Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Proposed Paradigm Shift in Affton Marketing

I'd like to remind the citizens that tonight is the "regular" night time meeting of the Affton Community Betterment Association at Commerce Bank on Gravois. It starts at 7PM and yours truly will be there. I'm really interested in finding out if they are serious about anything and who's involved. I hope it's more informative than their web site. I'll have a report tomorrow for you for those of you who can't make it.

So here's a revitalization strategy for your consideration: Market Affton to families with children. I've got two myself and the First Lady and I are both very into real estate. While I don' t plan on leaving my constituency, we do a lot of comparison shopping. The First Lady was looking for "deals" out there last night on the web and found nothing comparable to our own home for less than $300,000. We found houses being advertised as "tear down or rehab" in Des Peres for $200,000!! We paid about $20,000 less than that for our very viable home 3 1/2 years ago. Well screw your crazy high prices, Des Peres...As I have said before on this site, I recommend that Afftonians BUY AND HOLD.

Families with children were about 50% of the home-buying market in the late 1950's, but now comprise about 33% of that market. We have been replaced by young professionals and the HUGE number of aging baby-boomers. In short, most development seems to be overlooking the market for family housing (generally considered 3 bedroom or more). Why can't we make Affton the attractive haven for families? It's close to the City and it's amenities, yet primarily suburban in layout. I think the hipsters with kids will appreciate this fact if we market to them. The housing has to be affordable. Read this disturbing story on the lack of available housing for families.

Here's what we need to change NOW: Our school districts are far better than the city, but are not up to snuff with most of the County's. This is largely because the huge number of old folks in Affton will generally not vote for ANY tax increase. We will have to house and care for these people for a few more years before we get a hold of their property and begin the obligatory installation of Malibu Lights, so I think the focus really needs to be on businesses and attracting more of them. While I don't think the "Affton Wal-Mart" should be in our future ***SHUDDER***, we need to replace that Nestle plant on Heege with something VERY taxable immediately to replace the $300,000 annual shortfall to the schools. Furthermore, I'm very troubled that in the June 2002 Affton Community Plan only found ONE SINGLE site for major commercial redevelopment at the NE corner of Mackenzie and Gravois. I plan to get on the bike this weekend to locate more.

The next thing we need to focus on is lifecycle housing. If we attract young families to the area, they will only want to move away when they are ready for their second house as there are not many options for a "move up." I'm not sure why our Lakewood area has not yet seen a rash of development. I think the prices are about to bottom out and that is time to buy!

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