Last month I posted about a vacant retail space in a state-owned parking garage (see: Storefront Still Vacant A Decade Later, Tax Dollars Wasted?). Some said perhaps the Renaissance Grand Hotel used the space for storage, but that didn’t seen likely to me. Well, turns out the retail storefront has been used by the hotel for storage rent-free for a decade!
The Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) built and owns the garage, the attached ballroom building has separate ownership. The vacant storefront is just to the south of the auto exits from the garage.
For a decade now the state has received $0.00 in rent for this space while visitors to St. Louis see a poorly papered over storefront. The MDFB mission is:
To assist infrastructure and economic development projects in Missouri by providing the critical component of the total financing for projects that have a high probability of success, but are not feasible without the Board’s assistance.
How does leaving this storefront vacant for a decade support their mission? I talked with a hotel employee in the finance department who said if someone wanted to lease the storefront they’d remove their stuff. Retail spaces don’t lease themselves, it takes work to get tenants.
Even if the space was leased to a business for next to nothing it would be better for the city’s image of the city if it was occupied by an active business. — Steve Patterson