The Cortex life sciences research campus in St. Louis tonight will unveil a $186 million expansion that will double its size and, it hopes, add to its mix of tenants from biotech companies and spinout companies from the nearby medical schools of Washington University and St. Louis University by expanding into other tech specialties.
The expansion plan, dubbed Cortex 2.0, is intended to bring 1,400 new jobs and 384,000 new square feet of additional lab space and offices to the campus, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It will include construction of a new $45 million, roughly 200,000-square-foot office building for BJC Healthcare, a $3.6 billion-a-year nonprofit health care provider serving greater St. Louis, southern Illinois, and mid-Missouri regions. BJC’s new building is set to house 1,000 of the new employees.
BJC will contribute $6.75 million toward development of public infrastructure, and $4.9 million toward construction of a new interchange for Interstate 64 at Tower Grove and Boyle Avenue. Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will contribute $16 million and Washington University, $4.9 million, toward construction of the new I-64 interchange.
Plans also call for a $15 million new park along Boyle Avenue and a $73 million redevelopment of the 190,000-square-foot Heritage warehouse property on Duncan and Boyle Avenues by research park developer Wexford Science & Technology. Wexford is scheduled to buy the Heritage warehouse building in December from Cortex, then begin redevelopment work designed to accommodate 400 employees there. Wexford will also spend $7.35 million toward related public infrastructure for the Heritage building.
The expanded Cortex will grow to more than 1 million square feet of facilities and $350 million of private and public investment since the research park was established in 2002, with $29 million from founding partners BJC, Washington University, St. Louis University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
“Ten years ago we had a vision to transform an aging 200-acre industrial area into a vibrant technology district,” said John Dubinsky, chairman of Cortex, in a statement published in the St. Louis Business Journal. “Cortex has since become an unquestioned success, positioning St. Louis as an emerging, national center of bioscience, technology, and innovation.”
Dennis Lower, Cortex's president and CEO, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “It's our goal to create a world-class technology and innovation center right here. I think we're going to accomplish a lot.”