WARNING: this post has very little to do with Real Estate, but everything to do with Living, Working and Playing in #DowntownSTL.
As a longtime supporter, representative and contributor to efforts being made Downtown St. Louis, I was taken back by the comments so loosely thrown around by one of DTSTL's prominent business owners & attorney's, Andy Crouppen of Brown and Crouppen. Just over one month ago, Mr. Crouppen made claims that "he was tired of hearing concerns from some of the firm’s almost 200 employees about safety downtown.“It is crime pushing us out — and nothing else,” Crouppen said in an interview late Tuesday." as reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Feb 1st, 2017. The firm’s concerns, first reported by KMOX (1120 AM), follow the killing on Friday of local rapper Lamarcus Turner, who appeared to have been targeted. Two other people were injured as gunmen fired into a group of people outside the downtown Hooter’s restaurant. -St. Louis Business Journal. The Full article can be read here: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/brown-and-crouppen-says-crime-in-downtown-st-louis-may/article_e41102e7-ba00-5166-9194-e57a61405ca5.html
While crime is an issue and certainly nothing to be ignored, I feel obligated to share some facts about crime and downtown St. Louis.
It feels a bit slanderous to cherry pick what crime you choose to feel concerned over. Downtown St. Louis' crime overall, has drastically dissipated since the 1990's. (A time which your office, located at: One Metropolitan Square, St. Louis, MO 63101, also occupied the building.) Additionally, violent crime is down -4.94% since this time last year. (specific to the area in which Brown and Crouppen offices). How do I know this information, why do I care and why am I saying something now, you may ask?
As I dined downtown yesterday, I look over my shoulder at some of the partners of Brown and Crouppen, sitting near me. My first feeling was anger. "Why are you here?" I thought..."weren't you afraid of the 4-block walk from your office?" Ironically, all I've noticed lately is an increased visibility of St. Louis PD on bicycles, foot and by car...specifically in the business & entertainment district.
Though I've worked downtown, and throughout the region for sometime, I recently CHOSE to open our flagship office Downtown
St. Louis. Why? Upward mobility and the pure excitement of what's happening downtown STL. Having the opportunity to leave our area, only to later return, gives the fortunate ability to see our city with fresh eyes and see the real opportunity to exists here... if only we'd stop cannibalizing ourselves. Having worked and/or lived in Atlanta, Nashville, Los Angeles, to name a few... I've witnessed the excitement of growth and rebirth found in areas that locals don't always see. Typically, because we don't always fully appreciate what is in front of us. What we project is who we are to the nation. It's time we glorify all that's great about our city and stop being the kid with a chip on our shoulder. I'm constantly surprised when I tell people where I've personally lived and that I was excited to return, they ask why?! I say WHY NOT????!!! How many other cities offer so much culture, architecture, job opportunities, family friendly environments, nature & a beautiful backdrop of our skyline (which includes and architectural wonder) at a cost of living that's well below the national average? There's never been a more exciting time to be DOWNTOWN St. Louis. All you have to do is open the St. Louis Business Journal once a week to learn of yet another new development or re-development downtown. Developments that are offering state of the art living & working opportunities, new restaurants & new attractions.
To Mr. Crouppen: If you wish to leave, please do so. However, it isn't necessary to leave and try to further tarnish downtown in the process. Every morning and every evening I make a point to notice my surroundings as I walk the block and half to my car, the 2 blocks to my gym, the many blocks to meetings, clients, restaurants & social events. All without much concern as I visibly notice the robust activity happening. The multitude of police patrolling the area and the sounds of construction, which signifies PROGRESS.
With the new-found excitement and rebirth of downtown, we certainly don't need the pessimistic and skewed version of facts, provided by your testimony, scaring off new potential businesses or residents to Downtown St. Louis. (BTW: #DTSTL was the fastest growing housing market in 2016. Source: wwwDowntownSTL.org) I look forward to helping your vacancy become occupied by a worthy and grateful stakeholder. It seems incredibly odd and hypocritical that the same company who took out an ad during the Superbowl to shame Kroenke over the Rams move, would be so bold to blast the very city they so publicly defended just over a year ago.
In your words: "They trashed us and left us. Just because it's legal and you're rich enough to do it, doesn't make it right."
Maybe it's never been about St. Louis to you... To some of us, it still is...and it's personal.