One Future, One Community

UnifySTL is a group of thought leaders who all agree the reunification of St. Louis City and St. Louis County must be made a priority in order for the region to regain its rightful place as a top tier market.

Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr.

President & CEO, Grand Center, Inc.

The complexity of local government is often a barrier to investment. This is especially true in real estate investing where local zoning, taxes, design review procedures, incentives, etc. vary so much from city to city and state to state. The negative impact of the Balkanized governmental structure of St. Louis is obvious from the fact that there is so little national and international real estate investment in St. Louis. I have heard this from national developers for decades – ‘Your costs are high and your rents are low, but worst of all, St. Louis is impossible to understand.’ Investment is like water, it seeks the simplest route and having over 90 municipalities in one county, a City that is “a City not located within a county” (the exact language in state statue) and over a thousand governmental units in the region works against us every day. Real estate capital is only one form of investment, but intuitively capital follows capital and our City/County community simply has a bad reputation in the real estate markets around the country and that rubs off in all forms of capital investment. Creating a simplified and transparent local government could be the highest impact and lowest cost investment St. Louis could make in our community.
— Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr.