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.
With 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.