Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kiel Center Suites near a Sellout

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kiel Center Suites near a Sellout

Article excerpt

The pace of construction at Kiel Center is picking up, and if the leasing of the luxury suites continues apace, they'll be gone by year's end.

Don't cry for the building's owners or for the Blues. Money from the suites goes to the Blues and will help the National Hockey League club pay its ever-higher salaries.

Ten of the 80 suites - two in the penthouse area near the rafters and eight on the main-suite level - are available. The others - 57 seating 12 people, and 13 seating eight - are spoken for.

"We're tickled to death with the way the suites are going," said Jud Perkins, president of Kiel Center Partners, the group building the arena. "We expect to close our marketing center by the end of the year. There just won't be any need for it."

After an initial surge of interest - Kiel Center was, after all, the proverbial new kid on the block - the owners are leasing about one suite a week. The leases run for five, seven or 10 years; prices of the remaining suites range from $37,500 to $100,000 a year.

The flip side of this success is that fans who don't lease suites now won't get another chance until the 1999-2000 season.

The Kiel Center Partners seem to have had an easier go of it than the St. Louis NFL Partnership, which - given the limited number of weeks allowed by the National Football League - was able to lease about 85 of the 100 suites at the stadium addition to Cervantes Convention Center. (The Partnership continues to solicit leases for its suites; the club seats are all spoken for, the Partnership says.)

Part of the difference can be ascribed to timing. The Kiel suites were offered months before the NFL Partnership was allowed to put its suites up for grabs.

Also, Kiel's suites were offered well before the rivers began to rise; the Cervantes suites were offered when it was clear that many homes and businesses would be flooded.

More important, though, is that Kiel's backers - many of them the same Civic Progress companies that later leased suites at Cervantes - used a well-thought-out marketing campaign to increase demand for their product and to pinpoint potential customers. …

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