Category Archives: News

St. Louis success story, Pic the Gift, expands with new multi-purpose space lease

Entrepreneur Finds Success in St. Louis

Wes Pickering founded Pic the Gift, LLC, in 2012, believing there was a growing desire in the marketplace for on-demand printing.

Here’s how it works: Pic the Gift allows customers to choose from a variety of printable products through an online design portal. Their customers, both individuals and corporations, customize the item’s look. They can select its color or a pre-created pattern, then add logos and photos.

Some of their printables are relatively small (mouse pads, holiday ornaments, and no-show socks). But some are comparatively large (lounge chair covers, shower curtains, blankets, and beach towels).

They also print on a wide variety of surfaces: cloth, glass, stainless steel, and ceramics, among others. The production process requires a range of large printers able to handle any scale and media.

Since they’re in the center of the country, Pic the Gift can ship to anywhere in the US in fewer than four days. Their market niche, location, and excellent service have made them an in-demand vendor for potential buyers throughout the country.

About the company’s growth, Pickering says, “We’ve been busting at the seams for eight months, growing much more quickly than we projected.” He needed a short-term solution to handle his inventory while he looked for a larger space for his business.

Commercial Industrial Warehouse Space in Overland, MO

The staff at Pic the Gift was only twenty people in July of 2017. By the beginning of June 2018, they had grown to fifty, and expect to bring on another thirty to forty employees over the next six months.

At the time, they were leasing two spaces totaling 15,000 square feet, much of it occupied by large production equipment of various kinds. They were dependent on their properties because their equipment requires more electrical service than most buildings can handle: 1,200 amps and 480-volt power.

Lacking the space to continue to grow his staff, Pickering had to turn down projects the business didn’t have the resources to handle. He didn’t want to have to do that again. For him, the growth has meant “a fun ride, but it certainly is challenging.”

It was near the end of 2018 when Pic the Gift realized it had an immediate need, which was to find space to store seasonal holiday inventory. They already had leased auxiliary warehouse space, but it had filled up much more quickly than he had expected.

After looking at approximately twenty separate buildings, he got a tip from a friend.

Picking Space with Help from Hilliker

Jeffrey J. AltvaterThe friend, who leases a portion of 10838 Ambassador, had seen a 20-year tenant vacate their space in the same building. The friend put Pickering in touch with Jeff Altvater of Hilliker Corporation, who represents the landlords.

Altvater showed Pickering the building. At 30,620 square feet and with 16 feet of ceiling clearance, it was a little larger than Pickering needed at the moment, but that wasn’t a bad thing, given their rate of growth.

When he toured the space, he liked the layout – 15% office, 85% warehouse with five loading docks. Only a half-mile from his current building, it maintained continuity and convenience for his staff, local customers, and vendors.

In fact, it offered everything a business like his needed except for one thing: enough electrical power for his equipment. Regardless, he could envision the building as a long-term office and warehouse for his whole operation.

For their part, the owners of 10838 Ambassador were highly motivated to win over Pic the Gift. They liked the story of the company—that it’s local, growing, and operating a smart and lucrative business model.

They offered to upgrade the bathrooms, as well as the previous tenant’s old fluorescent lights to LED.

But most of all, 10838 Ambassador’s owners were prepared to make a substantial investment in bringing the requisite power to the building. That included bringing in Ameren to put in a new pole and a dedicated transformer. They were also willing to pay to have the trench dug to deliver power to the building.

Pickering said, “This has been an easy, straightforward process and overall good experience. Which is what we needed, because we didn’t have a lot of time to go back and forth. We couldn’t afford to play games.”

Looking Forward to Growth

Most of Pickering’s staff has been able to tour the building. They’ve expressed excitement about the move. He says, “We’re looking forward to stretching out.”

Planning to move in August 2019, Pickering is personally overseeing construction of the new space while his staff prepares for the move and incorporates new technologies.

