Stephen Bahn, Ladue High graduate and parent recently won the bid to represent the sale/lease of the old Early Childhood Center on Clayton Road. Bahn spoke candidly to Patch about the prospects of this nine-acre parcel in Frontenac.
Ladue-Frontenac Patch: How long have you been in the business.
Stephen Bahn: 37 years. And we have just two employees. Myself and two agents. My brokerage listings are all over St. Louis, particularly in South County and Jefferson County, some in North County and the city.
Patch: Tells us about the contract you just got in Ladue to act as their agent to either lease or sell the old Early Childhood Center on Clayton Road.
Bahn: There was a process where they called for an RFP, Request for Proposal from brokers. There were five bids submitted to sell their surplus property for the Ladue Early Childhood Center. That started in February and was complete on May 31. The district awarded it to us.
Patch: You have to be happy about that, being a Ladue parent.
Bahn: I felt like I had a lot to offer the district and knowing how the district operates and knowing the district’s history. I am familiar with the homes adjacent to the property. My four children went through the school system and I am a Ladue graduate.
Patch: How much interest is there with that piece of property.
Bahn: There is a ton of interest. What we are doing is what is a ‘call for offer.’ That is mailed to all the interested parties and out of state to companies who don’t know about the property. That went out August 15 with a card to reply by September 15 with closed bids sometime shortly thereafter.
Patch: What are the exact dimensions of the property
Bahn: It is an approximate nine acres with an additional 5 1/2 acres west of it which encompasses five homes. Three of the homes are under contract and the fourth I don’t have control of.
Patch: What do feel is the best use of that property.
Bahn: It is up to Frontenac. As a fourth class city, they are very progressive. It needs tax base. This property has never been on the tax rolls from its early days as Wright School. They could develop something really special for the City of Frontenac.
I hope it is mixed use, which would include some retail, some senior housing; possibly condominiums, restaurants. It is zoned residential right now.
The building on the property (the old Ladue Early Childhood Center) is approximately 30,000 feet. It is functionally obsolescent as far as the district is concerned. There is enough environmental issues to not reuse the building.
Patch: It would be nice to put up a really elaborate development.
Bahn: That’s easier said than done in today’s economy. If this property had come on line in 2003 or 2004 you would see something today that would be absolutely very special. But with the economy the way it is, and the cost of ground, it is going to require some density and vision on the part of the City of Frontenac to allow this to happen.
Patch: Dr. Marsha Chappelow was concerned with the state of the economy, it might be best to hold on to the property until things got better.
Bahn: We spoke of that honestly. I told Dr. Chappelow the request could go out and we might not get any responses because of the cost of the land, or there might be overwhelming responses. There is a possibility this land might stay fallow two or three more years.
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