$165M Mixed Use Project, 200 Microsoft Jobs May Be Next For Cortex

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Cortex_Four

According to a report from St. Louis Construction News and Review, Wexford Science & Technology will break ground this year on a $165M mixed-use project within the Cortex Innovation Community. Cortex is located in the city’s Central West End neighborhood and represents a collaborative effort between Washington University in St. Louis, BJC Healthcare, University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis University, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Wexford is by far the largest developer within the Cortex district.

The mixed-use project is shown across immediately north of the 4240 Duncan building. The site is east of the building under construction at 4260 Forest Park, which will be home to TechShop and AAIPharma Services Corp. (Alcami).

Among the new development planned is reportedly a parking garage, hotel, 250 apartments, and 40,000 sf of retail space. Images obtained by nextSTL show a slender 150-key hotel of about six stories adjacent to TechShop.

Cortex w_key

To the east of that is a District Hall, something of gathering place for Cortex. It is expected that this may become home to gatherings and events which are beginning to outgrow the common space available in 4240. The function, if not the form, may mirror that of the 12,000 sf District Hall in Boston’s Innovation District, where Cambridge Innovation Center and Venture Café will oversee operations.

To the east of the District Hall development, and appearing to share a parking base, is a high-rise residential tower labeled at 250 units. The majority of added retail is expected to be in this building.

Across Duncan to the south is 4200 Duncan, an additional five-story, $45M project planned by Wexford. A 1,000-car parking garage sits immediately to the east. In addition, the surface parking lot to the south of Cortex I is labeled for 150 residential units, but does not show a rendered building as do the other sites.

Cortex_Five{4200 Duncan}

Sources tell nextSTL that the 4200 Duncan building is likely to home to 200 new Microsoft jobs as the company establishes a new innovation center at Cortex. The St. Louis Business Journal also reported today that Microsoft is likely to set up shop soon.

4260 Forest Park is a three-story, $24M building. Wexford also developed 4240 Duncan, a $73M project. At the U.S. Metals and Supply building site, demolished this past year and currently used for parking, Wexford is planning up to half a million square feet.

To the east of IKEA and across Vandeventer Avenue and Cortex proper, Lawrence Group recently unveiled Cortex East, a $232M vision that would include office space, residential development and retail, to be branded an “Idea Market”.

East of Cortex:

East of Cortex_Lawrence Group 3East of Cortex_Lawrence Group 7

Along  Clayton Avenue at Sarah Street, significant demolition has cleared the way for additional development, and perhaps interim surface parking and development continues to claim other surface lots:

Cortex demo map Clayton_Sarah

On the other side of IKEA, planning continues for the Silo Loft development, though no timeline or confirmation of development plans have been revealed at this time. Silo Lofts rendering:

Silo Lofts at Cortex

And at Boyle, work is finally underway on a new MetroLink station at the heart of Cortex. This image is from a planning document now several years old:

Cortex MetroLink planning

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  • citylover

    Have to ask if the corner lot across IKEA is private property. Such a desirable location though I’ve noticed the grassy area has a fence around it. With gerhart block filling up, the standard active, IKEA open, and plans for federal mogul– what will this lot be?

    • Imran

      A few years ago there was a sizable brick building there( the American Baking company) that would have been great for reuse but was torn down by Cortex. The land I believe Is still part of Cortex and is being banked for some awesome (eye roll) project in the future.

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  • kjohnson04

    I’m just glad some work on the MetroLink station has finally started. Seems like an eternity since the federal grant money came in on that project.

  • Presbyterian

    CORTEX is really doing a great job helping build our region’s economy. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the neighborhood looks like as it reaches full buildout ten years from now.

  • Very exciting, but why is all the new construction in Cortex so modest in height? Such a visible location along Highway 40 and the MetroLink line commands a tall signature tower, don’t you think?

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think two stories is modest, 4-8 stories is probably ideal for building urban density, but there are at least two concepts for 10+ story buildings in this area. That’s not bad. Until land gets more scarce, I can’t imagine things going much higher.

      • Guest

        Sorry, Alex. I disagree. What should be built is collaborative effort in what potential residents, businesses and developers finds excites and seeds further development. In a big city the issue shouldn’t be whether a building is 2, 4-8, 10, 40 or 80 stories. It’s that it serves the purpose that draws people to want to live and work there. Creating ” “sensible” restrictions” is counter productive, IMO.

        • jhoff1257

          You said: “What should be built is collaborative effort in what potential residents, businesses and developers finds excites and seeds further development.” and “It’s that it serves the purpose that draws people to want to live and work there.” This is exactly what Cortex is doing right now. Developers are working with companies like Microsoft and TechShop and Wexford to design and build what they think will fit the needs of the area. I think it goes without saying the Cortex people and companies within the district have “seeded” development very, very well. Just look at the progress we’ve seen here in such a short time. The restrictions you speak of are market restrictions. Alex is right. Until the numerous vacant lots and surface lots are full of development and teeming with thousands of people the market isn’t going to push a building that high. No one here is suggesting that we add restrictions to what can be built. In fact, you’ve been the only one to mention both the words sensible and restrictions in this entire post.

        • citylover

          Mid rise buildings don’t bother me as long as they are hugging the sidewalk/ street. cortex has an urban feel. I do feel they need one or two 20+ story buildings, but I don’t think skyscrapers are a necessity for the area to thrive. Cortex is doing a good job. Would just like to see some more residential/ hotel growth. And it looks like it’s on its way. Plus this new metrolink station will be huge for cortex, CWE, the grove, and SLU area.

      • kjohnson04

        Although, didn’t waiting until land got scarce the reason we didn’t build more vertically sooner? That said, 5+ story buildings are ideal in this area.

        • Adam

          good point. maybe in certain relatively “hot” areas it’s wise to build vertically with an eye to the future?

    • John R

      Appears to me the residential tower/w possible base garage is of decent height. And of course there’s the tower as part of the East of Cortex vision.

      But even at Kendall Square in Cambridge, which Cortex essentially is modeling in many ways, building height generally is in the mid-rise range.

    • opendorz

      I couldn’t Agee more!