He’s proud of his workers, saying, “They treat people well. They do a great job.” That, along with an in-demand service and properly proportioned new office and warehouse, is what positions Pic the Gift to keep growing.

Entrepreneurs: Are You Looking for Light Industrial Warehouse Space in the St. Louis area?

When a business starts growing faster than projections, it can feel like “the best of times and the worst of times.” Though the company may be prosperous, it leaves owners with little time to consider how to deal with the sudden influx.

Hilliker Corporation understands this. We’re the entrepreneur’s choice, coming alongside to advise you. We make it our goal to improve your life, making your work more manageable, and your real estate transactions as smooth as possible.

Call us for a consultation today.

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.

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 Hal 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.

New business Owner Buys Commercial Real Estate with Hilliker Corp

A Lifelong Dream Come True

Jenny Sturm, a St. Louis native more than twenty years into her sales career, stood at a crossroads. Her full-time job, working in sales for a pharmaceuticals company, had her spending too much time on the road.

Further, she had spent many of her nights and weekends helping her parents with their commercial and residential construction company. By 2018, she had helped them sell off their holdings. Now free to concentrate on her day job, she found she missed the construction business.

As she thought about what she might do next, she unearthed an old dream: to purchase and operate a company of her own.

She began looking for construction companies that were ready to sell. She came across Signature Craft, a commercial contractor that produces, markets, and installs sound-baffles and window treatments.

With an in-demand product, Signature Craft was a solid business model with a bright future. Sturm’s background in sales, marketing, and operations made it a great fit.

Sturm says, “I always wanted to own my own company. I came across the opportunity and said, ‘I can do this!’” Soon after signing the deal, she found out her corporate position was set to be eliminated. Her timing was perfect.

Officially, Sturm purchased Signature Craft on January 1, 2019. Quickly, she realized the commercial warehouse and office space they were leasing was not compatible with her vision for the company.

The Search for St. Louis-area Commercial Office and Warehouse Space

For many years, Signature Craft has been in Rock Hill on Manchester Road in a building owned by the company’s founder. Though Sturm now owned the business, the building wasn’t part of the deal, and she would be leasing the space.

There were a few problems with that. First, the old building didn’t match her vision for the brand. At 36,000 square feet, it was much too large, leaving her team scattered and the building feeling empty.

Second, it was located in a floodplain, driving up the company’s insurance premiums. Third, she wanted to find more of a central location for the business, positioning it closer to a highway. Ideally, it would be no more than fifteen minutes from her home in Webster Groves.

A. William AschingerFeeling like they needed to make purchasing commercial real estate for the company top priority, Sturm called her bankers at Parkside Financial, who referred her without reservation to Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation.

After consulting with her team, she decided to search for 25,000 square feet of commercial office and warehouse space.

Sturm and Aschinger went looking for property, though there was very little warehouse space that was also zoned light-industrial. They needed to find a creative solution, and Aschinger was up for the challenge.

After touring over a dozen properties in Fenton, Kirkwood, and Westport, Aschinger found a new listing for a building in the Hanley Industrial area that featured everything Sturm and Signature Craft were looking for.

Making a Smart Investment in a Turnkey Commercial Space

When Aschinger and Sturm toured 1419-1423 Strassner, they were immediately struck by how perfectly it fit Signature Craft’s needs.

The building, already zoned properly with the right-sized warehouse, had a small but well-appointed office space. Though the building itself was right at 33,000 square feet, only about 25,000 square feet was unoccupied. The rest was already being leased to McMillan Construction, meaning Sturm could generate income from an existing lease.

Sturm said, “The building itself was really turnkey. The plant manager and I have decided how we’ll lay things out. We considered everyone’s opinions, so all that’s left to do is a little bit of work. Our union carpenters are handling that.”

Buying Commercial Real Estate: A Full-Circle Moment

Sturm says of Aschinger, “It was great working with Will. He made it so easy. I let him lead the way, and he took things from start to finish. I felt confident in his ability.”

As her parents learned she was going sign for her own commercial property, they were encouraging, and Sturm felt like her life had come full circle. She says, “I felt like I got a great deal. The property is only going to appreciate, and it’s going to be my space.”

Sturm and her team found a couple of added benefits to their new location beyond what they hoped for. Since the Hanley Industrial area is full of contractors, Signature Craft will be near both current and potential partners, creating an opportunity for synergy and collaboration.

Second, the staff is excited to be working in a purposefully planned space, and everyone is looking forward to the quality restaurant and shopping options just minutes from their workplace.

Signature Craft hopes to move into their new building by June 15, 2019.

Creative Real Estate Solutions for St. Louis-area Businesses

Are you ready to stop leasing? Would you be better positioned for success if you owned your own commercial warehouse, office, or industrial space?

Hilliker Corporation brokers go to work for you to find creative solutions that meet your needs.

If you’re ready to get started looking for commercial real estate, set up an appointment with a Hilliker broker today.

A Family Tradition: Aschinger Electric Calls on Hilliker Corporation for Property Management

An American Entrepreneurial Success

In 1912, St. Louis native Otto Aschinger borrowed a book on electricity from the library. After reading it, he hired two electricians to rewire a house for him. He observed their work, making a note of everything they did.

Based on this remarkably straightforward education, he founded Aschinger Electric, which continues to thrive four generations later. Specializing in the design and installation of electrical systems, The Engineering News-Record named them one of America’s top 600 specialty contractors in 2018.

Aschinger Electric has been in the family for four generations. O. Francis Aschinger (Otto’s son) guided the company until his death in 1978. Then, his wife, Zdena, and their three sons took over the business’s ownership and operation. Zdena passed away in 2011, but her sons Eric (president), Jack, and Keith Aschinger guided the company well into the new millennium.

While still heavily involved in the business, they recruited Eric’s daughter, Emily Martin, to take over the position of president in 2015.

A Diverse Business Portfolio

In 1981, the Aschinger family used an Industrial Revenue Bond to buy 4.85 acres and build their own building at 877 Horan Drive in Fenton. The family’s two main businesses have always occupied just over half the building: Aschinger Electric and its sister company, Aschinger Communications. They’ve filled the rest of the building with a variety of tenants over the years.

At first, it made sense to keep property management in-house. However, as the core business continued to expand, property management became a distraction. Eric says, “Our comptroller was just swamped.”

With only a few tenants, it didn’t make sense to bring in a full-time property manager, but they needed someone to collect monthly rent, pay the various bills on the property, find and manage contractors for ongoing maintenance, and fill spaces as they became available.

One tenant in particular, Williams Office Machines, was getting ready to move out after twenty years. Luckily, Eric knew a family member in the real estate business: his distant cousin (second cousin, once removed!), Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation.

Extending the Family Business

When Eric called on Will to manage their property in Fenton and its tenants, Will was eager to help. One of his existing clients, LTG Lighting, was looking for space similar to the one Williams Office Machines was vacating. Since the two companies work in the same industry, there was an opportunity for them to forge a mutually beneficial relationship.

Later, Will was able to fill a vacant space with Maggie’s Lunchbox, a restaurant where Aschinger Electric employees (among many others) can enjoy their breakfast and lunch menu.

Donna L. WilliamsNow, Hilliker’s Director of Property Management, Donna Williams, deals with the day-to-day tasks of owning the property. Eric has been pleased with the results, saying, “Hilliker has done a great job.”

About his cousin, Eric says, “Will and his team stay on top of our needs, and we’re happy to keep things in the family.”

What Are Your Property Management Needs?

If you are running a business while serving tenants, consider bringing in Hilliker’s property management expertise to simplify your life and increase your effectiveness.

Our brokers can help you find new tenants, structure mutually beneficial lease agreements, and manage your day-to-day task list. If you need Hilliker Corporation’s Property Management expertise, book an appointment with us today!