The largest skyscraper in St. Louis, formerly known as One AT&T Center, is on the market after being foreclosed on.
The vacant 44-story office tower in the heart of the city’s central business district downtown was put up for sale Thursday by brokerage NAI Global without an asking price.
Designed by architectural firm HOK, the 1.4 million-square-foot property at 909 Chestnut Street was built in 1986. The property is being marketed as a “trophy office asset,” due to its size and exterior signage opportunities.
The structure takes up an entire city block and is St. Louis’ largest office building in terms of square footage but is only the second-tallest, trailing the Metropolitan Square building at 211 North Broadway. It’s the third-tallest structure in the city, with the Gateway Arch taking the top spot.
The 909 Chestnut building was built for a single tenant, serving as the corporate headquarters of Southwestern Bell Corp. The company, which became SBC Communications, moved its corporate headquarters to San Antonio in the early 1990s. In 2005, it acquired the old AT&T Corp. and renamed itself AT&T Inc. Its lease for the downtown St. Louis building ended this year.
In September, about 2,000 AT&T employees vacated the 909 Chestnut building and relocated nearby. “Nearly all of the employees who worked in that building have remained downtown, in our buildings at 801 Chestnut and 1010 Pine,” said AT&T spokeswoman Katie Nagus.
Two skybridges that linked to other buildings where AT&T has employees downtown were recently taken down.
In 2006, Minto Holdings of Florida and Inland American Real Estate Trust bought the property from AT&T for $204.9 million. The building was placed into receivership this year after U.S. Bank National Association Trustee sued its former owner, Chicago-based InvenTrust Properties Corp., and seized the building.
The tower, with an appraised value in 2017 at $93.4 million according to city records, dropped in value as its occupancy fell. In its most recent report this month, analytics firm Trepp put its appraisal at $11.7 million.
The brokerage listing the property touts its 80 underground parking spaces, full cafeteria floor, three elevator banks, floor-to-ceiling windows and a four-story atrium lobby. Excluding the lobby and other common areas, the rentable space totals 1.174 million square feet.
“The property offers a new owner the rare and unique opportunity to repurpose the building for a more contemporary office use, or into a wide array of alternative uses to service the growing and dynamic St. Louis metro area,” according to NAI Global.
In its brochure, NAI Global also cites $1 billion in planned development downtown, including apartments and hotels. Some of that development could serve as competition for office tenants, however.
A $260 million second phase of nearby Ballpark Village, for example, is slated to include the addition of the first new office building downtown in three decades at the corner of Clark and Eighth streets near Busch Stadium.
Other recent sizable commercial real estate sales include the vacant 1.2 million-square-foot Railway Exchange Building in downtown St. Louis that formerly housed a Macy’s department store on lower levels and office space on upper levels. That building, which is being redeveloped, sold this year for $20.5 million, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE. The 325,172-square-foot Plaza in Clayton office building, which is 100 percent leased, sold last month for $85.5 million, according to CBRE.
The former AT&T tower is among the buildings St. Louis officials included to be considered in a proposal submitted to Seattle-based Amazon, which is conducting a search throughout North America to open a second headquarters with 50,000 employees. The e-commerce giant isn’t expected to announce its selection until 2018.
Mobin Khan, chief operating officer and vice president of economic development at the booster group Downtown STL Inc., said the AT&T building provides a unique opportunity to attract large office tenants downtown.
“If you’re watching a ballgame at Busch Stadium, one of the most prominent things you’ll see is the AT&T Tower,” Khan said. “How many buildings are there with that much square footage available? It allows for many different kinds of redevelopment options and tenant mixes.”