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CORTEX Unveils Phase 2 Growth Plans in St. Louis Bioscience And Technology Development

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CORTEX Unveils Phase 2 Growth Plans in St. Louis Bioscience And Technology Development
Dennis Lower, President & CEO of CORTEX, (far right) presented an overview of Phase II of its proposed $186 million development at a community meeting held in the lobby of its headquarters on Forest Park Boulevard in the Central West End.

CORTEX Unveils Phase 2 Growth Plans in St. Louis Bioscience And Technology Development
by Bob Moore,
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, October 23, 2012 - CORTEX, St. Louis' premiere hub of bioscience and technology research, development and commercialization, has announced significant next steps in its 25-year master plan for the Central West End district.

Phase II of its proposed $186 million development plan was unveiled at a community meeting held in the lobby of its headquarters on Forest Park Boulevard.

Dennis Lower, President & CEO of CORTEX, spoke enthusiastically to members of the audience about the vision to transform an aging 200-acre industrial area into a vibrant, technology district, creating a potential of 1,400 new jobs.

"From my perspective, this is the best place in St. Louis to grow a technology and research district. We have an old, tired industrial area that needs to be renewed. So we have to make investments to compete with infrastructure in the suburbs that is already in place and well established; where it is preceived from the public that it is a safe environment to live in; where there the streets are all new and there is plenty of entertainment and recreation and restaurants," said Lower.

Lower pointed out that St. Louis is up against some pretty stiff competition with major life-science and technology centers including San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle on the west coast to Boston on the east coast and all the way down to North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Recently, Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado have developed major life-science hubs.

He acknowledged that it generally takes about thirty-five years to develop research parks because everybody is trying to recruit established companies from all around the world. "It's very hard to get these companies to move because they have robust infrastructures and it's very hard to get them to move once they are established. Employees are key and often time they don't want to move, even to established centers."

"It's time for St. Louis to rise up and be part of this race," said Lower, adding that they will be successful in bringing some of those companies, but a big part of the strategy is for St. Louis to grow its own companies.

Facts obtained from a handout about the CORTEX Phase II development include:

  • Phase II will deliver 384,000 square feet of additional lab and office space, bringing the total to over 1,000,000 square feet of facilities on $350 million of investment since its inception.

    o BJC will build a 200,000 square foot, $45 million office building that will house 1,000 employees in the center of CORTEX.

    o In December, Wexford Science & Technology will invest more than $100 million in CORTEX through the purchase the 190,000 square foot historic Heritage warehouse building from CORTEX. Wexford will undertake a $73 million lab and office renovation, as well as contribute $7.35 million toward public infrastructure. Approximately 400 jobs will be created in the Heritage building on Duncan and Boyle Avenues.

  • Phase II includes a $26 million investment by Wexford Science & Technology to purchase the CORTEX I building.

  • Delivery of 1,400 additional jobs with an average annual wage of $55,000 to $60,000.

  • Creation of public infrastructure:

    o BJC will contribute $6.75 million toward public infrastructure development, and $4.9 million toward construction of the new I-64 interchange at Tower Grove and Boyle.

    o Washington University will contribute $4.9 million toward construction of the new I-64 interchange.

    o MoDOT will contribute $16 million to construct the new I-64 interchange that will serve as a new gateway entrance into the heart of the CORTEX district.

    o Roughly $15 million is being used for new streetscapes on Duncan and Clayton Avenues and a linear public park, CORTEX Commons.

  • Washington University has provided lease guarantees to Wexford for a portion of both CORTEX 1 and the Heritage buildings so that Wexford can secure favorable debt financing; Wexford is responsible for leasing approximately 60 percent of the space to commercial tenants.

    Washington University will lease a portion of the Heritage space to house its Office of Technology Management, making a strong statement and commitment to commercialize the University's world class research for the economic gain of the region.

  • CORTEX requires District developers to commit to the M/WBE goals reflected in City of St. Louis' Executive Order 28, and is currently evaluating and will soon finalize how best to advance workforce participation objectives in the current and future phases of CORTEX development.
Located in the City of St. Louis' "Midtown" area, CORTEX was founded in 2002 with a $29 million investment from founding partners Washington University in St. Louis, BJC Healthcare, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Saint Louis University, and the Missouri Botanical Garden - academic and research institutions that sought to leverage their resources and research to grow technology industry throughout the region.

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