City of St. Louis to provide land to federal government at no cost to move NGA West headquarters to North St. Louis

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WORKING TO KEEP NGA IN ST. LOUIS: Federal and State leaders joined St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay March 7 announcing the City's ability to deliver a 99-acre site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at no cost, as well as a Community Workforce Agreement with the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council ensuring that nearly 40 percent of all labor hours on the $1.75 billion construction will go to minorities. Officials hope the proposal will prompt NGA officials to choose the North St. Louis site for relocation of the defense agency facility. – Labor Tribune photo

Building Trades commit to 37.81 minority labor to keep project in St.Louis

St. Louis – Federal and State leaders joined Mayor Francis Slay Monday, March 7, to announce the City's ability to deliver a 99-acre site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at no cost.

Mayor Slay informed NGA Director Robert Cardillo of the City's plan to provide the land at no cost during a private meeting in the Mayor's Office March 4.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay and other state and local officials joined Slay March 7 to publicly announce the plan, which includes a Community Workforce Agreement with the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council ensuring that nearly 40 percent of all labor hours on the $1.75 billion construction will go to minorities.

Building Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Aboussie sent a letter summarizing the agreement to Cardillo, who is expected to announce the new site for NGA West this month. In the agreement, the Council proposed at least 37.81 percent of all labor hours on the facility would go to minorities, which more than doubles the 17 percent inclusion goals set forth in federal guidelines.

The Council also proposed that at least 23.28 percent of all labor hours would go to St. Louis city residents, and 6.9 percent of all labor hours would go to women.

“We hope that this proposal will help to keep the NGA headquarters within the City of St. Louis,” Aboussie wrote.

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Blues April 4Officials in the Metro East are lobbying hard to relocate the NGA West facility to a location adjacent to Scott Air Force Base.

The innovative St. Louis plan will help the federal government support the goals of the Promise Zone (governor.mo.gov), as well as the Executive Order (www.gsa.gov) supporting the construction of federal facilities in urban areas.

Blunt said he discussed Aboussie’s letter with Cardillo last week, adding that the NGA director said “‘This makes a difference.’

“And why wouldn't it make a difference, when you’re trying to do the right things when you’re trying to create opportunity? That is a significant commitment of what our building and construction trades are prepared to do. All those things really matter.”

Slay said the coordinated effort by state and local leaders has resulted in a proposal that meets all of NGA's criteria and makes the North St. Louis site the clear choice for its new state-of-the-art western headquarters

NGA Site
THE PROPOSED NGA West site in North St. Louis.

POSITIVE CHANGE

"We know that a new NGA facility in North St. Louis will catalyze (or bring about change to) an entire community," Slay said. "Jobs, economic investment, and the ability of the project to transform the neighborhoods near the old Pruitt-Igoe site will continue the revitalization we are seeing in other parts of the region's urban core. Not only is the NGA good for St. Louis, but St. Louis is good for the NGA. From our proximity to current employees and the next generation NGA workforce, to a ready-to-go construction force and our connection to the type of high-tech facilities on which our national security will rely in the future, St. Louis has built a strong case for locating the NGA West campus here in the City."

‘TRANSFORMATIONAL OPPORTUNITY’

"This is a transformational opportunity for St. Louis –and for the NGA," Gov. Nixon said. "Locating its new state-of-the-art headquarters in the heart of St. Louis will give the NGA access to the talent, technology, amenities and infrastructure it needs to continue protecting our nation here at home and enhancing security around the globe.

"Today's announcement further strengthens the City's proposal and makes the NGA's choice even clearer. St. Louis is where the NGA has made its home for more than 70 years, and St. Louis is far and away the best place for the NGA to build a brighter, more secure future."

The NGA is expected to name its desired site on April 1, 2016, to move its 3,100 employees to a new $1.75 billion intelligence campus.

As outlined in the final edition briefing book, the City of St. Louis is offering a well-connected, urban site at the intersection of N. Jefferson and Cass Avenues. A Next NGA West video also highlights how St. Louis will continue to help the NGA meet its mission, just as it has for the past 72 years.

If the St. Louis Development Corporation is successful in its efforts to retain the NGA, the State of Missouri, through the Department of Economic Development, has agreed to make available up to $95 million in Tax Incremental Financing and approximately $36 million in Brownfield Tax Credits.

This $131 million commitment by the state, in addition to a $1.5 million annual commitment for up to 30 years by the City of St. Louis, will cover:

  • Site acquisition, site preparation, and utility relocation and improvements;
  • A full highway interchange at Jefferson Avenue and I-64/Hwy 40;
  • Enhancements to N. Jefferson and Cass Avenues;
  • Delivering the land to the NGA at no cost.

Additionally, the City is working with Metro to adjust its current and planned rail and bus networks to connect NGA to the transit system as strongly as possible.

LETTERS OF SUPPORT

Governor Nixon joined U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill, Roy Blunt, and Kit Bond (retired), St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, and the NAACP and AFL-CIO, to name a few, in writing letters of support for the City's project.

BUILDING TOGETHER

Those letters also highlight the Building Trades’ innovative minority workforce recruitment plan for construction of the facility.

"Locating NGA within an urban setting is the only environmentally responsible solution that also promotes environmental and social justice, as well as economic equality," Slay said. "We truly value and welcome NGA and their employees into the next great neighborhood of St. Louis. The many benefits to the future of both St. Louis and NGA are immeasurable, promising and exciting."

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