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13 May Ep. 15: Allie Fryrear of Red Brick St. Louis

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In this episode, Adam interviews Allie Fryrear, the director of marketing for Red Brick St. Louis.

Email questions to [email protected]

WHAT’S INSIDE

1:04-Adam welcomes Allie Fryrear, the director of marketing for RedBrickStL.com

1:48-What does the director of marketing do

2:16-Why Red Brick St. Louis doesn’t fit the investment property/commercial real estate firm description

3:00-Does marketing 1,200 units mean Red Brick has 1,200 vacancies

3:56-What does Allie do on a daily basis at Red Brick St. Louis

4:15-Red Brick St. Louis hosts neighborhood happy hours to help the tenants get to know each other

4:43-What does it mean to be a “recycler of architecture”

5:25-Who owns Red Brick St. Louis

6:28-The Old Coca Cola building now houses lofts and Perennial Artisan Ales in South City

6:56-Does Red Brick St. Louis partner with anyone to buy properties

7:39-What marketing is working

10:33-How many page views a day does the Red Brick St. Louis site get 11:18-Red Brick St. Louis is known for their HUGE banners. Where do they come from

12:06-Are there a lot of realtors that work at Red Brick St. Louis

12:38-Do the realtors specialize in any certain areas

13:00-How are Red Brick St. Louis’ apartment open houses different

13:39-What neighborhoods does Allie see as having the most growth potential

16:55-How does Allie feel about Hermann London’s hometown of Maplewood

17:30-St. Louis events Allie can’t wait to go to

18:48-What are Adam’s favorite things about Maplewood

20:50-Who lives under Allie’s roof

21:17-When is Allie at her best

21:29-What is Allie’s favorite podcast

22:12-What is Allie’s guilty pleasure

23:14-Who is Allie’s mentor and how has she thanked them

 

Allie Fryrear & Adam Kruse

 

