Jefferson Arms Developer Shifts From Dallas to St. Louis

By on July 21, 2017

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Mukemmel “Mike” Sarimsakci is turning his attention to St. Louis.

Over the next few months, many of his team will relocate from Dallas, where they’re close to finishing the conversion of a half-million-square-foot building constructed around the turn of the 20th century into apartments and a hotel.

Here, Sarimsakci and his Alterra International development group will embark on a similar project: A $104 million rehab of the long-vacant Jefferson Arms, a 500,000-square-foot structure built as a hotel for the 1904 World’s Fair.

“We’re going to live downtown,” Sarimsakci said. “We’re leasing apartments from our friend Tim McGowan.”

Sarimsakci, who said he’ll go home to San Francisco on the weekends, closed last month on the Jefferson Arms, which is on Tucker Boulevard downtown. The $7 million purchase of the dilapidated hotel and an adjacent parking garage, which the McGowan brothers now own and are rehabbing, marked a big step in a project that the Turkish-born developer has talked about for more than a year.

In an interview between meetings here, Sarimsakci offered more details on the construction timeline and the mix of uses in the giant structure that for years has been one of downtown’s most notable vacancies.

Still being finalized, however, is financing for the rehab work. He said that should be nailed down by the end of the year, in time to start fixing up the place in March.

The building’s remediation — the old structure needs to be cleansed of lead, asbestos and other materials — is expected to start in October, Sarimsakci said. He plans to use his own capital for that work, estimated at between $5.5 million and $6 million, and then be reimbursed with Missouri Brownfield tax credits.

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