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How are Property Condition Assessments different in St. Louis, Missouri?

Property Condition Assessments (PCAs) in St. Louis, Missouri, differ from PCAs in other parts of the country in a few ways. 

Property Condition Assessments (PCAs) generally follow a standardized process and methodology regardless of the location. However, there might be some specific considerations and regulations that apply to St. Louis, Missouri, which could impact certain aspects of the assessment. Here are a few factors that might influence PCAs in St. Louis: 

  • Local Building Codes: St. Louis may have its own set of building codes and regulations that PCAs need to adhere to. These codes might dictate specific requirements for safety, accessibility, and other aspects of property conditions. 
  • Historical Preservation: St. Louis has a rich history, and there might be properties or neighborhoods designated as historical preservation districts. PCAs in these areas might require additional scrutiny to assess any historical significance and compliance with preservation guidelines. 
  • Climate Considerations: St. Louis experiences various weather conditions, including hot summers and cold winters. PCAs might need to account for factors such as the integrity of the building envelope, insulation, HVAC systems, and other components affected by the climate. 
  • Environmental Factors: St. Louis is situated along the Mississippi River, and there can be specific environmental considerations to assess, such as flood zones, soil conditions, and potential contamination risks. 
  • Local Market Conditions: The local real estate market in St. Louis can impact PCAs. Factors such as property values, market demand, and property-specific issues related to the region’s market dynamics might be considered during the assessment. 

It’s important to note that while these factors may influence PCAs in St. Louis, the core purpose of a PCA remains the same: to evaluate the physical condition of a property and identify any potential deficiencies or issues that might affect its value or usability. It’s advisable to consult with local experts, such as qualified building inspectors or engineering firms familiar with St. Louis, to ensure compliance with local regulations and address any unique considerations. 

Local experts weigh in on what makes St. Louis’ PCAs unique: 

  1. Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIAs) Challenges:  
    1. St. Louis County has 92 different municipalities, plus numerous areas of unincorporated county (and St. Louis City is its own county, separate from St. Louis County). Additionally, Fire Protection Districts often overlap with multiple municipalities, and municipalities may have more than one fire protection district within their boundaries. 
    2. St. Louis County comprises 88 municipalities and 10 unincorporated census-designated places.  The smallest is Glen Echo Park which has a population of 160 and is only 0.03 square miles. There are 43 fire departments that serve St. Louis County. Due to the number of municipalities, many times, the city in a project’s address does not match the municipality it is located in. Determining who to send FOIA requests to in St. Louis County takes time and sometimes several tries. 
  2. Overlapping Zoning Concerns: Old former neighborhood gas stations and dry cleaners are common in residential areas. 
  3. Superfund Sites Proximity: A superfund site is an abandoned hazardous waste site that may still contain toxic pollutants. The higher the share of the neighborhood located close to a superfund site, the higher the negative impact on the neighborhood. Several Superfund sites in the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area (and a few in surrounding counties) are of concern to area property condition assessments. 
  4. PCA Surprises: An agent never knows what they will find when inspecting old infrastructure that has been built over newer properties. One example is a 40-story building located in downtown St. Louis that still had parts of a defunct coal chute in its basement. 

Hiring an experienced professional for your commercial real estate due diligence is important.