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Microsoft to move into St. Louis’ Cortex

Courtesy Wexford Science & Technology
Rendering of the building at 4220 Duncan Ave., in the Cortex Innovation Community, which will be anchored by Microsoft.

Microsoft is coming to the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’ Central West End.

The Washington state-based company will open its regional headquarters and a Microsoft Technology Center to serve as an anchor for a new tech building at 4220 Duncan Ave.

Microsoft district general manager Ervin Flores said the available talent in the region was a big factor in choosing St. Louis.

“If you think about St. Louis, the universities that you have here and Cortex and the innovation that’s happening here,  in our business, we’re in technology but really we’re in the people business,” Flores said.

Microsoft is expected to invest $50 million in the facility and bring 150 jobs to the city. Sixty of those positions are moving from a local Microsoft office in Creve Coeur. The new jobs are part of Microsoft’s expansion of the St. Louis office to include a regional headquarters as well as a Microsoft Technology Center.

Flores said the company has 40 technology centers around the world.

“These are very high-end, with the latest technology, so to put one in St. Louis is a significant investment,” he said, “because now we’re going to be bringing customers here to experience new technology in that location.”

The new building is being developed by Wexford Science + Technology and will be 150,000-180,000 square feet. Cortex chairman Hank Webber said about half that space is already leased, with Microsoft taking about 29,000 square feet.

He said having Microsoft choose the St. Louis innovation district is a big show of confidence and likely will lead to more companies moving in.

“It is national and international recognition from one of the great technology firms of the world that this is an important place to be,” Webber said.

Microsoft expects to open the new technology center in the summer of 2018.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

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