Microsoft Makes It Official, Becomes New Headline Tenant at Cortex

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Microsoft made it official today. As we and other reported last May, one of the largest companies in the world is making the city’s technology and entrepreneurial hub its regional headquarters. The new space will be home to a Microsoft Technology Center, where companies can learn how to integrate Microsoft products with their business.

The company said today that it would move its existing employees from suburban Creve Coeur to a new $21M, 180,000 sf building in the city’s Central West End. Microsoft plans to employ 150 at Cortex and occupy up to 40,000 sf. The building at 4200 Duncan is planned for a summer 2018 completion. The company has stated it will move 60 jobs and add 90 additional positions.

4200 Duncan is part of the planned $170M Phase III development announced in October. The residential component consisting of 200 apartments and a parking garage has been delayed, but the Aloft Hotel and Venture Cafe innovation hall are moving forward.

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Our previous reporting: Cortex Phase 3 Revealed: Aloft Hotel, 200 Apts, Retail, and Lab Space

cortex3_3

Today, Cortex will announce the next major phase of the redevelopment of 200 acres in St. Louis City’s central corridor. Located between the Washington University in St. Louis and BJC Healthcare campus and Saint Louis University, the technology and innovation district is home to more than 4,000 jobs and 250 companies.

While future phases have been expected for some time, this is the first confirmed expansion since the announcement of the TechShop building in 2014. The $170M Phase 3 could add nearly 1,000 additional jobs to the district. Images made available today present contemporary mid-rise infill, while previous speculation envisioned a high-rise hotel and residential addition.

Approximately 200 apartments will wrap a five-story, 1,000-car parking garage with first floor retail constructed north of Duncan Avenue. The residential component is being development Antheus Capital and Silliman Group, the same developers exploring options for a residential tower at West Pine and Kingshighway in the city’s Central West End.

cortex3_1{nearly 200 apartments will wrap a 1,000-space shared parking garage}

cortex3_2{150-room Aloft hotel and adjoining restaurant}

cortex-3_2

The new building immediately to the east of 4240 Duncan will total 180K sf and be developed by Wexford (top image). Long reported to count Microsoft as a future tenant, no confirmation is expected as part of today’s planned announcement.

Venture Cafe, depicted in previous images as moving into a new space on the north side of Duncan Avenue, is now planned to have a home in this building. The organization hosts an every-Thursday gathering that attracts nearly 500 attendees. A 150-room Aloft hotel will be constructed immediately east of the TechShop building.

While a definite construction timeline has not been shared, it is expected the project will get underway in early 2017. A subsidy request for the development have yet to be made. Tax increment financing (TIF ) of $168M has been authorized for the Cortex district. Today’s announcement does not include plans for Koman Group’s recently purchased 3.3 acres within Cortex. Cortex Phase 3 appears to cover very roughly 1/5th of the remaining developable land within Cortex itself, without any additional demolition.

cortex-3_1cortex-3-aerial

*this story will be updated with additional information

Previous images of Cortex Phase 3:

Cortex w_keyCortex_Five

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Full statement from Cortex:

Microsoft to open new regional headquarters and technology hub in St. Louis, in state-of-the-art facility being developed by Wexford Science + Technology

The Cortex Innovation Community today announced that Microsoft Corp. will open a new regional headquarters and a Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in a state-of-the-art facility inside Cortex, located in St. Louis’ Central West End district. Microsoft’s commitment in St. Louis will bring more than 150 employees to the 29,000-square-foot facility that will be located within Wexford Science + Technology’s latest building in Cortex, and the technology giant is investing more than $50 million in local jobs, facilities and software grants.

Cortex was founded in 2002 through a collaboration among BJC Healthcare, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis. The district has grown into the Midwest’s leading hub of innovation and technology commercialization, and was cited by the Brookings Institution as a model of urban innovation districts.

“Adding a pillar of technology innovation like Microsoft to the Cortex community is a great validation of our mission,” said Dennis Lower, president of Cortex. “The new Microsoft Technology Center brings another leading-edge technology resource to St. Louis’ booming innovation community, and its presence adds further credibility to the reality that St. Louis has become one of the leading growth cities for innovation companies.”

The new MTC in Cortex, designed by architecture firm HOK and expected to open in summer 2018, will support the technology-driven community with unique amenities and showcase the latest technologies that drive digital transformation across many industries, with a special focus on healthcare. At more than 40 locations worldwide, MTCs bring together resources that help companies explore Microsoft products while interacting with tech experts and experiencing firsthand how Microsoft and partner technologies can help them grow their businesses.

Among the benefits MTC staff can offer to organizations in the region are the following:

  • Help on projects such as strategy briefings, architecture design and proofs of concept
  • Find solutions that add business value and help grow the local economy
  • Bring together resources to help businesses explore the potential impact of cloud, mobile and social business solutions
  • Help companies optimize their cloud investments to get the most from their technologies

“Opening a new Microsoft Technology Center in the thriving Central West End district is exciting for our company and our customers, as St. Louis continues to support a booming technology scene,” said Ervin Flores, general manager, Mid-America District, at Microsoft. “We are thrilled to support local startups, as well as enterprises large and small, through our work with the Cortex Innovation Community.”

