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Plans revealed for major Cortex expansion

The Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’ Central West End will undergo a major expansion over the next two years.

Developers announced plans Thursday for the district’s first hotel which will include a restaurant, apartments with over 200 studio, one and two bedroom units, approximately 20,000 square feet of street level retail, a new technology and lab building and an innovation hall to be used as a meeting space.

The project will also include a parking garage capable of accommodating almost 1,000 vehicles. Additional parking will be crucial once these new district amenities are added.

Credit Hannah Westerman St. Louis Public Radio
Cortex President Dennis Lower announces the expansion with representatives from developers and organizations involved in the project.

Cortex President Dennis Lower says the project is scheduled to begin next spring. 

“We have four developers and each of them has to not only do their own project but has to work together with the others on the team so that their component fits in and all together creates an incredible new exciting project which we call Cortex 3.0,” said Lower.

Lower says the expansion will create 1,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs.

Michael Holmes is the Executive Director of Slate, the St. Louis Agency of Training and Employment. He attended the unveiling Thursday to discuss how Slate and Cortex will work together to create long-term employment opportunities for St. Louis residents.

Credit Hannah Westerman St. Louis Public Radio
Executive Director of SLATE Michael Holmes called the expansion a "good day" for the district.

“I believe it’s important that we show in the district that residents in this region have the opportunity to get employment if they’re qualified for those jobs,” said Holmes.

The development is expected to be completed about the same time a MetroLink Station opens on Boyle Avenue in the fall of 2018.

The estimated cost of the Cortex 3.0 expansion is $170 million while the new MetroLink Station will cost $13.5-14 million. 

"What's on these parcels right now is nothing," said Lower. "So the basis is really low. So by putting these improvements, we're generating quite substantial real estate taxes, sales taxes and income taxes, employment taxes for the city, state and all the municipalities - or all the users of the city taxes."

Credit Hannah Westerman St. Louis Public Radio
Lower points to a map that details the area that will be developed in the Cortex 3.0 expansion.

Retailers and restaurateurs who will be located in the development have not been announced.