NGA reccomends north St. Louis as location for new $1.75B site; 3,000 employees

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -  The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's director recommends St Louis site for new federal spy agency facility. The 99-acre site in north city is at the corner of north Jefferson and Cass avenues.  The new headquarters location means 5,200 construction jobs.

The NGA has been in St. Louis since it was founded in 1942. It has since has outgrown its location in south St. Louis near the Anheuser Busch Brewery.

There are more than 3,000 employees who work for the NGA. The new site is projected to cost $1.75 billion to build.

Four locations were courting the development of a new site for the Federal agency. They are: North St. Louis City, Fenton or the Mehlville in St. Louis County, and Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois.

Illinois officials offered free land and $115 million in infrastructure improvements around the proposed St. Clair County site. They wanted the NGA to move to undeveloped farmland in St. Clair County near Scott Air Force Base.

St. Louis city proposed a 99-acre site in north city at the corner of north Jefferson and Cass avenues. Leaders in Missouri said they would match an offer by St. Clair County for no cost land. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Rep. Lacy Clay, and Governor Nixon held a press conference on March 7th to make that announcement.

The proposed site is expected to make a huge economic impact for the new location.  Land near the area is also under development by Paul McKee.   After more than a decade of promising a huge development for the St. Louis’s near north side, he plans to break ground on the first buildings this summer.

The official statement from the NGA:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will publish the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) April 1 for the Next NGA West project in the St. Louis area. The FEIS analyzed four sites and the environmental effects related to the construction and operation of a new, purpose-built campus for the agency. The FEIS identifies an environmentally preferred alternative and the agency’s preferred alternative (APA; Sections 2.7 and 2.8 in the FEIS).

Identifying the APA is an important step in the process to select a site that positions NGA to meet mission challenges for the next century.
“After careful consideration of all of the available information, I have determined that the St. Louis City site is the agency’s preferred alternative,” said Robert Cardillo, NGA director.

Identifying the APA included reviewing the final environmental analysis findings and a careful evaluation of each site using mission, security, laws/regulations/Executive Orders, cost and schedule criteria.

“The St. Louis City site provides NGA with the most technological, academic and professional environment for this agency to develop the capabilities and solutions necessary to solve the hardest intelligence and national security problems entrusted to us by the American people,” said Cardillo.
The APA is part of the National Environmental Policy Act process, and is not the final decision. A comment period begins April 1 and ends April 16 to allow for additional public input before the signing of the final Record of Decision (no sooner than 30 days from the release of the FEIS). The Record of Decision is expected to be complete by early June 2016.

The NGA site selection process began in 2012 when the agency announced plans to move from its current location at 3200 South 2nd Street and Arsenal Street. A series of planning studies, including an economic analysis, determined it would be less costly, quicker and less disruptive, to build a new facility rather than upgrade current facilities.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued this statement:

“This is a great day for St. Louis and a shining example of what is possible when Missourians work together across regional and party lines for the good of their communities. The NGA’s decision is a testament to the city’s innovative workforce and infrastructure, and the tireless leadership of Mayor Slay, our entire congressional delegation, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the many other business and civic leaders who were involved in this effort. I also want to thank members of the Missouri General Assembly for passing legislation last year to support the development of the north St. Louis site and pave the way for this transformational investment in the region’s future.”

St. Louis Regional Chamber has released this statement about the new NGA development:

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Director Robert Cardillo announced today the preliminary decision to relocate the NGA West campus to North St. Louis. While we understand that this is disappointing news for the other three proposed site locations, it is a great win for the St. Louis region. NGA’s commitment to the region is a validation of our quality workforce and longstanding contribution to national defense. The agency will keep its 3,100 high-skill, high-wage jobs in the greater St. Louis area. The significant $1.6 billion investment for the new NGA campus will create hundreds of construction jobs and incentivize further development in St. Louis City.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber fully supports beneficial public and private improvements considered within the St Louis bi-state region. We admire the elected officials and local economic development organizations that advanced their best efforts for sites within their jurisdictions. In particular, both St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay have shown effective leadership by getting strategic sites in their jurisdictions ready for the opportunity and always taking the high road regarding the alternative sites within the region. These efforts demonstrated what can happen when people come together for a common goal. We would like to see more public-private efforts like this to attract investment and talent into our region. Proactive communities attract more jobs, more people, and more prosperity for all.

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