Category Archives: Insight

Increasing Investment Value - a Testimonial

Hal C. BallA successful client sent in this letter describing Hilliker Senior Vice President, Principal, and all-around great guy Hal Ball. It takes time and energy to send positive feedback, and we appreciate that Mr. Anderson did so!

I am writing to recommend the services of Hal Ball at Hilliker Corporation. While I grew up in Pacific MO, I moved away in the 1960’s. About the same time my father Ralph Anderson built post offices in Pacific and House Springs Missouri. When he passed in 1986 my brother and I inherited these properties and have owned them since.

Last year my brother’s health declined and we decided to sell the buildings. A local business friend who was also affiliated with the SIOR top commercial realtor network recommended we work with Hal. Once I spoke with Hal I knew I had the right guy. Polite and attentive Hal listened to our goals and promptly laid out a plan for success. Rather than a quick cheap sale, Hal worked with the USPS to extend the term of both leases. This increased the value of the properties and Hal was able to sell quickly thereafter to a qualified buyer for a great price.

Hal and Hilliker Corporation have our highest recommendations.

Ralph Anderson Jr.

Dave Spence sells pharma HQ for $12.2M

The North County headquarters of Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging has been sold for $12.2 million.

The buyer was New York-based Royal Oaks Realty Trust, which owns more than 3.6 million square feet of property across 13 states.

The sale, which closed Aug. 14, includes a 15-year leaseback agreement with Legacy, which services the branded, generic, wholesale and major retail pharmaceutical markets. Lease rates in North County average $4.30 per square foot, according to the most recent data from CBRE.

Hal C. BallBig Sky Properties Principal Dave Spence, a one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate who also serves as CEO of Legacy, was represented by Hal Ball of Hilliker Corp. in collaboration with Vince Vatterott and Jason Simon of Westwood Net Lease Advisors. Hilliker had represented Big Sky when it acquired the property in 2013 for $6.5 million.

The sale follows a multimillion-dollar investment from Legacy, which said it spent:

  • $6 million over the past two years adhering to new track and trace rules from U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Over $20 million on equipment and clean rooms since 2014
  • $1.5 million in property improvements since 2013
  • and $350,000 on a locker, bathroom and cafe remodel that wrapped in April.
  • Legacy, founded in 2004, produces over 800,000 units a day, company officials said.

Legacy Pharmaceutical operates in the 189,555-square-foot distribution facility at 13333 Lakefront Drive in unincorporated north St. Louis County. Similar properties nearby have sold for roughly the same price as Legacy’s over the past two years, according to real estate data firm Reonomy.

St. Louis Business Journal

Read the full article HERE.


Hilliker Corporation has served St. Louis since 1985, having brokered over 10,000 transactions. As the area’s largest locally-focused commercial real estate broker, we know our region intimately. From new construction to historic properties, we help our entrepreneurial clients become part of a great tradition.

If you’re ready to buy, sell, or lease commercial real estate in the St. Louis area, Hilliker Corporation is poised to help you find the property that suits your unique needs, plans, and dreams.

Schedule an appointment today.

Divest for Success — Here’s When to Sell Your Commercial Real Estate Investment

Scott E. MartinOver my thirty-three years in the commercial real estate business, I’ve helped hundreds make smart property investments. The market is complicated, but with an average rate of return of 10.6%, real estate consistently outperforms the S&P 500 Index (roughly 8%).

That’s good news!

Additionally, investors who partner with savvy advisors tend to make more money. Here at Hilliker, we’ve collected thousands of stories from clients who’ve made their lives—and the lives of others—better through a well-timed real estate deal.

But no property investment makes sense forever. No one wants to hold on too long, missing an opportunity to turn a profit. How do you know if the moment is right to move on?

If you keep your eyes open for these crucial decision points, you’ll be better positioned to make the most out of your investment.

Opportunity # 1 (Owner/Occupiers): You’re Ready to Sell Your Business.

In most cases, we recommend business owners prepare their building for sale at the same time they’re preparing their business for sale. In a business-plus-property package deal, the business owner often loses money on the property. Without competition, they’re unable to negotiate a price at full market value.

Additionally, renting to the property the people who now own your old business is usually not a good idea. Here’s why:

  • Perhaps the new owners will feel unhappy with an aspect of the company you sold them. Because of their unhappiness with the business deal, they could find ways to make your life difficult as their landlord.
  • If the new business owners don’t operate the business you used to own wisely, you may give them too much leeway as their landlord. You may hope to see them turn things around when another landlord would simply terminate their lease.
  • If you structure the lease as part of the sale of the business, you likely won’t get the market rate. Just like the sale of the property, the two should be separate transactions.
  • Because they are unsure if they’ll grow, they rarely sign a longer-term lease. This makes your property less attractive to a potential buyer.

Stay out of this sticky territory! Here’s what we suggest instead.

  1. Make sure a lawyer structures your holdings by filing your business and real estate under separate corporate entities.
  2. Have a qualified real estate broker (like Hilliker) properly value your property and qualify the new owner’s credit-worthiness.
  3. Have your broker negotiate a market-rate long-term lease with the new owners of your business. They’ll be sure to maintain the sort of capitalization rate (cap rate) that will appeal to an outside investor.

Following these steps will put you in a more advantageous position — and keep you out of muddy waters.

Opportunity #2 (Owner/Occupiers) – Your Building No Longer Reflects Your Business

Though it may have been perfect when you first moved in, there are some indicators that you’re in the wrong space for your business.

  1. You’ve outgrown it, but instead of trading up, you’ve decided to lease one or more auxiliary spaces. Though it may make sense in the short-term, it could also add unnecessary complexity as your business continues to grow.
  2. You’ve scaled down operations or staff, and part of your building now sits vacant. Unless bringing in a tenant makes sense, consider selling and purchasing something that better meets your needs.
  3. Your business model doesn’t require heavy foot traffic or visibility, but your neighborhood suddenly turns into a hot retail district. You may be able to make a profit by selling and moving to an area more suited to your business.

 Opportunity #3 (Investors) – You’re at 100% Occupancy

Your broker should make it his or her job to pursue high-quality, credit-worthy tenants for your space. If that person is competent, your tenants will sign win-win leases that make you money and make them want to stay.

Once your building is leased-up, you could sit back and enjoy the moment. But it’s also the moment your property is most attractive to investors and a great time to make money and roll it into an even more lucrative—or “value-add”—investment.

Opportunity #4 – Your Neighborhood’s Economy Is Changing

Economic upturns and downturns signal opportunities to sell, but investors want to find the perfect moment to maximize their profit. Though there is no real-estate crystal ball, there are a few indicators to help you decide.

  • How are traffic patterns? If the road system has changed or there are fewer cars in your neighborhood, your property value may be changing as well. 
  • Is the center of town moving? If there is a new development a few blocks away, threatening to pull traffic from your location, you may want to sell. Property owners with retail tenants should take notice. 
  • Is a significant portion of your building vacant? Though not ideal, this could work in your favor. Businesses in a position to buy may want to move into the empty space and have the added benefit of income from tenants. 
  • Are there substantial investments near you? If you see new developments or rehab projects in your neighborhood, it’s a good sign. If you don’t want to put money into “keeping up,” now may be a good time to sell.

Opportunity #5 (Manager/Owners) – You’re Ready for Retirement

Those who actively manage the buildings they own — apartment buildings and retail strip centers in particular — have more than a full-time job. Between dealing with contractors, collecting rent, making repairs, and keeping space leased, you may be ready for something more manageable.

In that case, you can pass the management to a third-party, or it might be a great time to sell to another investor. Your next investment can be higher-yield and lower maintenance (keep reading for more!).

 Opportunity #6 – Roll Your Profits into a Triple-Net Investment!

When you sell your building, we can help you reinvest in a low-stress triple-net (NNN) investment property. Through our partners at Westwood Net Lease Advisors, you’ll be able to set up a 1031 Exchange, a tax shelter that allows you to defer paying capital gains taxes on your sale.

Then, we can help you find NNN property. NNNs are the easy-button of real estate investments for a couple of reasons.

First, you own the property, but the tenants are 100% responsible for its upkeep.

Second, NNN tenants are often locations of extremely credit-worthy companies. Our clients own NNN properties that house Dollar General, Walgreens, and Buffalo Wild Wings, to name a few.

Is it time to sell your commercial real estate investment?

Though there is no “perfect time,” we at Hilliker Corporation want to be part of your success story. We’re advisors who can help you weigh your options, giving you the tools and information to make quality decisions for you and your future.

We’re poised to help investors and entrepreneurs like you. Give us a call today.

How Hilliker Thrives in the Cutthroat Commercial Real Estate World

The independent, Brentwood-based firm credits a hyperlocal approach with national connections for its success in face of its heavy-hitter competitors.

Ben M. HillikerWhen Ben Hilliker started his real estate firm more than 30 years ago, he could count his competitors on one hand.

Today, Hilliker Corp. is among more than two dozen commercial real estate firms, including corporate heavyweights such as CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield and JLL, in the St. Louis metropolitan area vying for listings.

“We haven’t tried to stand out. We’ve simply done what we feel is best for our clients, and in turn, for us,” Hilliker said.

Hilliker, founder and CEO, leads the firm along with President H. Meade Summers III, Senior Vice President and Principal Hal Ball, Vice President and Principal Scott Martin and Vice President and Principal Will Aschinger.

Brentwood-based Hilliker Corp. is not known for multimillion-dollar, blockbuster deals. Though it sells up to 20 properties a month, its deals often stay below the $10 million mark.

But that’s where Hilliker has found a niche that’s kept it successful despite corporate-owned competitors.

Key to its strategy, Hilliker said, is putting the agents’ success before the company, staying out of investment and development to avoid any conflict with clients, and guiding clients through every step, including tasks like rezoning. Hilliker’s agents average more than 15 years of experience in real estate.

In addition, market expansion has been an area of focus. The company has broadened its footprint from doing deals mostly in the city to now reaching into the corners of Jefferson and Franklin counties.

In the past five years, the firm has added five brokers and moved to a bigger office at the Magna Place building on Brentwood Boulevard in 2013.

And in 2011, it hit a milestone with its acquisition of Westwood Net Lease Advisors, which specializes in 1031 tax-exchanges and caters to buyers seeking triple net leases, where tenants are responsible for the property’s expenses.

The deal helped diversify Hilliker. Most of Westwood’s clients are local individual investors, typically in their 60s. Westwood connects its buyer-clients to properties with “recession-proof” tenants such as dialysis centers, dollar stores, fast food and fast-casual restaurants, daycares and even car washes, said Westwood President Chris Schellin.

In 2017, vice presidents Vince Vatterott and Jason Simon closed on a $92.6 million deal for its client to acquire the Dow Chemical headquarters building in Midland, Michigan, marking Westwood’s largest deal ever.

Hilliker often will sell a property for a client who will then use Westwood to reinvest those proceeds into another property.

“We’re giving sellers an avenue to the national marketplace, (and) we’re bringing national players to the St. Louis market,” Schellin said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Several years ago, Hilliker Corp. tapped Westwood to help with long-term client Dave Spence. No longer a majority owner of parent company Alpha Packaging — one of St. Louis’ biggest privately held companies — Spence wanted to sell Alpha Plastics Co.’s facility in Overland.

Together with Vatterott, Hilliker Corp. renegotiated a lease with Alpha to make the property more attractive, and in early 2015 New York City-based Gramercy Property Trust closed on its acquisition of the facility for $10.6 million, according to St. Louis County records.

“We couldn’t have orchestrated that better. And we’ve found more and more situations like that (because of Westwood),” Hilliker Corp.’s Hal Ball said. “We’ve found this in-between zone that’s been exciting for all of us.”

Read the Full Article HereSt. Louis Business Journal


Hilliker Corporation has served St. Louis since 1985, having brokered over 10,000 transactions. As the area’s largest locally-focused commercial real estate broker, we know our region intimately. From new construction to historic properties, we help our entrepreneurial clients become part of a great tradition.

If you’re ready to buy, sell, or lease commercial real estate in the St. Louis area, Hilliker Corporation is poised to help you find the property that suits your unique needs, plans, and dreams.

Schedule an appointment today.

Impact Agape Ministries Finds Church Building Home

The Need for a Church Building in St. Louis

Pastor Kenneth “Coach Kenny” Haynes has been in pastoral ministry for over 25 years. Two years ago, he founded Impact Agape Ministries, an independent, ethnically-diverse congregation, motivated by practical Biblical teaching mixed with concrete action.

Haynes teaches people how to have a successful life on earth while reaching out to their neighbors. He says, “As a not-for-profit, we don’t pay taxes. That makes it our job to put resources back into the community.

And that’s precisely what Impact Agape Ministries has been doing for the past two years of its existence. Haynes and congregants spend time in their neighborhoods asking people what sort of help they need, then finding ways to serve.

In the future, they hope to offer classes on money management, marriage, and parenting. They have plans to provide training for young people after school, as well as creating a place of connection for seniors during the day.

Impact Agape Ministries just needed a home base from which to operate.

Looking for a Community to Serve

As a new church, finding places to meet wasn’t always easy. As the congregation grew, Haynes felt uncomfortable meeting in a variety of buildings. However, as a community-focused ministry, they needed to find a place to put down roots.

Fiscally conservative, Haynes was careful to build up the church’s financial reserves from the beginning. But even with a substantial bank account, all churches under five years old are considered a credit risk by most financial institutions.

About a year ago, when Haynes found a building to lease, he convinced the owners of his credit-worthiness by paying six months’ rent upfront. However, Haynes wanted the church to own a space they could settle into, modify, and perfect for their purposes.

It was time for Haynes to find a permanent home for Impact Agape Ministries and their congregation.

Haynes’s wife, Sandy Haynes, is a real estate broker for Old Orchard Realty. Together, they began looking for a place that would support their vision for the future. They looked at several buildings—some churches, some not. Some were too far from the neighbors they hoped to serve. Some were out of reach financially. Others didn’t have enough space for the planned-for outreach programs.

One day, while browsing online listings, the Haynes’s saw a former Catholic church in The Spanish Lake area. The Archdiocese of St. Louis had listed it with Hall Ball and Peter Newton of Hilliker Corporation along with Linda Jones of Linda M. Walsh Real Estate.

Hal C. BallPeter Newton

The price and location were in line with their concept for the ministry. They called Ball to learn more.

A Corridor of Community Institutions

The congregation of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Spanish Lake had consolidated to another church in 2017. But even though they were absent for more than a year, the building they had inhabited remained beautifully maintained.

At 10,000 square feet and sitting on 7.5 acres, it’s surrounded by other community institutions: Christ Light of Nation Elementary School, Twillman Elementary, and Trinity Catholic High School.

The building does not have a basement, so there was limited room in the building for their classrooms. However, they thought they could remodel the on-campus rectory for that purpose.

Ball and Newton worked hard to negotiate a mutually appropriate price. Impact Agape just needed to find financing, though doing so for a new ministry is difficult.

Most lenders asked for 25% down simply because Impact Agape wasn’t yet five years old. Though the church had a rock-solid bank account, that down payment was more than they had available.

Eventually, they found a financial partner with the help of Sharon Gladney, owner and operator of Midwestern Development Group, LLC. Gladney, a congregation member, was able to attain pre-approval for the finances needed. The lender was impressed by the church’s consistent membership and financial records.

The UCC was impressed by the church’s consistent membership and financial record. To build up the down payment, the congregation stopped paying rent by moving to The Twillman House Community Center. The congregation continued to give generously to cover the remainder of the down payment.

A Fresh Start for Impact Agape Ministries

Impact Agape Ministries was able to move into the new building on closing day.

The building will require some work to get it perfect for the future. But with a congregation happy to serve their new neighborhood together, everyone is ready to help the church succeed.

St. Louis Institutions—are you looking for a new home?

Hilliker Corporation is in the business of making St. Louis a kind and compassionate place, partnering with:

  • Congregations across all creeds.
  • Schools
  • Residential care facilities.

Whatever your current situation, Hilliker brokers want to work with you. We want to help you cut across red tape. In the end, we hope to negotiate a deal that makes sense for you, those you serve, and the donors who believe in what you’re doing.

If you’re ready to buy or lease a new church building—or an institutional building of any kind—set up an appointment with one of our brokers today.

Wayne Contracting Consolidates Remote Workforce by Purchasing Westport Office and Warehouse

Brad Burns was working for a general contractor in the St. Louis area when he caught the entrepreneurial bug. He believed he could build a multi-faceted business by curating a strong base of project managers, office staff, and contractors.

He began his first venture, Wayne Contracting, in 2014. They serve national retail chains and vendors by:

  • Installing retail fixtures.
  • Building out new branch locations.
  • Remodeling existing branch locations.
  • Setting up industry-specific equipment.
  • Overseeing construction for store closings and relocations.
  • Much more.

Their clients include Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Panera, Ralph Lauren, and Bank of America. They do their work throughout the US and Canada.

As Wayne Contracting has grown, Burns has leveraged his team’s skillset to spin off other businesses:

Attributing the company’s success to a combination of great timing and determination, Burns was able to get all four companies off the ground with more than 100 employees working remotely.

It was the perfect strategy, but he knew it wouldn’t work forever.

Office and Warehouse Space Along the I-270 Corridor

By 2017, Burns began his search for office and warehouse space. He knew it was time to act for several reasons.

First, the team’s collection of tools and materials were spread out across a rented storage facility, various trucks, and employees’ garages. If the business kept expanding at its current rate, they would grow beyond their capacity quickly.

Second, his project managers and office staff could accomplish more if they were in one place. The team was hungry for consistent face-to-face communication.

Finally, Burns and his wife have five children, ages seven and under. His home office situation was becoming untenable, joking, “Little kids don’t respect boundaries when you say, ‘I’ve got to work now.’”

The Wayne Contracting staff estimated they needed 10,000 square feet of combined office and warehouse. Additionally, he wanted to limit his search to the I-270 corridor—an easy commute for all team members. He was looking to buy, not lease, believing it was the right decision for the future stability of the company.

A. William AschingerInitially, two separate brokerages were unsuccessful in helping him find a space. During that time, he learned his aunt and uncle’s restaurant business had found success with Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation. Burns had met Aschinger years before and had been impressed by his knowledge, experience, and creativity.

Growing an Entrepreneur’s Portfolio

Burns and Aschinger started searching together. Aschinger only sent opportunities he thought were worth the busy entrepreneur’s time.

Burns said of Aschinger, “He’s a good guy and easy to deal with. Some brokers want to jam stuff down your throat, but not Will. He got in tune with what I was looking for relatively quickly.”

Unfortunately, in this extraordinarily tight market, few properties were available inside the parameters they had set. After searching for a total of two years, however, Burns felt like his business and family were both growing too quickly for him delay any longer. While scrolling through properties on the Hilliker website, something caught his attention.

32 Progress Parkway is a nearly 7,000 square foot warehouse and office building in the Westport area of Maryland Heights.

Patrick McKay of Hilliker Corporation represented the owner.

Though it was smaller than he initially hoped for, the Westport area was perfect. It’s an easy commute for Burns and his employees and a smart investment for the future.

Burns will continue to lease a remote parking facility for company vehicles, but everything else will fit comfortably inside the new location. They were able to purchase the property in July 2019 for $605,000.

Remodeling the space themselves, they estimate a move-in date mid-August, 2019.

Moving from Remote Employees to Real Estate Investment

Thanks to technological advancements, remote workers allow entrepreneurs to grow without leasing or buying a “central office.”

But “spread-out” can become “spread thin” very quickly. In many cases, face-to-face collaboration and consolidation can be the only efficient way forward.

If your business is ready to make the leap from remote office to central location, Hilliker Corporation’s brokers are experienced, creative, and determined. We look within the current market to find ways to help you grow and thrive well into the future.

If you’re ready to consolidate your efforts into your first commercial office or warehouse space, we’re here to help. Give us a call today.

Ambulance District Buys Raw Land in St. Charles County

The Need for Raw Land in St. Charles, MO

St. Charles County is an exciting place to be. Its growth over the past three decades leads to some compelling numbers.

In 1990, the county’s 592 square miles only supported 213,000 residents. In 2019, the numbers are closer to 400,000. Though this has slowed, St. Charles County has still seen a consistent 1% to 1.5% growth rate every year since 2010.

Of the services that have had to grow along with the county, the St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) is among the most critical.

Though ambulances serve residents with non-emergency transport (as well as health and safety programs), they respond to life and death situations daily.

The department responded to 41,685 calls in 2018, a number projected to increase to more than 44,000 calls in 2019.

SCCAD maintains 16 permanent base stations across the county for emergency response. But to keep up with the county’s growth, it has had to spread administration, vital IT functions, training, and vehicle maintenance over five locations and three municipalities.

The lack of a central office for all of these non-emergency functions had become a strain on the district’s resources.

They needed to consolidate their efforts. They needed to invest in a purpose-built building on raw land in St. Charles County.

Help for the Helpers

Thanks to the resident-approved general obligation bond called Proposition Ambulance, SCCAD has $70 million to invest in improvements. They planned to use a significant portion of that budget for a new consolidated campus facility.

Hoping to stay near the I-70 corridor, they wanted to find land inside their budget that would allow them to build a facility large enough to grow with the district over many years.

Represented by Bob Cissell and Chris Shea of Cissell Mueller, they found several possible candidates. However, the farmland near Mid Rivers Mall Drive and the newly completed Salt River Road was the most promising.

A Unique Hobby and a Private Airfield

Owned by seven siblings known as the Sunshine Group, the land at Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Salt River Road was initially purchased by Jim Sontheimer, Sr., in 1978.

Sontheimer was a private plane enthusiast. He bought the nearly 100 acres of farmland north of I-70 so he could build a house for his family with a runway in the backyard.

Six of Sontheimer’s seven children later built homes of their own on the land, but he leased the rest out to farmers. After Sontheimer’s death in 1992, the family listed the property with Ben Hilliker, founder of Hilliker Corporation but, recognizing the level of demand, chose not to market it aggressively.

However, the completion of Salt River Road in 2016 meant an increase in traffic and development. The Sunshine Group decided it was time to make a concerted effort to sell the land. Mr. Hilliker enlisted brokers Will Meehan and Chris Taff to find a match for as much of the property as possible.

The Sunshine Group (represented by Meehan and Taff) sold 31.2 acres to the St. Charles County Ambulance District for $2,718,144.

 Sixty-seven acres are still available.

Progress for St. Charles County Residents

SCCAD’s budget for the entire project, including both building and land, is $35 million. The district is partnering with the architects at Arch Images along with project management from Navigate Building Solutions.

They’re hoping to break ground in November of 2019.

Looking for Raw Land in the St. Louis Area?

At Hilliker, we help organizations of all kinds find the right real estate for their needs. We dream with you, create a plan, and set out to match your unique set of parameters with properties for lease or sale throughout the St. Louis area.

Whether you need an existing building or are ready to build your own, count on Hilliker to help set you up for real estate success.

Call us today.

Roofing Services and Solutions Leases Commercial Warehouse and Office

124 Years of Excellence

Joe Lauberth, president of Roofing Services and Solutions (a division of Tecta America), has a packed schedule, and he’s happy about it.

Roofing Services and Solutions, or RSS, is an elite multi-state commercial roofer. They’re in the midst of “roofing season,” so every minute is spoken for.

With clients like Boeing, Monsanto, Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University, and Sigma-Aldrich, they provide top-tier service to some of the region’s largest organizations.

As a first-call contractor for the Department of Energy, they completed a recent project in New Mexico. They’re also in the planning stages for an upcoming assignment at the Idaho National Lab.

Lauberth says, “We’re known for our professionalism. It’s who we are.”

Started in 1895 by Christian Young, the St. Louis company expanded considerably under the leadership of his son, William.

Eventually, RSS became part of a diversified portfolio of related businesses. But the profitability of the roofing division attracted Tecta America in 2018.

Tecta America is a commercial roofer with over 70 locations and 3000 carpenters throughout the US and Canada. They saw that Lauberth managed it expertly and profitably, deciding to purchase it as a subsidiary.

Tecta’s acquisitions team told Lauberth, “This is the easiest due-diligence transition we’ve seen. We’re not coming in to fix anything.”

St. Louis City Industrial Warehouse Space

Joining with Tecta meant RSS would be separating from a holding company that had several other divisions. It needed its own space to operate effectively. Plus, it was growing—four new employees already, with more to come.

Together with Regan Trittler of Mohr Partners, Lauberth set out to find a long-term lease that would allow them to grow.

RSS had three specific needs:

  1. Approximately 9000 square feet of office space.
  2. A warehouse big enough to contain both their construction materials and a truck crane.
  3. Outdoor storage for trucks, roof kettles, and tear-off carts.

Additionally, Lauberth wanted to keep a similar commute for employees. RSS headquarters have been at Vandeventer and Chouteau near the Grove neighborhood for over fifty years. The location was perfect for employees traveling from as far west as Troy and as far east as Belleville.

After three months of looking, it seemed as if nothing on the market would fulfill all three criteria. They expanded their search to Overland and Westport, but still found nothing suitable.

Fortunately, Trittler’s colleague, Meade Summers of Hilliker Corporation, let him know about a unique South City property. Lauberth and Trittler were optimistic.

Room to Grow

In 1994, Summers joined two of his long-term real estate clients to form Conway Partners. Together, they purchased an office and warehouse investment at 3810 Paule Ave in South St. Louis City.

Built by Georgia Pacific, the structure is an 80,000 square-foot masonry building. It sits on 10 acres of land, much of it fenced-in.

A long-term manufacturing tenant was getting ready to vacate 9000 square feet of office space and 45,000 square feet of warehouse.

Lauberth said, “It had a nice office area, a lot of warehouse — more than we really need right away — and then really attractive outdoor storage as well. It was convenient to the highway and had all the components we were having a really difficult time finding.”

On Lauberth’s recommendation, Tecta America signed a ten-year lease with Conway Partners for 54,000 square feet of office and warehouse space at 3810 Paule Ave.

Positioned for the Future

About Summers, Lauberth said, “Meade and the Hilliker team were great throughout the process.” Speaking of Summers and Conway Partners, he said, “Meade knew we needed certain things, and they were very accommodating.”

As of the publication of this article, RSS and Conway Partners have nearly finished customizing the leased space. They’ve updated the office area, installed new carpet, painted the walls, and added additional fencing.

They also modified a warehouse door so RSS can park its crane truck inside.

Planning to move to the new space the week of August 19, the building gives RSS a chance to grow into their new partnership with Tecta. Lauberth says, “This is a place we can stay for a long time.”

St. Louis’s Industrial Real Estate Experts

If your business is experiencing rapid growth, are you putting off finding a space more suited to your needs? Are you concerned you don’t have time right now for “one more thing?”

That’s why so many St. Louis organizations choose Hilliker Corporation. As the entrepreneur’s choice, we know the market intimately. We come alongside you, professionals and consultants who help you save time and make the right choice.

Find out why so many St. Louisans trust Hilliker Corporation with their search. Call us today.

Screaming Eagle Purchases Historic St. Louis Property for Development

Making an Investment in St. Louis City

Matt Masiel, one of St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” is invested in the success of downtown St. Louis.

A native of Perryville, MO, Masiel attended Vanderbilt University and received his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering. After graduation, he entered the US Army, serving as an engineer in the 101st Airborne Division—The Screaming Eagles—and was deployed during the Iraq war from 2003 to 2004.

Discharged with honors from the army, Masiel and his wife made St. Louis their home. He obtained his MBA from Washington University, then went to work for US Bank and Stonehenge Capital. Through his work in the financial industry, he developed a specialty helping clients put together financing inclusive of Historic Tax Credits as well as real estate tax abatements.

Seeing his clients succeed, he became fascinated by the process. Masiel believed that, with a little education, he could leverage his background in banking to structure similar deals for himself. Then, with his experience as an engineer, learn how to oversee property rehab.

H. Meade Summers, IIIWith the support of H. Meade Summers, president of Hilliker Corporation, he worked to receive his real estate license.  In June of 2016, he began Screaming Eagle Development.

Screaming Eagle has been looking to rehab historic buildings into multi-family apartments. After working on a deal in early 2018 with Summers, Masiel found himself scrolling through other properties Summers had listed on the Hilliker website.

One caught his attention. It had an exciting history, and he thought it would be a perfect match with his vision for St. Louis real estate.

Historic St. Louis Real Estate Investment Property

In 1884, Washington University purchased a parcel of land at Locust and 19th Streets from the Unitarian pastor William Greenleaf Eliot for $1.

Soon after, the University built a one-story brick school on the site. When later making plans to unify its campus, Wash U demolished the school building. The board then commissioned architect Preston J. Bradshaw to design a new mercantile building as an investment.

Bradshaw had already designed a small-scale building near the site on Locust, which was quickly becoming known as “Automobile Row,” and would go on to develop The Coronado Hotel, another St. Louis landmark.

The building at 1815 Locust Street was purchased by George Weber, Sr., of The Weber Implement and Automobile Company, which sold farm implements, buggies, wagons, and a variety of early automobiles—most notably the short-lived Hupmobile.

George Weber’s company became the St. Louis area’s preeminent Chevrolet dealership. They eventually sold the building in 1993 to tire wholesaler Tire Mart, but  the building at 1815 Locust earned a spot on the National Registry of Historic places as “The Weber Implement and Automobile Company Building.”

Historic Tax Credit, Property Renovation, and an Innovative Plan

When Masiel and his team toured the building at 1815 Locust, they saw a historic property that had been well maintained by its owners, Tire Mart. Though he knew it would likely have lead paint and asbestos issues, Masiel and his staff knew they could handle the abatement along with any other age-related problems.

Screaming Eagle Development put a contract on the building in early 2018, acquiring it with a loan from Midwest Regional Bank.

Screaming Eagle will be using government-based financing program HUD 221(d)(4), which allows investors to take out a low-cost fixed-rate loan to convert spaces for moderately-priced multi-family rentals. The project is also eligible for Historic Tax Credits.

 Screaming Eagle Development purchased 116,000 square feet at 1801-1815 Locust Street for $3,200,000 from Tire Mart Realty, LLC, represented by Meade Summers of Hilliker Corporation, on June 10, 2019.

Fresh Future for a National Treasure

Masiel is currently working with Vince Ebersoldt of e+a architecture, Pinnacle Contracting, and Gershman Mortgage. He’s planning a $21.5 million restoration project, converting the building into seventy individual one- and two-bedroom units with all new windows and custom design work.

The apartments will feature high-end finishes, including either quartz or granite countertops along with stainless steel appliances. They also plan to provide high-speed Internet, common area entertainment, and secure parking (among other amenities) for their residents.

Screaming Eagle plans to begin construction in late 2019 and is scheduled to list apartments for rent in December 2020.

Masiel is committed to seeing St. Louis City continue to thrive, having told the Post-Dispatch, “We’re pretty bullish on the apartment market downtown.” And a little less than a month after closing on this most recent deal, he was giving of his time by volunteering at Fair St. Louis, continuing to do whatever he can to help his city succeed.

St. Louis Tradition, Innovative Solutions

Hilliker Corporation has served St. Louis since 1985, having brokered over 10,000 transactions. As the area’s largest locally-focused commercial real estate broker, we know our region intimately. From new construction to historic properties, we help our entrepreneurial clients become part of a great tradition.

If you’re ready to buy, sell, or lease commercial real estate in the St. Louis area, Hilliker Corporation is poised to help you find the property that suits your unique needs, plans, and dreams.

Schedule an appointment today.

Better Deals, Less Stress: How to Choose the Right Commercial Real Estate Broker for You

I was in my early-30s when I got started in Commercial Real Estate. That was over thirty years ago! Then, as now, newer Brokers teamed up with more experienced Brokers to learn the ropes. That’s when I met Wallace McNeill.

Wallace was the first person to show me how to do the work of a Commercial Real Estate Broker, and he was the right guy to do it. He maintained a golden reputation, consistently showing himself trustworthy through every transaction.

He was also a hard-worker. I’ll never forget his advice to me: “Jake, be pleasantly aggressive.” Then he showed me what he meant by his actions. He worked hard, doing all he could to get the best deal for his client without being pushy. He wanted to leave a legacy of kindness and fairness.

Now, as someone who has had the privilege of closing over 500 retail, land investment, office, and industrial transactions, I’ve tested Wallace’s advice thoroughly and passed it on to others.

I’ve also gotten to work with a team of tremendous Brokers who have a similar code of ethics. Over and over again, I’ve watched them work to create win-win deals on behalf of their clients.

I’ve discovered what separates great Real Estate Brokers from the rest. If you’re an entrepreneur getting ready to look for Commercial Real Estate, here’s how to choose a Broker who will guide you successfully through the process.

Quality Real Estate Brokers are experts at property valuation.

No one wants to pay too much for a property, and no one wants to let a property go for too little. The decision on how to value your property will make or break the deal from the beginning, so getting it right takes experience and know-how.

There are many ways to come up with a price, but savvy Brokers leverage several of them at once.

1. Comp Searches

“Comp” is short for “comparable,” and we look at similar buildings that have sold in the same area as the building in question to figure out it’s worth. This includes mining our internal records of transactions that date back decades, as well as combing the comprehensive industry databases to which we subscribe.

However, this is not an exact science. Commercial Real Estate properties are rarely cookie-cutter, and it can be hard to find a recently sold similar property. Thankfully, this is not the only tool a Commercial Broker has to work with.

2. Collaborative Opinion of Value

Even when comp searches bring up useful results, smart Brokers will turn to their colleagues, knowing they will collectively be aware of current trends, upcoming deals, and other intelligence that will augment their ability to estimate their price.

3. Collaborative Opinion of Value, Part 2

Commercial Brokers aren’t the only people working in the industry who might have a good idea about what a property is worth.

 A good Broker will often leverage his network of contractors, appraisers, and other Real Estate professionals to weigh in on the value of a property. This isn’t a one-way street, either. Experienced Brokers receive calls from appraisers as well, and together they form a pool of knowledge that, in the long run, helps clients price their property fairly.

4. An Ear to the Ground

Real Estate trends up and down, just like the stock market. The best Commercial Brokers I know are aware of what’s happening in the community they’re working in.

 That’s where a local brokerage like Hilliker has a competitive edge over larger national brokerages. The people in our office are out in the community, reading the local papers, interacting with government officials, and generally aware of what’s trending in our region.

Quality Real Estate Brokers are often (though not always) part of a larger firm.

Though I’ve worked successfully with several quality brokers who are on their own or part of a smaller firm, there are few reasons larger firms have the edge over smaller firms or solo acts.

1. Formal and Informal Mentoring Relationships

As I mentioned before, newer Brokers usually pair up with veterans to learn the ropes. My colleagues have all had a “Wallace,” and I’ve served in that role for others.

More experienced brokers benefit from having newer brokers to work with as well, benefitting from their energy, their curiosity, and their partnership. 

2. Established Relationships with Bankers

Banks tend to trust the opinions and work of established Brokers, or at least those who have the backing of an established firm. When choosing a Broker, you want someone whom bankers trust as an industry expert. 

3. A History (As Well as a Future)

Most entrepreneurs want to establish partnerships that will last over the course of their career.

I’ve helped new business owners lease their first building, then buy a building, then take on tenants, then retire and rent out their old building to new businesses.

Working with a Broker at an established firm will allow you to build on your mutual successes over time. And if that broker retires, you’ll be able to continue your relationship with people who know you and your history.

4. Better Connections

As a member of a large firm, I keep my colleagues aware of what I’m working on. They do the same for me. That way, we help each other match clients with properties all of the time.

 Often, one of us has a client who matches up with a property in a colleague’s portfolio (or vice-versa). Or we’ll be able to pool information we’ve gathered from our connections to help each other out. 

5. A Higher Bar for New Brokers

Firms like Hilliker Corporation place high demands on their Brokers. We want to work with the best, and that means we’ve screened potential Brokers on your behalf.

 Not only that, larger firms don’t often work with part-timers or people who are splitting their time between other Real Estate disciplines. We do Commercial Real Estate deals all day every day. Brokers from more substantial firms are immersed in doing what you need them to do, not in trying to juggle several other types of transactions.

Quality Real Estate Brokers will present sellers and landlords with a comprehensive marketing plan.

When you meet with a CRE Broker for the first time (and it’s good to meet with more than one), you should ask them what their marketing plan will be. Every situation will be a little different, but here are some elements to look for.

1. Print

This seems like a no-brainer, but at Hilliker, signage is a big deal. If you’ve ever seen our “big red H” outside of a building, you instantly know the property has space for lease or purchase.

The visibility of the sign, as well as its branding, is an integral part of a Broker’s marketing process. He or she may also send out mailers to local businesses or go door-to-door with brochures.

2. Product Platforms

If you have a space for sale or lease, your Broker should list it on a variety of both local and national platforms. Additionally, if you’re looking to lease or buy real estate, your Broker should be culling options for you from a variety of sources. (We have our own platform here.)

3. Walk-throughs

Every Commercial Broker worth his or her salt will make sure as many prospects walk through your space as possible. Besides making sure interested parties get to see what’s available, that person may schedule open-houses for other brokers and business owners who will help them get the word out.

4. Connections

Commercial Brokers who have cultivated a network of business partners, colleagues, and contacts over the years will leverage that network on your behalf. Ask if they have any ideas whom they’ll talk with about your property. They should have an answer shortly into the process.

5. Creative Pricing and Value

If a property struggles on the market, savvy Commercial Real Estate Brokers will modify the price over time or look for other incentives to get buyers or lessees interested.

Are you looking for a Commercial Real Estate Broker? Here’s where to start.

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you probably already have some partners who would be able to help you find a great broker. People who know quality Commercial Real Estate Brokers include: 

  • Lawyers
  • Bankers
  • CPAs
  • Other trusted business advisors

When you talk to your trusted team of advisors, ask for a few options. You’ll want to speak with more than one person before you make your final decision.

And don’t forget to call us at Hilliker Corporation.

With a built-in network of Commercial Real Estate Brokers, you’ll be able to leverage our entire team, no matter which member you choose.

Schedule an appointment today.

John H. ShepleyJohn H. “Jake” Shepley has worked as a Commercial Real Estate Broker for over thirty-five years. After graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Mr. Shepley earned his MBA in Finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Married to his wife Carol since 1986, they have three daughters. Jake is excited about life, waking up daily to seize whatever challenges lay ahead.