Boeing Set to Hang a Shingle at Cortex

nextSTL has learned that Boeing will be setting up shop in Cortex, the 200 acre technology innovation district in the City of St. Louis. An official announcement is expected soon. Boeing would be by far the largest company to buy into the rapidly evolving district.

In December, Boeing detailed plans for realignment of its Research & Technology Unit for Growth and Productivity. It was announced that a new research and technology center in St. Louis would focus on systems technology, digital aviation and support technology, and metallics and fabrication development.

That center is expected to grow to employ 300-400, according to Boeing. The target move date was stated as the end of 2015.

The company says that these new centers are expected build networks of collaboration with university, industry and government research centers. It’s expected that this unit will be located within Cortex.

Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T) employs close to 4,000, and the company has said that St. Louis will grow from 12% of all BR&T jobs to closer to 25%. In total, the shift could add 500 BR&T jobs to the area, for a total of 1,000.

In May 2013 the Seattle Times reported Boeing would establish a new information technology center in St. Louis that would employ approximately 600, including transfers from Seattle and new hires.

Last week, Tom Osha, managing director of innovation and economic development at Wexford Equities, told the St. Louis Business Journal that Cortex is in negotiations with two Fortune 100 companies to hang a shingle in the burgeoning innovation district in the city’s Central West End.

Boeing was number 30 on the Fortune 100, and 95 on the Fortune Global 500 lists, with revenue of $81.7B in 2013. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Inc. is based in St. Louis. The company’s corporate headquarters are located in Chicago, and the Commercial Airline Group in the Seattle area.

The move by Boeing, and we’re hearing others in the near future, begins to set up a true innovation district where start up companies co-mingle with innovation outposts from some of the largest American companies.

At this time it is not known where Boeing will take up residence within Cortex. Half a million square feet of new research and technology space in on the drawing board for the U.S. Metals & Supply site. The Crescent building at the western end of the district had been eyed for office space, but has most recently appeared to be a target for residential conversion as Cortex seeks a mix of uses.

Announcements of new tenants and development at Cortex are becoming commonplace. The confirmation of an Ikea opening at Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues late last year put the now decade old project on the map for many.

Click here for more nextSTL Cortex coverage.

{500,000 sf of office space and 2,450 parking spaces are planned for Duncan Avenue at Sarah Street}

{new research space will replace the existing U.S. Metals & Supply facility}

{the proposed master land use plan for the Cortex district is starting to fill in}

*edit 04/21/2014

St. Louis Public Radio is up with a story confirming Boeing’s presence at Cortex. According to the report, Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s start-up arm, Ventures will occupy 7,500 sf in the @4240 Duncan building. It is possible that this will be the extent of Boeing’s presence in the start up district, or it could presage further investment. If nothing else, the name puts an outpost of a Fortune 100 company in the middle of St. Louis City. Read the St. Louis Public Radio report.


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  • John R

    Well hopefully this is just Boeing’s first commitment to Cortex…. getting @4240 is the first task at hand and this will help fill that up and allow Wexford to move on to other sites. I do wonder though if the timeline doesn’t align well for the larger Boeing tech research center to land at Cortex…. seems like the US Metals site is going to be at least a few years before its up and running. So if end of 2015 is the goal for Being, where could it go w/in Cortex?

  • samizdat

    I wonder how the obvious high-security needs of this unit will affect the design and site work of the building they will occupy.

    • moe

      In this day and age of terrorism and patent theft, I would think many of those buildings are very, very secure. Which is why many people that espouse sidewalk retail-ism are disappointed when many of these buildings cannot just be opened to the public.

      • Eric3497

        1. You mean trade secret theft. You don’t need corporate spies to steal a patent – patents are published openly!
        2. I’m not exactly sure how street-level retail would interfere with security. I work for a high-security company myself, and while access to the building is strictly controlled, I don’t see why ground level retail with a separate entrance could not be built. It’s not like somebody will tunnel through the ceiling in order to break into Boeing’s offices, right?

