By Roxana Baiceanu
St. Louis is attracting a growing number of investors as a result of its dynamic startup scene, which is giving the city a more modern vibe. An increase in employment within segments such as health care, financial services and information has pushed up demand for both office and multifamily properties.
More than 3,300 units were under construction in the third quarter of 2017, and several communities are undergoing repositioning. As a result of the downtown area becoming more accommodating for businesses—a rising trend within the country—investors are flocking to communities located in primary urban submarkets, boosting the St. Louis rental market.
Below is a list of the top 10 St. Louis apartment owners, based on data available on Yardi Matrix, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017.
The local company is known for its redevelopment of several historic properties in the St. Louis area, including the Railway Exchange Building at 611 Olive St. It also owns seven St. Louis communities with a total unit count of 1,579. The majority of them are market-rate, while some 300 units are fully affordable. Two communities that are part of Bruce Development’s portfolio exceed 400 units: Oak Forest, located in the Creve Coeur submarket, and Southfield in south Mehlville. The Oak Forest community was developed in two phases between 1983 and 1986, at 10900 Oak Forest Parkway Drive. Sansone Group manages the 440 one- and two-bedroom units, whose average rents hover around $700.
Devault Operations is another local developer based in Saint Charles, Mo. The company owns and manages a total of nine properties—all of them located in various suburbs within the St. Louis area—encompassing 1,618 market-rate units. The largest community, Brazilia, is located at 1194 Casa Brazilia Court in south Mehlville and comprises 328 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Completed in 1972, the property has been part of Devault’s portfolio for almost 14 years. Rents average $600.
When they first launched in 1984, JES Holdings was specialized in developing, building and managing fully affordable and senior housing communities. The company has since diversified its portfolio, which currently includes health care, market-rate and luxury properties as well. The company owns and manages 28 communities nationwide, with half of them being located in the St. Louis area. Of the 1,720 units, nearly 1,200 are fully affordable. The most recent addition to the portfolio is Hillmann Place, Phase I, which is slated to bring 98 market-rate units to 1000 Hillmann Place Circle, within the O’Fallon submarket, by the end of February.
Since 2000, the private investor has done more than $2 billion in acquisitions across the Midwest. In St. Louis, the company owns six lifestyle properties located in suburbs such as Creve Coeur, O’Fallon and St. Charles. The largest community is Waterfront Crossing at Creve Coeur, located at 807 Cross Creek Drive, which Somerset acquired in 2016 for $69.2 million. The property was completed in two phases in 1973 and 1980, and comprises 591 one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
The company has more than 25 years of experience managing communities across the central U.S., including several historic landmarks. Its portfolio comprises 12 properties, all of them located across the St. Louis metropolitan area. The majority of the 1,942 units are market rate. In the downtown area, Kohner owns and manages two properties, Drake Plaza and University Plaza. Built in 2000, Drake Plaza is one of the company’s most recently completed properties. It is located at 3307 Olive St., and offers 85 one- and two-bedroom units renting between $672 and $968.
GEM Property Management
Based in Sunset Hills, Mo., the company owns and operates a total of six large properties in St. Louis, totaling 1,970 market-rate units. The largest community is The Villages of General Grant, located at 7482 Hardscrapple Drive in the Affton submarket. It encompasses 550 studio, one- and two-bedroom units and several amenities such as a fitness center, playground, controlled access and two swimming pools.
Midwest Diversified Properties
A St. Louis local investor, Midwest Diversified Properties has more than half of its portfolio properties located in the city’s greater metro area. The nine communities comprise 3,176 units, which are largely market rate. The largest—and also the most luxurious —is Baxter Crossings, located at 975 Westmeade Drive in Chesterfiled, Mo. The community was completed in 1989, and encompasses 692 one- and two-bedroom units. Midwest bought the asset from Northwestern Mutual Real Estate Investors in 2009 for $42.6 million, nearly $10 million under what Northwestern paid for it back in 2003.
Monarch Investment and Management Group (MIMG)
The Colorado-based company has a national portfolio covering 20 states and encompassing 112 properties. In St. Louis, MIMG owns and operates 12 communities. Located at 500 Seven Trails Drive in Ballwin, Mo., The Retreat at Seven Trails is the largest community, offering 532 units and an array of amenities, including a waterscape, business center, fitness center, clubhouse, tennis court, basketball court, four swimming pools and a spa.
McCormack Baron Salazar
At 4,443 units, McCormack has the second-largest multifamily portfolio in St. Louis by unit count. The company owns and manages 21 properties across the metro, with more than one third of them being located in downtown St. Louis. The partially-affordable Preservation Square is the largest community within McCormack’s portfolio. Situated at 1405 N. 16th St., the community offers 675 units, renting for $645 on average.
The St. Louis-based investor has been developing and managing communities across the metro for more than 30 years. The 22 properties it owns in the area bring the unit count to 5,283, most of them being market-rate. Five high-end communities are located in Chesterfield and St. Peters. The most recent one, 40 West Luxury Living at 1330 Schoettler Road, is under construction. The largest community part of Mills Properties’ portfolio is Bennington Heights at 2037 Chablis Drive, which encompasses 1,047 units.
Images courtesy of Yardi Matrix