Cortex district CEO Lower leaving after decade of growth

Cortex Innovation Community President and CEO Dennis Lower will step down at year’s end after close to a decade overseeing the development of the St. Louis technology district.

Dennis Lower | Via Cortex Innovation Community

The district has grown more than ten-fold since Lower was hired, according to a press release, from 35 companies in 2010 to 390 businesses and academic units with more than 5,700 employees today.

“Dennis has done an exceptional job building and growing Cortex,” Hank Webber, chairman of the board of Cortex and executive vice chancellor of Washington University, said in the release. “His contributions to economic advancement, innovation and inclusion have been remarkable.”

Established in 2002, the 200-acre district in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood is a collaboration between BJC Healthcare, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis University, the University of Missouri–St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Cortex has attracted startup, corporate and academic tenants, spurring the redevelopment of numerous properties that were either abandoned or vacant.

The neighborhood has seen $1 billion in private development over the last four years, according to the release. Cortex backers want the area to continue that growth, eventually accommodating more than 15,000 workers.

Cortex will commence a search for Lower’s replacement. The departing CEO may remain involved in a consulting capacity, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.


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