Clayton residents pack into Centene expansion hearing

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CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) – It was standing room only Monday night at Clayton City Hall.

The Clayton Plan Commission and Architectural Review Board held a public hearing about the proposed $771.8 million Centene expansion, which has the potential to transform downtown Clayton into something it is not.

Centene officials say it would create as many as 2,000 jobs paying as much as $73,000 annually.  It would also result in at least $4 million in annual payroll tax for the state.  It’s a project that officials acknowledge many communities would love to have, but Clayton residents want to make sure they understand what impact it would have on their community.

The expansion is broken up into four sub-districts.  Clayco Construction developer Bob Clark described sub-district number-1.

“We're planning to build the 29-story building from Carondelet,” said Clark.  “It's 28 stories from Forsythe.  It has this transitional area here.  We would be incorporating additional parking structure that would attach to our parking podium.”

Former mayor Hugh Scott addressed the plan commission.

“My personal feeling about this project is that Clayton is lucky to have the well-financed developer in Centene, and a very experienced contractor in Clayco,” he said.  “While we are fortunate in this, the project is a massive one by Clayton standards, and we need to get it right.”

Clayton resident Barb Abbett said, “During most of our meetings we repeatedly expressed our residents’ primary concerns that the size and density of the project Centene wants to build is just too big, not just for the site, for all Clayton citizens.  We think it will literally line our streets with parking garages.”

Another public hearing is scheduled on the matter.  It will take place August 15, likely in a different location so as to accommodate the crowd.

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