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Zoo Commission Approves Framework for Major Expansion

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An artist rendering of a gondola over I-64, via the St. Louis Zoo.

An artist rendering of a gondola over I-64, via the St. Louis Zoo.

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Zoo Commission has approved a 20-30 year framework for a major expansion at the site, including plans for a gondola over Interstate 64.

Much of the new development will occur at the 13.5 acre site south of I-64 which once held the Forest Park Hospital. Zoo officials purchased the land last October from Medline Industries.

The approved framework calls for linking the current 93-acre campus to the new site with a gondola, bridge, trolleys or trams. Zoo-themes restaurants, retail, and a hotel are planned for the new development.

“We are excited about this plan because not only will expansion of the Zoo’s footprint enhance the Zoo visitor’s experience, it will also significantly improve the site to the benefit of nearby communities, the city and region,” Zoo President and CEO Jeffrey Bonner, Ph.D., said in a release.

The plan also calls for the current parking lot on the south side of Forest Park to become an animal exhibit. The new site on the other side of the interstate would then hold much of the park space, including below-ground lots.

Demolition efforts at the former Forest Park Hospital site are expected to begin immediately, allowing the zoo to begin its expansion work.

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