The St. Louis chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) honored members at its 11th Annual Networking Awards held on March 3 at The Woman’s Club. In addition to honoring members, CREW-St. Louis introduced its inaugural Woman of Influence Award. The new award recognized a female leader who has impacted the commercial real estate industry through her leadership, accomplishments and service to the St. Louis region.
The awards revolve around CREW Network’s mission to influence the success of the commercial real estate industry by advancing the achievements of women, showcase the power of networking and demonstrate the organization’s support to the community. Those honored in 2016 were:
Woman of Influence: Amy Gill, CEO, Restoration St. Louis
Amy Gill has been a leading force in redeveloping some of the region’s most iconic buildings. Her and her husband, Amrit, have made an impact by rehabbing dozens of historic structures in the Central West End, Midtown, Soulard, The Grove and University City. Those projects include Hotel Coronado, The Moolah, The Carleton, Theresa Park Lofts, Lindell Towers, MotorWorks Lofts, The Cloisters and Loop Lofts.
As part of its “promise through repurposing,” the firm will transform the Adler & Sullivan 705 Olive building in downtown St. Louis into a luxury boutique hotel. Restoration St. Louis announced plans to redevelop the nearly vacant building built in 1893 into a Hotel Blackhawk. The $50 million renovation will include 130 rooms and a dozen condos on floors 13 and 14.
“Amy’s vision and dedication to preserving these historic structures deserves recognition,” noted Monica Conners, president of CREW-St. Louis. “Most importantly, she has revitalized many of our communities through her belief in ‘urban husbandry.’”
New Member of the Year: Cara McKedy, Remiger Design
After joining CREW-St. Louis, McKedy became active in the organization. She accepted a role on the programs committee. She now serves as co-chair of this important committee, which handles all the details in arranging tours of area developments, speakers on current trends and events impacting the industry, and educational programs.
CREW Impact Award: Vicki Dolan, Gershman Commercial Real Estate
Dolan was lauded for her longstanding involvement in CREW-St. Louis and the industry. As a charter member of CREW-St. Louis, she remains active in the organization. She previously served as president and maintains a leadership role on the executive board.
She has become the chapter’s top recruiter for new members. And she always takes time to help members find success as a networking wizard and sage mentor. Additionally, she promotes the CREW Foundation, the only foundation dedicating its resources solely toward advancing women in the commercial real estate industry.
Her industry experience runs deep. She entered the brokerage field nearly four decades ago when few women choose such a career path. Since then, she has established herself as a premier professional and trusted advisor to her many clients. She has been recognized as a top producer throughout her career and has received honors for her many industry, civic and charitable activities.
Economic Impact: Monica Conners, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership; Katy Jamboretz, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership; Nanci Napoli, St. Louis County Port Authority; and Kelly Cochran, St. Louis Title
(Joint Redevelopment of Westport Plaza by World Wide Technology and Lodging Hospitality Management)
The $95 million redevelopment of Westport Plaza required the expertise of several CREW-St. Louis Members. Conners and Jamboretz from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership worked tirelessly to find support from the state, county, Maryland Heights and other local agencies to push the project forward. Napoli provided support as a member of the St. Louis County Port Authority. And Cochran handled the closing work on the leasehold agreements.
The year-long effort will result in a revitalized Westport Plaza through a joint development by World Wide Technology and Lodging Hospitality Management.
When completed, it will be the new home for World Wide Technology’s global headquarters and will also include a significant upgrade to Westport Plaza. The 210,000 square-foot building will open next summer and accommodate up to 1,000 employees. As one of the largest privately held firms in the country, St. Louis-based WWT expects to add some 100 new employees annually throughout the region.
The new headquarters will become an integral part of the revitalized Westport Plaza. To support its new building, the joint project includes a 763-car public parking garage, a connection from the existing WWT Campus to Westport Plaza and major outdoor improvements to the plaza. In addition, LHM will begin capital and tenant improvements to the area to improve the overall experience for people who work or visit Westport Plaza.
Career Advancement for Women: Linda Loewenstein, Lawrence Group
Colleagues applaud Loewenstein for working to help others move forward in their careers. A member of CREW-St. Louis since 1983, she has always supported its mission by her actions. She consistently encourages other women to get involved, network and take advantage of opportunities. She has mentored many professionals throughout her highly successful career.
She founded Lawrence Group’s interior design group, Lawrence Group Colors, in 1984. It now is one of the largest interior design firms in St. Louis. She also founded and served as president of NICHE, Lawrence Group’s furnishings and design retail store. She retired this year.
Her projects have been published both locally and nationally in the American Institute of Architects Journal, St. Louis Magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Business Journal, and St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles.
Under her leadership, Lawrence Group has been ranked for several years as a Top Healthcare Giant, Top Hospitality Giant, and Top 100 Giant by Interior Design Magazine. In 2003, she was also selected as one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s 25 Most Influential Business Women.
In 2013, she started and led Lawrence Group’s “LG30” campaign to support 30 charitable community organizations, raising money and organizing volunteers throughout the year. Her passion for giving back has also led her to serve on multiple nonprofit boards over the years.