ST. LOUIS – A recent Wall Street Journal article called the real estate situation of Downtown St. Louis a “nightmare” while explaining challenges around vacant properties in the city.

Commercial property reporter Konrad Putzier published an article Tuesday morning titled “The Real Estate Nightmare Unfolding in Downtown St. Louis.” It describes Downtown St. Louis as being in a “doom loom.”

The article first focuses on the Railway Exchange Building, which once served St. Louis’ railroad and retail industries for several decades. FOX 2 learned last year that city officials may consider eminent domain for the property. The building has been boarded up for several years, subject to fires and wiring concerns, according to FOX 2 and WSJ reports.

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WSJ suggests that the vacant Railway Exchange Building represents a trend of decay in the heart of Downtown St. Louis, saying one stretch of 15 blocks of downtown “sit largely quiet as office buildings have emptied out in recent years.”

Local nonprofit Greater St. Louis, Inc. offered the following statement to FOX 2 in criticism of Wall Street Journal’s report:

“We are all acutely aware of the challenges our Downtown faces. This is why ‘Restoring the Core’ of the City of St. Louis, as identified in the STL 2030 Jobs Plan, is a top priority of the business community. We are working on these issues every single day.

“Let’s be clear: the St. Louis metro will not grow without a strong Downtown. The complex challenges we confront in Downtown did not appear overnight, and they will not be fixed overnight.  

“But rather than adopt the dramatic, pessimistic tone in the article, the St. Louis region’s civic-minded business community is rallying to address these challenges head-on. While there is much work to do, we are making and seeing progress and will continue our work, day in and day out, to make Downtown the world-class neighborhood at the heart of our world-class metro.”

A Greater St. Louis Inc. spokesperson also tells FOX 2 that the story and a study from the University of Toronto cited within it cover just a small section of Downtown St. Louis and does not reflect downtown as a whole.

Coincidentally, the WSJ article came out hours before FOX 2 reported on the recent sale of the vacant AT&T Tower.

FOX 2 also reported last year that more than 20,000 properties in Downtown St. Louis are sitting vacant.