Beyond serving businesses and partners, MTCs are committed to serve the broader community and local organizations through software grants and educational programs. Students, nonprofits and those they serve will have the ongoing opportunity to experience and access technology solutions and expertise through programs such as DigiGirlz and Hour of Code. Microsoft has a longstanding relationship with the Saint Louis Science Center, which has hosted DigiGirlz events for nine years and recently received a $1.1 million grant from Microsoft to support youth access to computer science education, coding, technology skills and technology careers. The grant will fund opportunities spanning training, entrepreneurship and employment.

Microsoft also aims to positively impact the city through strategic partnerships that offer free and low-cost cloud offerings to students, educators and nonprofits.

“Wexford Science and Technology is excited to have the power of a Microsoft Technology Center as a critical anchor of our next building within the Cortex Innovation Community,” said James Berens, President and CEO of Wexford Science and Technology. “This represents another important step in the continued development of a dynamic Knowledge Community that brings together intellectual capital, innovation and infrastructure providing a center of gravity and congregation for the well recognized innovation and entrepreneurial activities taking place in Cortex and across St. Louis.”

FACTS ABOUT NEW MICROSOFT FACILITY 

  • Microsoft Corp. will open a new regional headquarters and a Microsoft Technology Center in a state-of-the-art facility inside Cortex, located in St. Louis’ Central West End district.
  • The office and Microsoft Technology Center will open in summer of 2018.
  • Microsoft’s commitment in St. Louis will bring more than 150 employees to the 29,000-square-foot facility in the new Cortex building at 4220 Duncan Ave.
  • Microsoft is investing more than $50 million in local jobs, facilities and software grants.
  • Microsoft is also committed to serving the broader St. Louis community. It has a longstanding relationship with the Saint Louis Science Center, which has hosted DigiGirlz events for nine years and recently received a $1.1 million grant from Microsoft to support youth access to computer science education, coding, technology skills and technology careers. The grant will fund opportunities spanning training, entrepreneurship and employment.
  • The new Microsoft Technology Center will support the technology-driven community with unique amenities and showcase the latest technologies that drive digital transformation across many industries, with a special focus on healthcare.
  • At more than 40 locations worldwide, Microsoft Technology Centers bring together resources that help companies explore Microsoft products while interacting with tech experts and experiencing firsthand how Microsoft and partner technologies can help them grow their businesses.
  • Among the benefits Microsoft Technology Center staff can offer to organizations in the region are the following:
    • Help on projects such as strategy briefings, architecture design and proofs of concept
    • Find solutions that add business value and help grow the local economy
    • Bring together resources to help businesses explore the potential impact of cloud, mobile and social business solutions
    • Help companies optimize their cloud investments to get the most from their technologies
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  • OpenSourceGuest

    I suspect that Microsoft is expanding to cortex with 90 net new jobs to sell their proprietary products/software. The jobs might be biz development, sales, marketing, and training but not tech jobs. The Creve Coeur office has a several training rooms. It looks like they are coming to “train up” local area companies so that these companies will use Microsoft products. It’s not creating jobs for developers to create innovative products, using open software. I would like to see them create jobs where high tech skills are being used and fairly compensated with high salaries. This is what will bring up the region. Less good is still some good with some 90 non-tech jobs.

  • Nah

    So basically there’s all this celebration before we know how much public money will pay for a relatively small number of jobs.

    • JH

      while i understand the need to tag a $ amount to a particular project. But there are certain things that cannot be measure, intangibles, if you will.

      I am of the opinion that there is a huge intangible of having the name Microsoft at literally, the center of what is becoming a midwest version of Silicon Valley.

      Not to mention the continued & additional investments by Microsoft into the community.

      While we shouldn’t just throw money at something, this seems like no brainer.

      • STLrainbow

        It’s worth watching, but other than the TIF package already approved for Cortex/Wexford for the building itself I don’t think there are any additional public incentives involved here.

  • Steve Kluth

    It’s not just the jobs here. It’s the name. Microsoft, love ’em or hate ’em, is an important prestigious name which will attract more people and attention than a local company that may employee twice as many people.

  • John

    Looks great! I hope this spurs more growth and development in the booming region.

  • RyleyinSTL

    “residential component consisting of 200 apartments …..has been delayed”

    Boo

    Saying that, it’s nice to see a County to City move, even if the job numbers are small-ish.

    Seemed like it was news to the Governor that MS was even in the state to start with…

    • STLrainbow

      In addition to Microsoft relocating to Cortex from the County, Alcami should be ditching S, Lindbergh shortly for the move into their new home at the @4260 Building (where TechShop is located). iirc that”ll be about 120 jobs.

  • mc

    Great news for the City of St Louis and for the CWE neighborhood. I think Cortex was one of the greatest ideas ever for our city and I see it growing continuously in the future. Imagine what it will look like in 10 or 15 years. The central corridor will be booming!

  • BritishWhiteMale

    Whatever helps St. Louis to increase job numbers by 90 persons.It would still be good for the region. I hope it all works out.

  • PD

    I kinda figured Boeing was already he biggest name down there. Also I was kinda hoping to see a new alderman for the 17th but hey. I guess the old Rob is getting things done.

    • Riggle

      I think Boeing has about 5 people there. This is big because its not a County company opening a tiny show office in the City to prove they are “progressive” in some way, but actually moving their real operations.

  • tony

    So does anyone know how many employees are currently working in the Creve Coeur office?

  • Terry

    I was a little confused watching the news conference, the Governor was welcoming Microsoft to Missouri, I thought they were just moving in from Creve Coeur.