The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency plans to build its new western headquarters in north St. Louis, keeping 3,100 jobs in the city and bringing a $1.75 billion development to a neighborhood that has struggled economically for years.
The agency, which works with imagery and mapping in support of national security, is scheduled to make an official announcement Friday.
The news is viewed as a win for St. Louis and Mayor Francis Slay, who said keeping the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) facility within the city limits was his top economic development priority for 2016.
The agency chose the 100-acre site northwest of downtown over three other sites in the region: Fenton, Mehlville and St. Clair County, Illinois.
St. Clair County’s site, adjacent to Scott Air Force base, was thought to be north St. Louis’ top competition. Officials there offered land at no cost — an offer St. Louis then matched.
NGA officials said the St. Louis location fits well with the agency’s mission as it looks to modernize and attract top young technical talent. The decision also is consistent with President Barack Obama’s priority of making federal investment in urban areas.
The decision is considered preliminary, pending a period for public comment. The final decision will come in June.