  TRANSCRIPTION

Adam-Welcome to this week’s Hermann London Real Estate Group St. Louis Realtor Podcast. We are live here at The Hermann London Studios on the rooftop in beautiful downtown Maplewood, Missouri. We’ve got a big announcement. Today is actually our 7 year anniversary. May 12th, 7 years ago we started the company so we had a big company outing today and we all hit some golf balls afterwards. We are excited. I want to thank everyone who is listening, has been part of the company, a client etc. Thank you for helping to make us a success. We are celebrating with episode 15 of our podcast today and we have a very special guest in the studio. I’ve got to be on my best behavior because we actually have our landlord here. Our landlord, a representative for our landlord I suppose, Allie Fryrear is here from Red Brick. We are going to jump into some questions but first of all, welcome Allie, and if you don’t mind, go ahead and introduce yourself. Allie-Thank you for having me. I am the director of marketing for Red Brick St. Louis and I’m excited to be here. Congratulations on your anniversary. Adam-Thank you. What do you mean by Red Brick St. Louis? Do you guys have other offices? Allie-No. We just call it Red Brick St. Louis because we are mainly focused in the city. Adam-You say you are the director of marketing. That sounds like a big job title. Allie-I’m the head honcho of the big 1 person marketing department. Adam-What does the director of marketing do for an interesting company like Red Brick? Allie-I’m responsible for the marketing for 1,200 to 1,300 commercial and residential spaces all over St. Louis. I help to get those leased. Adam-Maybe I should take a step back and explain what Red Brick is. It kind of doesn’t fit a normal mold. You are not just a company that owns a bunch of investment properties and you are definitely not just a commercial real estate firm. Do you guys list properties for other people? Allie-We do a little bit of third party leasing for apartments but not on the commercial side of things. Adam-If someone owns a big apartment building they can hire you guys? Allie-Yeah but for the most part we own most of the big buildings we are doing the leasing for. We do some condos and a couple four families all over the city for third party owners. Adam-You said that you are constantly marketing 1,200 units. You don’t have 1,200 vacancies I guess. Allie-No. As of right now our residential occupancy is about 95%. It has grown 12% over the last year and a half. We’ve had a lot of changes in the company and a lot of exciting things happening. It’s been a fun year and a big adventure. Adam-That sounds like a good number. Allie-Yeah. It is a good number. Adam-If I owned 10 apartments I think I would want them all occupied but when you own…now when you said 1,200, is that buildings? Allie-No. That’s units. There might be 4 in one building. I think maybe 400-500 buildings. Adam-What are your daily job responsibilities? Allie-It can range from monitoring our social media reputation to meeting with vendors to planning events to having resident functions. Adam-Some of your buildings where you have multiple apartments you will host little events? Allie-We actually have neighborhood happy hours where we have large focuses of apartments. We had a downtown west, Central West End, and a Soulard one at Big Daddy’s last month. We just try to get the residents to come out, meet each other, and put a face to the name. Adam-So you are just out and about all the time talking to people. I noticed on your website that you call yourself a recycler of historic architecture. I love that. Did you come up with that? Allie-No I didn’t. Adam-You can take the credit. Allie-Okay. Yes. Thank you. No, but we definitely are. That’s part of the reason why we don’t fit the mold of larger commercial real estate or residential company because all of our buildings are old buildings that have been rehabbed so none of the units are the same so we don’t have that big 90 unit building where they all look the same. I have to take the pictures for every apartment listed on our site. Adam-You are a busy girl. Allie-I’m doing all the photos for commercial and residential spaces as well. Adam-Let’s talk a little bit more about the company. Who owns this company? Allie-Pete Rothschild is the owner. He is a big name in St. Louis. He started buying property I think around the 70’s and he kept buying and buying and it has blossomed into Red Brick. Adam-So Pete owns all of these properties and he started buying in the 70’s. Do you know anything about the market then? Allie-I think it was a down market and so he started buying when the market wasn’t so great and he kept buying from there and it grew and grew. His family actually owned Rothschild Antiques that was in the Central West End and that was one of our buildings. He’s turned into more of a real estate guy. Adam-I love that he keeps buying and buying. Any kind of property that becomes available for sale he is considering buying. Allie-They are constantly looking at things to buy. We definitely believe in saving old buildings. We have a building in South St. Louis that used to be an old Coca-Cola factory and it’s been renovated into 70 lofts and Perennial Artisan Ales is down there in that building. We have a project in Tower Grove that was in a pretty downtrodden building and it is now being renovated into 26 one bedroom apartments and those will be available starting in July. We’re renovating a warehouse on Olive in The Central West End into high-end apartments. Adam-I’m so intrigued by this. I don’t know how much information you have on this. Was he taking out loans? Independently wealthy? Allie-That I don’t know. Adam-Does he have business partners? Allie-We do have partners on some of the buildings. A lot of the South City portfolio we have partners on. We actually have a general contractor in our office as well and that is Blackline Development. That’s a branch of Red Brick and Rothschild Development. So, it’s Red Brick, Rothschild Development, and Blackline and we are all in the same office. It’s kind of in house which is pretty cool. Adam-I guess he’s just had to be really tough through the years and keep buying things. You are the director of marketing. It sounds like you do some Facebooking, taking photos, and having events. Of all the marketing you are doing, what is working for you? Allie-Twitter is a big area where we get a lot of traffic from re-tweets. People see a hashtag with the neighborhood like soulard and when we list our apartment people notice it. I will also say that we get a lot of leads from Zillow. Adam-I have not felt as old as when you mentioned Twitter and that’s embarassing because I feel like I know a lot about Twitter. I don’t understand why someone would go to Twitter to search for an apartment. Allie-They could be searching for anything in the neighborhood or a friend could see it and they pass it along. Adam-You will post something on Twitter… Allie-Check out this Soulard apartment. 