Scott's BRAC survival delights realtors

Ann Knef May 19, 2005, 3:56pm

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Reps. Jerry Costello and John Shimkus huddle while awaiting the official phone call on Scott's BRAC status on May 13.

Like so many folks in the Metro-East--be they influential public figures, industry leaders or your average home owner--O'Fallon realtor Suzie Vouk is delighted that Scott Air Force did not show up on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list.

"We do a tremendous amount of relocation services with military and civilian contractors--and government employees attached to the base," Vouk said. "They are a part of our community."

Vouk's Coldwell Banker O'Fallon branch amassed $380 million in real estate sales last year, she said. Naturally, the impact of closure would hurt sales, but also it would have devalued property.

"If supply is high, value plummets. Our office would (have been) significantly impacted by base closure," she said.

While business and community leaders held their breath awaiting the BRAC announcement on May 13, there appeared no hesitation by developers and home buyers in the months leading up to the announcement to stake claim in the Metro-East.

ReMax realtor Susan Holden pointed out that the regional growth trend in the St. Louis metropolitan region is moving eastward.

"St. Louis discovered us," she said. "There are so many coming over and finding that life is good here. The schools are better. The sun is on your back in the morning and evening. And, you get more house for your dollar."

Holden said there appeared to be subtle confidence in the real estate market during this base closure period, compared to 10 years earlier when area leaders fought to keep Scott AFB from closing.

"The difference is that the market did come to a halt then," she said. "That wasn't the case this time."

Julie Plummer of Prudential Realty, which recently opened an office in Shiloh, echoed what many had on their minds about Scott's future.

"Obviously, we're very pleased with the announcement," she said. "Scott Air Force Base is such an important part of this area to so many businesses and families."

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