Millennium Hotel owners 'still evaluating' future of vacant St. - KMOV.com

Millennium Hotel owners 'still evaluating' future of vacant St. Louis property

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Millennium Hotel closed it's doors for good in downtown St. Louis in 2014 (Credit: KMOV) Millennium Hotel closed it's doors for good in downtown St. Louis in 2014 (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

It’s been a little more than four years since the Millennium Hotel closed its doors in downtown St. Louis. Since then, little to no progress has been made on bringing life back into the property that was once an iconic part of the St. Louis skyline

“As of now, leadership is still evaluating and deciding on future plans for the property,” said a spokesperson for Millennium Hotels & Resorts, which still owns and operates the Millennium St. Louis.

That spokesperson told News 4 no one was available for an on camera interview.

When the hotel announced its closure at the end of 2013 (officially closing in January 2014), the former general manager of the hotel, Robert Rivers, released a statement that the hotel served the St. Louis community well for many years. 

However, Rivers said the hotel did not meet the company’s standards and kept up to pace with the guest’s demands.

For the owners abroad, the hotel might be out of sight, out of mind but for people who live and work in St. Louis, the building is a daily reminder of missed revenue in the city.

“They [the buildings] are vacant. They don’t activate the street front, and at some point, that’s gotta change,” said Jack Coatar, St. Louis Alderman of the 7th Ward.

Coatar does credit the owners for being good tenants, as far as maintenance goes. The company spokesperson confirms they have “24/7 security with at least two guards patrolling and managing the property. In addition, the hotel still has HVAC, electric, and water, and the building is maintained to prevent deterioration by an engineering team and landscaping staff.”

But, that isn’t enough for city leaders pushing for more development downtown.

“The owners are in Singapore and they are a very big multi-national corporation and I would guess their holding costs on sitting on this land in St. Louis are pretty low so it’s sort of a drop in the bucket for them to pay their taxes and keep a security guard on site,” said Coatar.

Coatar said economic development leaders in St. Louis often field phone calls from investors potentially interested in the property but he believes the chances of developing the buildings as is are pretty low.

“Having talked to developers and folks that have looked at the site, working with those circular buildings that were pre-cast construction would be very difficult. Not impossible - it can be done, but I think would be very difficult,” said Coatar. “I think at some point you’re going to have to see new construction on that site, simply to compete with all the other new residential and commercial and hotel products coming on the market.”

That includes a new $65 million Loews hotel planned for Ballpark Village’s second phase, also in Coatar’s ward and just down the block from the Millennium.

Coatar said if someone comes to the table with a realistic plan, he believes the city would get involved, potentially offering tax incentives.

He also said it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for the city to eventually explore a “finding of blight” on the buildings, considering water damage in one of the towers. That would allow them to move forward with other incentive packages.

However, he stresses, that is not currently in the works and for now, the property’s future remains in limbo.

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