2 bedroom 1 bathroom exposed brick #Soulard #STL Adam-Okay. Allie-And then put the link there. Adam-So you search Twitter for the word Soulard, find your link, and then Tweet you? Allie-Check out this apartment I found in Soulard! Adam-Do they click on the Tweet and contact you through Twitter? Allie-The link would take them to our website. Adam-So you are generating a lot of traffic to your website. This is a smart girl. Allie-Like I said, Zillow is the other huge one. Zillow in the past year has done some crazy things and they are now linked with Hotpad and Postlets and these other apartment marketing sites. I posted and apartment yesterday on Postlest and we already have 7 leads from all different sties. Adam-Do you post on Zillow directly? Allie-For rentals you have to post on Postlets. They actually got rid of their rental tool so it’s now moved to Postlets. Adam-You are using Zillow a lot but you are not necessarily paying for the ads? Allie-We do pay. Adam-You pay to make your listings featured. Allie-We have a couple of larger buildings that we pay for ads just because there are constantly people moving in and out so we will always have units there. For the smaller ones Postlets is free. Adam-How does all this tech stuff bring traffic to your website? I’m curious how much business comes from your website. Allie-A lot. We get about 5,500 pageviews a day on our website. I have posted apartments at 9:30 am and they are leased by 11 o’clock. People are refreshing and refreshing especially because Soulard is such a niche market and people want those historic buildings and that’s what they are looking for. When you are in the busy season like we are now, May June July, those are going to fly off the shelves. Adam-5,500 a day is fantastic. Another thing is that you guys have these huge huge huge banners on the sides of buildings. Where do you even print those? Allie-We use a lot of different vendors. We sometimes use A-1 in Soulard. I’ve used Fast Signs in Brentwood. Adam-They print that stuff that big? Allie-Oh yeah and they are very quick. I was using…I forget the name, but there was another one in Kirkwood and they had a great rep but he left, so I’m always shopping around for signmakers. Adam-Do you use track-able phone numbers on those banners? Allie-No. We don’t just because we are directing all the traffic to our website. Adam-Do you have several realtors that work at your company? Allie-We have 2 right now. I think there are a couple others that are not directly in our office but we have 2 in the office who are also working on the commercial side of things. Adam-So when you guys have properties available do you put them on the MLS? Allie-They always go on the MLS. If we have a house or large building for sale it is always listed on the MLS. Adam-But not your leases? Allie-No. Adam-When you have people that are in your office that are realtors or agents, do they specialize in one area? Allie-Both of our realtors in the office are on the commercial side of things. When they are working on the real estate side of things they are doing more residential. It’s really just a mixed bag. Adam-You also do open houses but not the typical ones that we think of. Tell me a little bit about that. Allie-Our open houses for apartment leasing are kind of different because we allow people to come in any time of the day during the week and they leave us with a credit card or something in exchange for the keys and we have a red key system. Available apartments are on a red lock so they get a red key and the deadbolts are all red on all of the doors and they can go to any of the apartments that are on our list and look at any of them. Adam-And you don’t have trouble with that? Allie-No. I don’t know that those people are going to be savvy enough to know we have an open house program. Adam-You seem to be involved and you go to all these neighborhoods. From your experience, what neighborhoods do you see as having the most growth potential? Allie-Central West End is just booming right now. There are so many developments going up. There is The Opus development on the corner of Lindell and Euclid. Adam-I saw that. What is it? Allie-It is going to be apartments on the higher levels and first floor commercial space. Adam-Do we need more apartments down there? Allie-I don’t know if we need more. I mean we always need more I guess, but there is so much going up. There is the Whole Foods development and there are apartments above that as well. There are hundreds of apartments being built in the Central West End right now. Also, I think The Grove is really growing. Adam-Hopefully that Opus development will have commercial on the first floor and parking on the next 7. Allie-I think there has to be some sort of parking going in because the Argyle garage is across the street and it is pretty much full. Adam-I was visiting a friend in Tampa that lived in a big building and the first floor was commercial and I think the next 8 floors was a parking garage and it was great. Allie-The Central West End definitely needs help. Adam-It needs parking. Allie-Yeah. And those meter maids are all over it. They will get you. Adam-I went to an event down there the other night and I think I drove around for 20 minutes looking for parking. What are the other kind of developments going on? Allie-The Grove. It is straight down Manchester down the road from you guys. There are coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and music venues popping up all over the place and I think the residents that live over there band together and are really proud of their neighborhood. Adam-Do you own much property in The Grove? Allie-We own the building that is connected to Atomic Cowboy. Adam-Where that Tower Classic Tattoos is at? Allie-Yeah. We don’t own much down there but they really have a strong neighborhood association. The marketing for their neighborhood is very strong. Adam-When you are driving down Manchester you see the huge Grove sign, there are new businesses, and they have Urban Chestnut now. Is the north side of Manchester or south side of Manchester have the better potential for growth for residential? Allie-I guess the south side. The north side kind of gets into the hospital development. There are a ton of houses that need a lot of work back there. I guess just all around it. Adam-Maybe between The Grove and Central West End. Is that were The Cortex is? Allie-Yeah. Cortex is back there and there is just a ton of incubators back there. That Cortex building is amazing? Adam-Have you been with Red Brick long enough that you have seen a major change here in Maplewood? Allie-I’ve been with Red Brick since December 2013, so a little over a year. I just think Maplewood, I mean, Side Project Cellar is really awesome. I think that Maplewood has always been a pretty strong neighborhood. Schlafly is right down the street and there are really great coffer shops. There have always been a lot of long term tenants here who drive a lot of traffic to the neighborhood. Adam-We love Maplewood and I think we want to stay, so please let us stay as our landlord. Allie-Absolutely. Adam-I was looking at your bio on your website. It looks like you are hip and like to get around. Are there any certain events or community things that we should know about that people should check out? Allie-I just bought my tickets to Loufest. Today was the secret sale. They are actually $50 for the 2-day pass. I love Loufest and I love that it brings a lot of out of town people to the city and that it has been growing over the past couple of years. Adam-So you are a music girl because you also mentioned the concerts at The Botanical Gardens. Allie-Yeah. That bio is a little bit dated. That was when I first started. I haven’t been to one of those in a while but those are really fun. You should check those out too. I actually live right by Francis Park in South City. I love going to anything in the park. They have art in the park and things like that. Adam-I’ve played some kickball on that court and it is fun to go and walk around. Allie-Yeah. They actually just put in a coffee shop in the middle of the park. It opened last week. Adam-Is it city owned? Allie-No. I don’t think it is. Adam-That’s neat. They just let someone open a coffee shop. Allie-It’s right by the tennis courts so all the old men can hang out there after they play tennis in the morning. They are going to make some good money. Adam-I’m going…unless you have any questions for me. Allie-What’s your favorite thing about Maplewood? Adam-Oh, you are throwing it back at me. Allie-Yes. I’m turning this interview around. Adam-One of my favorite things about Maplewood is that it is small enough that we can be involved in it. When we were looking for space around the city we looked downtown, Clayton, Kirkwood, and Maplewood. I wanted to be involved in something. It was neat to get our office in Maplewood. Within the first year we joined the chamber of commerce, made friends with other business owners, got on the economic development committee, and when I got to the different events, people know me name. I can go to The Post and when I walk in there they go, “NORM!”. He calls me that because I always wanted to have a place where I was known. That’s one of the things I love about Maplewood. The other is that now when we tell people our offices are in Maplewood, everyone says Maplewood is so cool and it is growing, and I guess it is. It’s one of these things now that I don’t notice the growth as much because I’m sort of used to it. It’s a great place to be and I live close. Allie-Everything down Sutton is really growing a lot. Adam-Right. There’s these new cool businesses. Allie-People may not see them if they don’t veer off of Manchester but there is a lot of great businesses down Sutton as well. Adam-I remember when the commercial market was going down like everything else was, a lot of the tenants that were on Sutton were moving to some of the vacant spaces on Manchester which give other businesses the opportunity to open on Sutton. I have 5 questions that I ask everybody and you know these already because you listened to all 14 other episodes. I just like to get to know you a little bit. Allie-Is this rapid fire? Adam-No, we don’t have to talk really fast. Who lives under your roof? Allie-Just me but I’m getting a puppy on Saturday. Adam-What kind? Allie-A golden-doodle. Adam-And where are you getting it? Not a puppy mill I hope. Allie-No. It’s from a farm. Adam-Is that a golden retriever poodle mix? Allie-Yes. It will be 50-60 pounds. Adam-Where are you your best? Allie-With my family. Adam-That is when you are most comfortable and shine? Allie-Oh yeah, with my sister. Adam-You are the marketing person and internet savvy. Do you have a favorite blog or podcast you listen to? Allie-I’m obsessed with This American Life. Adam-That’s on the radio on NPR, right? Allie-It’s on Sundays but all the archives are online and I listen to that all the time. Adam-What’s it all about? Allie-It’s all different stories. They tell really good stories and interview people. Adam-I think I’ve listened to that. Allie-They could be about a serial killer and the next week it could be about a farm. Adam-What is your guilty pleasure? Allie-Pizza. Adam-What’s your favorite pizza place in St. Louis, or top 3. Or favorite delivery and place to go? Allie-I really like Dewey’s. Dogtown pizza even though it is frozen. And Bono’s. Adam-Where is that? Allie-On Hampton. Adam-Is that a restaurant? Allie-Yeah. I’ve never eaten there but they have good carry-out pizza. Adam-Okay. I’ll have to try it. I always go to Jet’s on Hampton. Allie-Okay. That’s a national chain. Bono’s is St. Louis. Adam-Do I need to order anything in particular? Allie-On Tuesday’s they have buy one get one free. Adam-Do they have thin crust or thick crust? Allie-Both. Adam-Which one should I get? Allie-I like the thin crust. Adam-Competing with Imo’s. All right. All right. Who is your mentor? Allie-I guess my boss. I’ve learned a ton from her. Our president of property management. She was also in the marketing field. She is very internet savvy and very smart. Adam-Is that Louise? Allie-No. Angie Hart is her name. Adam-You have an active mentor who is still currently mentoring you, but how have you thanked her? Allie-I made her wedding invitations for her. Does that count? I think we have a good working relationship but also we talk easily and she is easy to be around. Adam-And she knows that you appreciate her and she will know now. I’m sure she will be listening. I guess that is it for today. Allie-Thank you for having me. Adam-I’m glad you came in. Thank you for coming in. We will send you a link. Allie-Yeah. I’ll put it on the Red Brick Facebook. Adam-And don’t forget to tweet it. Allie-I will. I will hashtag it Hermann London. Adam-Take care and we will see you for the next podcast coming up soon.

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