The biggest private development proposal in the St. Louis area has taken on aspects of a political campaign, complete with direct mail seeking to influence residents of Clayton.
On one side is Medicaid managed care company Centene Corp., which wants to build a $788 million to $1 billion campus that includes two to three office towers, hotel rooms and an auditorium.
On the other side is a determined group of residents, who are raising concerns about the 6,200 new parking spaces and associated traffic the huge office complex would bring to downtown Clayton.
All the lobbying over the last month coincided with the Clayton Architectural Review Board and Plan Commission’s review of Centene’s plan, a body that only makes recommendations for final approval to the Board of Aldermen. The planning commission finally gave its recommendation for approval after a meeting that started at 5:30 p.m. and stretched until nearly 11 p.m. Tuesday. Next the project’s rezoning heads to the Clayton Board of Aldermen.
Another group has also been sending Clayton residents mailers criticizing the scale of the Centene proposal and the company’s request for tax abatement and state incentives, which project managers estimate could amount to $88 million to $135 million over 20 years.
Centene has responded, sending its own brochures touting the addition of 2,000 area jobs and average salaries of $73,000 the project is expected to bring to the region’s central corridor.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch