Webster University has been sued for non-payment of rent on the downtown St. Louis campus

street. Louis — Webster University is facing allegations that it has not paid rent on its downtown St. Louis campus, adding to the private institution’s growing financial woes.

The owners of the Arcade Building on Eighth and Olive Street allege in a lawsuit filed in federal court in St. Louis on Friday that Webster owes more than $75,000 in interest, past rent and late fees after failing to pay the full amount owed from January through January. August this year.

The downtown location as well as the school’s main campus are located in Webster Groves in St. Louis County.

Webster signed a 20-year lease in 2016 for 54,000 square feet in the Arcade Building, nearly double the space she rented across the street in the old Post Office Building in a deal that city leaders hailed at the time as a boon for downtown and redevelopment.

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Patrick Giblin, a spokesman for Webster, said the university does not comment on pending lawsuits. Lathrop GPM attorney Emily Cantwell, who represents the ownership group — the Minneapolis-based entities of Dominium Holdings — declined to comment.







Webster University has been sued for non-payment of rent on the downtown St. Louis campus

A sign advertising Webster University’s downtown St. Louis campus in the Arcade Building at Eighth and Olive Streets as photographed Tuesday, September 5, 2023.


Laurie Clerk, post-post


The suit is another sign of trouble for the university, which for years has lost students and tens of millions of dollars in a competitive higher education environment. Investments in its science and business programs have not yet yielded the windfall enrollment rates officials relied on. Its credit rating fell as analysts questioned a recovery. Webster, known by a large number of its universities around the world, closed many of its space sites.

The university has had a downtown presence since 1975 when it operated a campus in the former Boatmen’s Bank building on Broadway, according to its website. It later moved to the Lammert Building on Washington Avenue, home of technology incubator T-REX, before moving a few blocks east to the old Post Office building in 2006.

Webster’s deal for the Arcade Building, located at 810 Olive Street, was key to the redevelopment moving forward. The building was built in two phases in 1906 and 1909 in the Gothic architectural style and features a two-storey vaulted passage. It was used as one of the first indoor malls in the country before being abandoned in the 1970s.

One attempt to redevelop the property during the Great Recession failed, prompting several lawsuits and the city to seize the property.

Dominium said in its lawsuit that the city had “enticed” it into redeveloping the Arcade Building and that it needed a “credit tenant” or financially stable tenant to move forward.

“The credit tenant located is Webster, the same tenant who has now breached his lease obligations … and has placed the plaintiff at significant financial risk, despite all of the plaintiff’s efforts to revitalize downtown at the city’s request,” the lawsuit states.

In addition to Webster, the Arcade Building also houses approximately 300 apartments.

Webster University has been sued for non-payment of rent on the downtown St. Louis campus

Webster University has been sued for non-payment of rent on the downtown St. Louis campus

Webster University is facing financial pressure due to delayed enrollment and debt that outweighs earnings.




With annual losses reaching $25 million, Webster University is looking to focus on students


College enrollment across St. Louis has failed to rebound after the sharp decline in the pandemic


International students returning to St. Louis after the pandemic and declining immigration

Webster University has been sued for non-payment of rent on the downtown St. Louis campus

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