Insights from Experts: CRE Titans Panel – St. Louis


Joe Downs, Vice President, Real Estate Development
Years with Opus: 14
Project Credits: Clayton North Central Luxury Apartments, Central West End Luxury Apartments, District Flats, Park East Tower, Dardenne Town Square
Event Name: St. Louis Commercial Real Estate Summit, 2nd Annual Winter Classic
Host: Midwest Real Estate News

Key Points:

Q. What has changed from when you first started to today?
A. I’ve seen good times and tough times. New deals which are well conceived, quality buildings, with greater profit potential in tier 2 cities at this point in the market cycle. I’m seeing great locations and low competitive supply. Across the board it’s tougher to do 1st or 2nd deal in STL rather than 8 or 9th deal in Dallas but once you get over that hump you can recognize great profits here. Across the board: retail, market rate housing and multifamily are doing good. 

Q. Changes going on now?
A. Technology drives deals and is changing in product types. The speed of change is impressive. When I started, I didn’t even have a phone. Fast forward to now, we are planning for students to have six or seven electronic devices.

Q. Differences when you started with clients then, as opposed to now? Needs and expectations.
A. One benefit, the development cycle lags here in STL from tier 1 cities. We’re now seeing renter-by-choice lifestyle living with lots of experiences, that doesn’t value a luxurious unit. They’re OK with smaller units with awesome common spaces to hang out with friends.

Q. What would you have changed?
A. I had a wide variety of roles, which created a lot of opportunity. There is so much to know in the industry. The more you know about all the pieces, the better you will be.