        • moe

          You are correct, I should have said corporate espionage to include all forms.
          As for public retail, there are many forms of insecurity that a retail unit could not prevent (well the could, but at the loss of so many patrons due to inconvenience they would not be profitable) nor could security measures for the rest of the building be implement at a cost which would not be prohibitive to the tenant. I refer to more than just a gunman or such, but such things as electronics surveillance, bio-terrorism, IEDs that would breach barriers, etc.

  • markgroth

    This is HUGE!

  • Don

    This is just incredibly exciting news. I really never thought I would ever see anything like this in St Louis.

  • Thomas

    Fun fact: McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was formed in 1939 in rented suites at the Chase Park Plaza. Boeing St. Louis is a descendant of that original company but it has not to my knowledge had a presence in the city limits since then. Today’s Boeing St. Louis is a very, very suburban-centric workforce so this move is a big, unexpected, and honestly surprising given the current culture there. Pretty cool that these new offices will be within a mile or so of where the company was founded.

    • Thomas R Shrout Jr

      thanks. I love history.

  • Thomas R Shrout Jr

    Hello Boeing. I have a house for sale in the CWE!

  • Presbyterian

    This is very exciting news. These will be high-income research and engineering jobs. Huge win for CORTEX and the region. These are also projects that bring business travelers to the region. Between this and IKEA, I’m wondering how long before they announce a boutique hotel development somewhere along Forest Park Avenue.

    • John R

      I believe in the unofficial master plan hotel/retail was slated for the SE corner of Tower Grove and Clayton (across from Stix School). This would also make some sense with the new Tower Grove interchange.

      • Presbyterian

        I know there has been talk within CORTEX about wanting a hotel near the northeast corner of Cortex Commons, next to TechShop. I’m not sure whether they envision it fronting both Forest Park Ave and the Commons. Cortex already owns the building between Summers Printing and Legal Services on Forest Park. That talk was at the schematic planning / “this would be really cool” stage only … nothing definite.

        • John R

          Re TechShop… have you heard how this is coming along? I hope we get it!

        • shadrach

          I think the aLoft brand would be perfect for the area. I think Arch City threw that out a while back, completely agree.

    • Don

      Business travelers collect hotel points usually picking Hilton or Marriott (they have the most properties) and sticking with them. I expect to see plans for a Marriott Courtyard (there is one on Jefferson which probably does Wells Fargo business) and / or the Hilton equivalent Hilton Garden Inn in the near future. This is quickly becoming an idea location for both.

      • John R

        Hilton Home 2 (I think that is the name) will be coming right across the highway on Taylor and Choteau… right next to, and from the same developers as, the Aventura. So maybe Marriott Courtyard, or perhaps something more upscale will come to Cortex proper. Another advantage, btw, if they choose the Clayton/Boyle/Tower Grove site for hotel/retail is that it will be a 1/2 block from Metrolink.

  • Brian

    All of a sudden, I begin to wonder if there is enough space to accommodate growth in future years. Perhaps they will leapfrog the eastern boundaries and head down Chouteau or up Vandeventer on the west side of Midtown. What’s that, Ballwin and Ellisville? You’ve changed your mind? We’ll have our people get back to you.

  • moe

    Well this certainly adds a different type of technology to the mix. Way to go Cortex!

    • tpekren

      Moe, You have to wonder if CORTEX will be the new tech hub as a smaller tech company recently announced that is moving from Locust street to Cortex and now Boeing, can’t recall name off the top of my head. The downside to all this is downtown will continue to struggle to find fill space let alone seeing new class A office towers for BPV, Bottleworks and now McKee’s Northside. The reality is Corporate America outside of tech and bioscience is merging, consolidating and downsizing.
      Great news either way, but would love to see a big move from one of the expanding life and bio science companies from either the west or east coast into CORTEX and Boeing announce something with BPV or McKee for downtown.

      • John R

        Manifest Digital will be taking its 40 employees to the @4240 building and probably add some more after the move. While that move does sting a little for downtown, I do think that quickly filling up Cortex with solid companies both small (Manfest Digital) and large (Boeing) will help solidify the district’s national reputation as well as Saint Louis City as a place to consider… the downtown tech scene will definitely benefit from Cortex success.