How Kummer’s Clayton Deal Took Even the Sellers by Surprise

By on February 19, 2019

From St. Louis Business Journal:  It was six months ago when Stafford Manion, owner of luxury real estate firm Gladys Manion, received a call from Fred Kummer.

“I thought he wanted to sell his house,” Manion said.

Kummer — founder of HBE Corp., a provider of design and construction services for health care facilities — instead wanted to sell Manion on joining his redevelopment team for a special project in Clayton after plans to turn his HBE headquarters in Creve Coeur into a hotel fell through.

Kummer recently acquired a half-block bordering Central, Maryland and Bemiston avenues from the Gershman family and affiliated entities.

His move into Clayton was a deal few in the real estate community knew of before it was announced. It was also one predicated by Ken Poteet.

Before Kummer closed on the property, Poteet’s M1 Bank and M1 Development LLC had acquired the other side of the block — 7801 Forsyth Blvd., the PNC Bank building; 7 N. Bemiston, Gershman Mortgage’s former headquarters; and 7817 Forsyth Blvd., home to The Wine Merchant.

“The interest level was what we expected. The result was not,” said Chris Fox, executive vice president and managing director of Gershman Commercial Real Estate, which was marketing the property.

Fox and Dan Freeland, vice president of sales and leasing for Gershman Commercial Real Estate, received interest from local and national developers and had narrowed the potential list to two local development companies and one national.

Kummer was not the original frontrunner because his plan didn’t fit with the footprint that was being marketed. But Poteet’s piecemeal taking of the Gershman land meant Kummer had a shot. The fact that Kummer didn’t require a contingency gave his offer a competitive advantage.

“What we didn’t want to happen was to have the M1 deal go sideways and not close … Fred was well aware of that,” Freeland said.

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