Downtowns are Coming Back to Life, But What About St. Louis?

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – America’s biggest businesses are rediscovering city life.

There is a national trend of companies trading office parks for downtown high-rises. Some of the latest instances include McDonald’s leaving Oak Brook for Chicago, and G.E. skipping out of Fairfield, Connecticut, for Boston’s waterfront.

But what about St. Louis?

“It would be a welcome trend,” says St. Louis Development Corporation Director Otis Williams. However, St. Louis’ largest corporations are sticking with the suburbs.

Williams says some do appear tempted by the Cortex Innovation District.

“The most meaningful relocation would be to the downtown area where we could then use that energy and synergy,” Williams says.

He notes that cities like Detroit, Indianapolis and Kansas City have adopted their downtown, moving jobs and rehabbing buildings at a rapid clip all in the name of civic pride. There is certainly space in downtown St. Louis for a Fortune 500 headquarters.

The city’s second-tallest building, the 44-story One Bell Center, will be vacant when AT&T’s lease expires next year. The phone company says most, if not all, employees will be consolidated in two other downtown buildings.

Williams says companies here should recognize the region is defined by its core. “What we do need [is] a corporate benefactor to help us move ahead.”

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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