Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)By Michael Calhoun

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Negotiations continue this week between the city of St. Louis and Vertical Realty Advisors, the developers interested in downtown’s historic Cupples 7 warehouse.

Last week, KMOX News reported that the only other interested developer dropped out, balking at its $3 million cost estimate to secure the unstable structure.

Hasan Adelani, senior associate at Vertical, says the company is lining up $50 million to makeover the building.

“Our financing is on the sidelines. It’s waiting,” he tells KMOX. “It’s just a matter of explanation and then a go or not a go.”

That explanation is of a plan which would have the city as “master lessee” of the building.

City Treasurer Chief of Staff Jared Boyd told KMOX News last week that such an arrangement would leave the city providing guaranteed rent in the event of vacancy. Meantime Mayor Slay, via news release, vowed that the city would not guarantee debt for the project.

Adelani says that Vertical would own Cupples 7 and, accordingly, be liable for the safety of the building. He also says “he (the Mayor) is right. We’re not asking for any guarantee on project debt. Not at all.

“We want to make sure that that’s clear.”

What are Vertical’s plans to fill the building?

He says that fledgling companies coming out of the area’s incubators, including T-REx downtown, are looking for a ‘Cupples’ kind of space.

“They like the fun atmosphere,” Adelani says. “They want the concrete floors. They want the exposed wood beams, exposed brick walls. You don’t get that in a building where you’d see a law firm.”

All of the other Cupples warehouses have been renovated and are now filled with creative firms and tech companies, as well as restaurants and apartments.

Since the building could collapse at any moment — according to the City Treasurer, whose office officially took ownership last week — wrecking crews are at the ready in case a deal can’t get done.

The two sides plan to meet later this week.

Note: Edited to include comments from previous story with City Treasurer’s Chief of Staff.

KMOX © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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