quality of their real estate as they are on their e-commerce. I think it’s no coincidence that the retailers you see growing in our market right now are the ones that are offering products that don’t compete with online sales. It’s folks like Starbucks, QuikTrip, Planet Fitness, and Mattress Direct that are expanding.
David Biales: I would say in the St. Louis office sector, we’re seeing much more user-driven development than we have in the past. You’ve got your build-to-suit developments, where the construction is customized for the lead user. Examples of that would be Bunge’s new facility on Highway 40 by The Opus Group. Express Scripts continues to grow at NorthPark, which is a Clayco development. And then you’ve also got your corporate-owned facilities. RGA, Centene, MiTek, World Wide Technology. I think we’re starting to see that larger companies are becoming more strategic about their real estate needs and how they grow. Outside of St. Louis, JLL has helped companies like Navistar, Zurich and Farmers Insurance construct new facilities to tailor their operations, culture and brand.
Garrick Hamilton: I always enjoy hearing what Mark, Dave and other members of the brokerage community and also what David on the legal side are seeing throughout the region. They get to see development by involvement with multiple clients, goals and businesses. Working in-house at one firm, I see things throughout the development process, but tend to be focused on delivering our projects for our investors, which can occasionally result in a limited view of the market, mainly tied to the submarkets in which we operate. From our perspective, the trends we’re seeing is a flight to quality of life across those sectors where we operate — residential, office and retail. It’s not enough just to develop a retail shopping center, a residential community or an office building. Projects have to tie into other aspects of the users’ lives and tailor to the manner in which its occupant are living their lives in an effort to improve the quality of those lives. Residential communities have to consider how its occupants shop, live and work, because they are likely doing all three at some point. The same is true for retail and office projects. They have to consider how the end-user is living and doing business.
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