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City and federal government soon to sign agreement on land for NGA facility

(courtesy Project Connect)
An artist's rendering of what the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency's new facility might look like.

The city of St. Louis officially owns all the land of the proposed new $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority closed on the last of the 551 parcels this month.

Soon the LCRA, the NGA and the Army Corps of Engineers will sign an options agreement for the land. Once they do, the city will have exactly one year to prepare the site.

“We will have to demolish all the structures, we will have to remove all of the utilities and remediate any environmental concerns that might be there and clear and grub the entire site,” said Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation.

The development corporation has begun issuing requests for bids and proposals for fencing, security and environmental abatement.

The city also plans to close on bonds early next month. Williams said they expect to sell $93 million in the first issue of bonds and another $15-16 million in the second.

That money will help pay for the site preparation.

The debt service will be paid over 30 years using roughly $1.5 million in NGA employees’ city earnings taxes and $5.75 million in their state withholding taxes.

While nearly all residents have moved from the site, two businesses are still operating. Trojan Iron Works is expected to move soon and Faultless Linens plans to move this spring.

Meanwhile, Jim Osher, the owner of the Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory at Jefferson and Cass avenues continues to fight the planned demolition of his building. He filed a federal lawsuit in October, but a judge has yet to rule on a proposed temporary restraining order. 

Early in 2018 the Army Corps will take control of the land and begin construction on the new facility. Completion is expected in 2023.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.