Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

CORTEX Shows off Its Latest Project

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

CORTEX Shows off Its Latest Project

Article excerpt

Less than five months after receiving a critical public incentive, the latest expansion of the CORTEX bioscience district is taking shape.

Conversion of a former telephone factory as laboratories and research space won't be done until late this year, but the district already has snagged a big-name tenant able to attract the kind of high-tech startups that the region's economic developers covet.

Cambridge Innovation Center, one of the nation's leading business incubators, will occupy 30,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the 1940s phone factory, at 4240 Duncan Avenue, which is undergoing a $73 million conversion as labs and research space.

CIC's CORTEX project, initially disclosed Wednesday, will be its first outside its home in Cambridge, Mass.

Dougan Sherwood, a CIC director, said St. Louis "has all the underpinnings of a really strong innovation ecosystem." He said his company hopes to house at the Duncan Avenue building as many as 100 startups in a variety of fields.

The region's universities and medical research facilities helped draw CIC, Sherwood added. Also playing a role was the CORTEX plan to develop its nearly 200-acre district as a lively, 24-hour Central West End neighborhood with thousands of workers and residents. A capper for CIC was attractive space at the former factory, he said.

"We're building this thing in the heart of the science community in St. Louis," Sherwood added.

Work on the building, just renamed @4240, began this spring after the St. Louis Tax Increment Financing Commission granted CORTEX nearly $168 million in public aid to help grow the technology district.

TIF commissioners voted in December to approve CORTEX's request for assistance in its $2 billion plan to transform its 187-acre Central West End district over the next two decades.

CORTEX's goal is to turn the area of old warehouses and factories into a hub for technology and medical research.

Dennis Lower, CORTEX's president and chief executive, has said the district will use $8 million to $10 million in TIF money on four current projects. …

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