In 2005, Missouri won a significant battle to retain the corporate headquarters of Express Scripts, one of the nation's leading managers of pharmacy benefit plans, in St. LouisCounty. After a national site search, Express Scripts elected to build its new corporate headquarters on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, making Express Scripts the highest-ranking Fortune 500 company to maintain its corporate headquarters on a university campus. What made Express Scripts choose Missouri over the other attractive locations it considered? Among other things, Missouri was able to offer state Brownfield Tax Credits to make the redevelopment of the UMSL site feasible. Express Scripts wanted a central location. And proximity 10 a university campus was appealing. Most central locations by nature involve an adaptive re-use of the property. In the case of the UMSL site, significant amounts of debris and hazardous materials had been buried on the property when prior structures were demolished.
In 1997, columnist Neal Peirce picked 2010 as the year in which tourists would come poking through the ruins of Washington Avenue in the City of St. Louis, gawking at deserted historic buildings and wondering how a great city could sink so low. Mr. Peirce and his co-author projected that the tourists would be witnessing the tragic end point of the flight of Americans from their once-proud cities." Defying all predictions, in June 2008, the St. Louis region won the "All American City" award. St. Louis last received this award in 1956.
Walking through the lobby of the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel in St. Louis, it's hard to imagine that about twenty years ago, the sole occupants of the hotel were pigeons. After years of grandeur, the Chase was shuttered, and teh Central West End neighborhood around the hotel steadily declined. Several visionary community leaders hoped to restore the Chase to its historic position as the anchor of the Central West End. With the enactment of Missouri's historic tax credit program in 1998, those investors receive the incentive they needed to move forward with the renovation. The equity generated through the sale of the historic tax credits available to the project bridged the gap necessary to trigger the investment of millions of dollars to restore a St. Louis landmark, and more importantly, an entire community.