News | 09/21/2012
Expect an announcement of major new development soon at Cortex, say area economic development professionals.
The biotech hub more formally known as the Center of Research Technology & Entrepreneurial Exchange has request tax increment financing (TIF) to help with a $3.2 billion redevelopment plan for an area east of the Washington University medical school campus, said Dale Ruthsatz, director of commercial development at the St. Louis Development Corporation.
The TIF requested is slated to go before the St. Louis TIF commission on October 30, he said.
Cortex previously developed a headquarters building for Solae and a speculative research and wet lab building, both along Boyle Avenue. It is in the process of developing another 200,000 square foot research building at the corner of Boyle and Duncan Avenues for BJC.
Ruthsatz said the new plan calls for mixed use development in the Cortex area with houses and retail space in addition to research offices and labs.
Eric Gulve, president of BioGenerator, said the expected announcement of new development indicates how far the region has come in laying the groundwork to become a center for bioscience and biotechnology.
BioGenerator is a privately funded, non-profit created to facilitate the formation of science companies in the St. Louis region through the provision of seed money to help bioscience entrepreneurs start new companies. It is associated with Cortex.
"When I came to BioGenerator in 2007, we were invested in seven companies; now we're funding 33. Then, we were the only fund; now there are multiple groups providing seed money and four or five groups providing pre-seed money," Gulve said.
St. Louis cannot compare to the big biotech centers of Boston, Raleigh, or San Diego, "but, we've positioned ourselves well among regions that are trying to develop this industry," he said at a meeting this week of the St. Louis chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women).
Gulve said the coming announcement will contain specific information about the next building to be built in the Cortex area, including the possible renovation of the Western Electric building on Duncan Avenue by Wexford Science + Technology, the developer of the BRDG Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the possible construction of a new MetroLink station to serve the Cortex area.
Cortex "has been actively negotiating to buy property in the area," Gulve said. "The region is really beginning to take off."