ST. LOUIS – Big news has come about for some iconic downtown St. Louis buildings that have sat empty.

First, the former AT&T tower has just been sold. Recently, there was a plan to turn St. Louis into a “vertical city” with a hotel, apartments, office space, penthouses, and even a rooftop pool. That plan fell apart about 8 months ago.  

There’s no word yet of anything as grandiose as the vertical city plan but FOX 2 has confirmed the 1.4 million-square-foot tower has just sold to Boston real estate firm, the Goldman Group, for a bargain price.

Records show the nearly 40-year-old building sold for nearly $205 million in 2006. It then sold for less than $4.1 million in 2022 after being vacant for nearly five years.   

Sources tell FOX 2 that it has sold for even less this time, though city officials have yet to confirm the final sale price.

It’s the latest in a flurry of downtown activity involving three very recognizable but very empty buildings.

“Those are enormous, enormous vacancies in the city. I’m serious about doing what I can as the alderperson to move those things forward,” St. Louis Alderwoman Cara Spencer (Ward 8) said. Spencer’s ward includes downtown St. Louis.

She’s pushing for the city’s use of eminent domain to wrestle control of the Millennium Hotel building near the Gateway Arch from absentee owners in Singapore.

Aldermen already approved something similar with the troubled Railway Exchange building and its absentee owners in Florida, which included $100,00 to secure it with metal plates.

FOX 2 found at least one solid metal door had been pried open, with people getting inside the building and even on top of it.

It’s happening almost daily, she said, but the effort to bring new life to three buildings would not stop. 

“Having people in (the building) is absolutely imperative.  It’s key,” she said.

Conner Kerrigan, spokesman for the City of St. Louis and Mayor Tishaura Jones, gave the following statement Tuesday:

“Under the leadership of Mayor Tishaura Jones, the City of St. Louis continues to work hard to revitalize our entire city, including Downtown. From law firms to tech startups, retail and restaurants, Downtown St. Louis has caught the eye of businesses from all backgrounds, cultures, and sectors. We envision a day in the not-too-distant future when downtown serves as a cultural beacon for our entire region.”

The first step is to turn around the future for the three empty buildings.