CORTEX: St. Louis' Life Sciences and Technology District

The thriving technology scene covering startups, incubators, investors, etc.
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Not spectacular in design from this rendering, but at least CORTEX is moving forward.

Cortex Building 1 (link/information)

Cortex (The Center of Research, Technology, and Entrepreneurial Expertise) Building One will be fully outfitted with the latest technologies with wet and dry labs.

The new building, designed by Forum Studio with Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK) acting as design consultant, will be three stories and 180,000 square feet when completed in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The $35 million building is already 50 percent pre-leased. The first building is part of a 1,000-acre life sciences/biotech corridor in St. Louis's Central Corridor (Midtown/Central West End).

Related articles:

Biotech building begins on Forest Park Parkway

Stereotaxis confirms move into new CORTEX building

Designs not too bad, but could probably be a little better. It looks like tilt up, and that is probably why Clayco is doing it. Good to see a building has finally started though.
Central West End will be home of new biotech building

By Eric Heisler

Of the Post-Dispatch


Nonprofit group already

has two tenants for

facility at Boyle and

Forest Park avenues.

A Central West End lot that once housed an underwear factory and a shoe plant is about to become the site of a $36 million biotech building.

Cortex, a St. Louis nonprofit group, broke ground on the building Thursday. While Cortex and others dream of a day when St. Louis is a well-established biotech hub, they say a key obstacle now is the lack of specialized buildings for such firms.

That's where the new building at Boyle and Forest Park avenues comes in. By the end of next year, early-stage biotech companies will find a home there, paying lower rents and enjoying proximity to two major research universities, Cortex officials said.

"The goal is that many years from now, when you drive through this area, you'll see many biotech buildings, scores of biotech firms and thousands of new, relatively high-paying jobs," said John Dubinsky, president of Cortex.

The site forecasts what might be St. Louis' future, but it also is an important link to its past.

Over the last two weeks, workers have torn down the empty red-brick warehouse at the site, which was vacated by Markwort Sporting Goods earlier this year. That company occupied the building beginning in the late 1950s, but recently moved to Fenton after selling the building to Cortex.

Before that, the building was a factory for the Moore Shoe Co., and then a plant for the National Underwear Co. Portions of the site also were used in the early 20th century as a dealership for Studebaker Corp. of America and other carmakers.

"You have a site here that was originally used for what were two of St. Louis' major industries - shoes and automobiles," said Lewis Levey, president of real estate development for Cortex. "Now, in 2005, we're coming back and putting it to use for biotech, which we hope will be a part of our future."

Cortex already has lined up two tenants: Stereotaxis Inc. and Washington University Medical School. The rest should be leased by the time the building opens late next year, Dubinsky said.

Cortex is a partnership of Washington University, St. Louis University, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, the University of Missouri at St. Louis and Missouri Botanical Garden. The group's goal is to promote biotech development in St. Louis.

The area, like countless others throughout the country, has identified biotechnology as a sector it wants to draw.

To allow for formation of such companies, independent groups have built two incubators for fledgling firms - the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise in Creve Coeur and the Center for Emerging Technologies in the Central West End.

But that's created a new problem: Where do companies go from there?

Stereotaxis, for example, is currently in the Center for Emerging Technologies. But the growing company, the area's first life sciences firm to go public, is about to enter a new stage.

Unlike in other regions, where the biotech sector is more mature, St. Louis-area developers haven't built speculative buildings to accommodate this type of company, Dubinsky said.

"The private sector here has just not chosen to meet that need," he said. "I think it's just a matter of timing. The commercialization of biotech is much more advanced in those other communities."

The 170,000-square-foot, three-story building is being built by Clayco Construction Co.

Reporter Eric Heisler


Phone: 314-340-8183

Here is another rendering of the building...


Looks like everybody and their brother has a parking spot now. Yay! :roll:

Does anyone know what UMSL's role is in this project? I know they bought an old hospital adjacent to their campus. Just wondered how that affects this Cortex project.

It also gets me thinking about how UMSL could/should be a bigger player in the region- what with being the local State Univ. and all.

I believe UMSL gave CORTEX $5-million bucks towards the initiative.

I imagine that UMSL will be setting up a program in the building. BioBelt is trying to get UMSL into the biotech push.

UMSL was buying land to expand its campus. I don't know if the hospital is supposed to be saved or not, but UMSL has some major plans for Natural Bridge Rd. They were having some resistance from a nun order or something.

Arch City wrote:
I believe UMSL gave CORTEX $5-million bucks towards the initiative.

I imagine that UMSL will be setting up a program in the building. BioBelt is trying to get UMSL into the biotech push.

UMSL was buying land to expand its campus. I don't know if the hospital is supposed to be saved or not, but UMSL has some major plans for Natural Bridge Rd. They were having some resistance from a nun order or something.

There is no plan to save the hospital. Its not really worth saving anyway. A TIF district exist for this part of Nat. Bridge but they didnt handle the public opinion very well a couple of years ago- thus people thought they were trying to force out the nuns. Something is going to happen here, I just cant decipher what exactly. UMSL says they are working with the city of Normandy. Normandy says UMSL is dragging its feet. In the mean time this site is almost perfect for development. It has a MetroLink stop, a state univ, 10+ acres of land, several stable neighborhoods, and soon will have a trail linking to Forest Park.

I didnt know they gave CORTEX money. I heard on KWMU a month or so ago UMSLs new chancellor Dr George (i think) say they were considering doing something similar on Natural Bridge.

Anyone out there know anything more? I'm keeping my eyes and ears open on this one. I think it has the potential to be a showcase project for the region. This could be a real TOD project rather than the bastardized version called WingHaven.

CORTEX Building One

St. Louis , Missouri

In December 2004, Clayco broke ground on a research laboratory building in midtown St. Louis ? the first building for CORTEX, the Center of Research , Technology and Entrepreneurial Expertise. A partnership between Washington University , Saint Louis University , the Missouri Botanical Garden , Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation and the University of Missouri-St. Louis , CORTEX is creating a state-of-the-art life sciences and research development along the stretch of city between Washington University and SLU. The city of St. Louis , Civic Progress, the Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences and the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association also are involved in the project as directors.

Located at Boyle and Forest Park Parkway , the three-story, 165,000-square-foot facility will include the infrastructure for office space and wet and dry laboratories. HOK, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, acted as the design consultant, and Forum Studio Inc. is the architect of record. The building is divided into east and west wings with a common three-story atrium lobby. Matching glass elements at the north and south elevations allow light to pour into the middle of the building. Composed of a sleek linear curtainwall tilted toward Forest Park Parkway , the north fa?ade will provide ample daylight. Architectural site-cast concrete wall panels, some which lean forward, create an interesting visual line along the south elevation.

Clayco: CORTEX cam

Clayco: CORTEX Information

A rendering I discovered and pictures I took recently.




Link: HOK: Sustainable Designs

Framer wrote:
By the way, there's some kind of construction going on on the South side of Forest Park between Euclid and Taylor. Anybody know what's up?

CORTEX~a research facility to jumpstart the technopolis section of southern CWE

My guess

Framer, is this what you are talking about? If so, it is CORTEX.


No, that's not it. I'm talking about a site much farther west, right at the hospital complex. Its between a couple of the older medical buildings on the south side of Forest Park Pkwy., between Euclid and Taylor, or maybe Newstead. They've got a fence around the site, and some heavy equipment is shoving dirt around. That's all I know.

if it's right by the metro stop, it's a new bus transfer station.
Hadn't seen the new website posted here. Nice website. I guess it is timely considering the CORTEX I building is near completion.


love the map graphic, very nice site.

thanks Arch City

leave it up to AC to go up with some gems!

There's an article in the business journal cliaming that Solea is moving its headquarters to CORTEX - and that they'll build a new building to house it. Any info on this .. any renderings?

Corner of Duncan & Boyle would probably mean the new building would sit directly behind the current CORTEX building; and given that, it will probably be of similar design. I don't think much more can be said about it than that. I was at an RCGA meeting recently and all they said about the future of CORTEX is that they're still looking for tenants to fill the first building and that the only thing they've done for the second building was look at potential sites. I guess they've moved on to the money and design stages since then.

While this is good for Cortex, I have mixed feelings about Solae leaving downtown. Although the firm would still be in the city - just right up the road - a $1-billion firm with 400 employees is leaving downtown.

Nonetheless, Solae (a Dupont and Bunge joint venture) could definitely give more credibility to Cortex as a life sciences research center thus creating more new investments in the area.

I think the announcement for the second building came pretty quickly - especially considering the first one isn't fully leased.

are we sure that they're planning to build a second building? Or are they moving into the existing one (which is also - technically - new construction)?

and if they move in "right behind it" does that mean that the atrocious parking lot is being nixed (good god lets hope so - can't they at leat build a garage with street level retail? - I mean Cortex is supposed to be dense in the future right?)

Here's part of the article. According to reports, Cortex I is 170,000 sf. This new building will be 160,000 sf. I just hope they build up and not some stubby building.

Solae to move headquarters to CORTEX

St. Louis Business Journal - 5:04 AM CDT Fridayby Lisa R. BrownCopyright ? 2006 St. Louis Business Journal

The Solae Co. is leaving its downtown headquarters to build a new $40 million facility in Midtown.

The soy ingredient producer with more than $1 billion in annual revenue has announced plans to become an anchor tenant at the Center for Research Technology and Entrepreneurial Exchange (CORTEX) in Midtown at the corner of Duncan and Boyle avenues.

Solae, a joint venture between DuPont and Bunge Ltd., will move about 400 employees to a new, 160,000-square-foot building in the second half of 2008. Solae's current St. Louis headquarters is located at 801 Chouteau on the Nestle Purina PetCare campus. Solae also leases space at the Lambert Point industrial park in Hazelwood.

The new facility will house Solae's research and development, corporate offices, and its pilot manufacturing facility. Solae has not yet determined if it will consolidate the Hazelwood offices to the new CORTEX site.

Read More

My friend's father works there and told me last night about Solae's move to CORTEX and that the article was supposed to be released Thursday not Friday.

I told him about the future Sarah street station and he got excited about the idea even though he commutes from Wildwood and would not be served by any future Metrolink plans especially since the western Daniel Boone line would stop at Westport. They are not native STL and are open to the idea of a train line down 40/64 or prefered it over the whole reconstruction.

The 40/64 congestion has begun working its magic and misfortune (let's hope other companies weather these few years of problems regardless of new office space

= The road construction is also changing mindsets about Metro serving

West Co. peeps.

I too have mixed feelings about this. While I hate to see a major corporation leave downtown, this is VERY good news for CORTEX. It certainly gives it more viability, and should help persuade other large bio-tech firms to consider CORTEX. Thank god they didn't go out to Chesterfield. Also, it should solidify Solae's presense in St. Louis for years to come.

I'm anxious to see the renderings. Cannon generally does very sharp, modern work. They did SLU's new Medical Research Building now rising on South Grand.

Overall, very good news, IMO.

Is CORTEX an enterprise or tax free zone that rests on the ideals of attracting new businesses through no tax but really displaces current businesses with no real gain?