STL Central Corridor Strategy on Target for Region's Future


by Dick Fleming, Chairman and CEO of Community Development Ventures, Inc. 

St. Louis' Center City Regeneration Continues: the City’s approval of Tax Increment Finance funding for the City Foundry this week adds to the ongoing regeneration of St. Louis’ Center City, with major investments committed in 2016 and 2017. 

The Lawrence Group’s City Foundry Food Hall & Market mixed use development has the potential to become St. Louis' version of Seattle's Pike Place Market, Reading Market in Philadelphia, Chelsea Market in NYC, Detroit's City Market, D.C.'s Eastern Market, and Lexington Market in Baltimore.

The $134-million City Foundry Food Hall & Market announcement joins other recent major investment and development announcements in St. Louis' Center City, including:

Phase 3 of the 200-acre CORTEX Innovation District, a $100 million investment in new tech space, office facilities, a lab, and a boutique hotel in the nationally-recognized life sciences innovation district adjacent to Downtown's western border;

The announcement in 2016 by the federal government that the new $1.75-billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) HQ will be built on 100 acres at the heart of the 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration Mixed Use Office, Tech, Retail and Residential Development (several blocks north of Downtown St. Louis);

The $220-million Phase 2 of Ballpark Village will include new office, residential and retail development;

A 100,000 square foot new $43.5-million office building will be built by the Koman Group in downtown, on a block west of Busch Stadium;

Telesis Corporation of D.C.'s  announcement that they will co-develop the first phase 1000-units of the planned 3,000 market rate residential units at NorthSide Regeneration (NSR) --- Telesis has built 29 successful urban residential developments around the nation over the past 30 years. The initial 1,000 residential units will be on the eastern and northern perimeters of the new 100-acre NGA HQ site. The St. Louis Urban Land Institute (ULI) chronicled the NSR residential development announcement:

New center city residential development in STL builds on STL's Top Ten Rising Cities, where homeownership is still affordable;

In the Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District, the Lawrence Group is now completing the Hotel Angad and the renovation of the Missouri Theatre Building as the new corporate HQ for Bull Moose Industries;

And, the 38-acre former Pruitt-Igoe Site, part of the 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration Development, will soon house the first phase of a HealthWorks Village --- a new hospital --- on the southern half of the site. The northern 17-acres is planned to become a Defense & Security Innovation District, including offices, accelerator/incubator space, and two hotels.

The overall opportunity to connect these new and other developments, as well as existing development in St. Louis' center city, into mixed use center city would have both substantial economic and place making benefits for all of St. Louis.

NGA Director Robert Cardillo cited these city building and place making opportunities in the announcement of his decision to locate the new NGA Headquarters Complex and its prospective 7,000+ employees in St. Louis' Center City.

Director Cardillo clearly embraced this idea of CORTEX, Downtown, Grand Center, and NorthSide Regeneration/NGA becoming a virtual mega innovation district --- which was the picture painted by tech, political, religious, business, and labor leaders in the attached video as the best place for NGA to retain and attract talent.

Let's pull together in 2017 and beyond to fulfill this remarkable potential for St. Louis.