St. Louis transferred 97 acres to the federal government to build a new headquarters worth $1.75B for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, STLToday reported Thursday. City representatives expect the construction of the campus in the St. Louis Place area to create 1,500 additional jobs and establish over 3,100 permanent employees within six years.
The acquisition and preparation of the land has cost the city $114M. The debt will be repaid through state and local incomes taxes from NGA employees. Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation, said the campus is a “transformative project” to establish St. Louis as a “hub for geospatial excellence.” During Thursday’s transfer ceremony in the St. Louis Public Library auditorium, officials declared the project to be the largest investment the city has ever made, reports STL Public Radio. NGA director, Robert Cardillo affirmed the new campus ensures the NGA’s future success.
“The nation made a bet on this city and this region. We’re making the next installment on that. You’ve already returned on that investment through the talented employees, teammates, that we have today,” said Cardillo. “We couldn’t be prouder that we’re going to reinvest now in the community.”
On July 8, 2014, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the NGA selected six possible sites in the St. Louis area to replace its downtown headquarters. In 2016, the Obama administration’s push for urban renewal and the NGA’s desire to be near universities and employment hubs gave northern St. Louis the advantage over the other locations. It still took another two years of negotiations with landowners and countless hours of labor before the deal could be finalized, reports STLToday.
“Otis’ expertise and his prepared, tenacious and professional leadership have led us to today,” Lyda Krewson, the Mayor of St. Louis, said. “Without them and the hard work they put in throughout the process, this project would not have come together.”