Midwest Real Estate News June 2012 : Page 1

midwest R E A L JUNE 2012 E S T A T E N E W S ® VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 THE DAKOTAS | ILLINOIS | INDIANA | IOWA | KANSAS | KENTUCKY | MICHIGAN | MINNESOTA | MISSOURI | NEBRASKA | OHIO | TENNESSEE | WISCONSIN WWW.REJOURNALS.COM DIRECTORIES: Asset/Property Management Firms • Top Project/Construction Management Firms • Auction Companies • Business & Industrial Parks PAGE 34 Ohio’s capital city remains steady during economic turmoil Stable market a relief to local commercial real estate professionals By Dan Rafter, Editor teady. Stable. That may sound boring. But Kevin James, senior vice president and principal with the Columbus, Ohio, office of Colliers International, says that no two words better describe Ohio’s capital city right now. And in times of economic turmoil, steady and stable are both pretty good. “We are a very conservative, steady market,” James said. “Having the state capital here always helps. We have Ohio State University here, too, which is, year after year, one of the largest universities in the country. We have prestigious research centers here. Big companies are headquartered here. The college graduates are constantly staying in Columbus and getting jobs here. That helps keep us stable.” Columbus isn’t unusual in this way. Many of the markets that Midwest Real Estate News covers can be called stable. Madison, Wis., for instance, features many of the same factors that benefit Columbus: It has its own Big 10 university and is also the state capital. It, too, benefits from the annual influx of smart, talented graduates who find jobs in the city. This steady nature may sound dull during boom times. After all, markets such as Columbus rarely enjoy the booms experienced by cities on the East and West coasts. When commercial property values are soaring on the coasts, they seem to plod along in much of the Midwest. But when the national economy sours? Steady beats the alternative. The biggest markets on the coasts have suffered some debilitating down times since the recession began. In the Midwest? Markets suffered during the recession and its aftermath. They are still suffering. But they didn’t fall quite as hard. And much of the credit to that goes to the conservative, steady nature of their commercial real estate markets. Call that boring if you’d like. But James — and the other commercial real estate pros doing business in Columbus — also call it smart. And it’s difficult to argue. Stable real estate markets look awfully good these days. “I think that the future looks good for Columbus,” James said. “I think we’ll continue to see very slow increases in activity. I don’t foresee any major setbacks for a while. I don’t foresee any large plots of vacant S Columbus’ Scioto Mile park is one of two new downtown parks that have helped boost the number of daily visitors to the city’s center. Recovering from a record-breaking commercial slump in St. Louis By Dan Rafter, Editor James Sansone has worked in the commercial real estate business for 25 years. And never has Sansone, principal of St. Louis-based Sansone Group, experienced a real estate slump like the one the industry suffered through following the national recession. The good news? Sansone is now seeing a slow but steady recovery in the commercial real estate industry, in both St. Louis and the nation. And Sansone is far from alone. Brokers doing business in this key Midwest city say that they are seeing increased commercial real estate activity in the first half of 2012. And while the recovery still has a long way to go before St. Louis reaches its pre-recession level of activity, Sansone and the other brokers doing business here are happy to see this market moving in the right direction. “I grew up in this business. I heard about the various crises that had occurred in the past,” Sansone said. “But in my professional life, this is the first time that I’ve experienced one of this magnitude. There is more work that needs to be done. But we are heading in the right direction.” A more confident business community David Steinbach, senior vice president in the St. Louis office of Jones Lang LaSalle, said that a more confident business community has been the main force behind the steady recovery that he is ST. LOUIS (continued on page 14) COLUMBUS (continued on page 12)

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