CORTEX: St. Louis' Life Sciences and Technology District

The thriving technology scene covering startups, incubators, investors, etc.
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And another two panels are up. Photo via @CortexSTL twitter:

Image
The angular design of this thing is much more apparent in real life than it looked in the renderings.
It's also just a physically massive building. The views from 64 and even FPP will be impressive (well, at least for the area) once it's completed. Another modern and "cool" building that will hopefully help turn some perceptions of people who drive through the area around.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:47 pm
I think I was about to say some of the same things as Goat314. Glancing at the article it looks to me like it's looking exclusively at IT. There's a lot of words like network, SQL, data, and web in the job titles but none like genetic, plant, bio, or med. And very very little that looked financial. Nor aerospace, chemical, architectural, or civil engineering, for that matter. It's tech from the Silicon Valley perspective. Which it says more or less from the top of the article. And while that's important stuff, it's neither our traditional area nor necessarily our high-growth area now. If you think tech is synonymous with IT then that might be the list. If you believe we need complex technical stuff not entirely in the digital realm then maybe it's not.

Though I will say, I need to ask my friend Birgit precisely what a "scrum master" is. I believe that's her current job title, actually. And her description is the only place I'd previously seen it. Sounds like it belongs on a rugby field. (Or would that be a pitch?)
Yup, this is exactly it. St. Louis isn't exactly a "tech city". It really isn't. It does have a lot of ancillary, supporting I.T. and programming jobs for other industries, but nothing special and very little directly being "tech". Most tech jobs here support Aerospace, the Military, finance, or universities and biotech. There are a few small companies that do straight up, innovative tech work or make tech products, but nothing that makes us a "rising star". Thus you get anomalies like what has been noticed in this thread, St. Louis - good for tech jobs (due to low cost of living), but not even on the list when "tech cities" are ranked.

Even among the I.T. jobs here, it definitely skews towards the traditional, conservative approach. Not a lot that is cutting edge, or even close, really. The data centers clustered downtown are definitely nice, and in my experience they contain the most technically competent people in the region, no contest (if people reading this thread are doing I.T. hiring, there's your tip, look at those companies, they usually hire entry-level people and are skills goldmines) but their importance will wane as internet backbone links get better and data centers/hosting gets cheaper and more geographically distributed. Put it this way, if you want to blow ten thousand or more on a giant Microsoft products/services/support contract and hire a hundred office I.T. people through staffing companies, man, St. Louis is your place. If you want to startup a VPN service, run it on open source tech, and staff it with people who know their sh*t, look elsewhere.
Aesir wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:11 pm
Most tech jobs here support Aerospace, the Military, finance, or universities and biotech.
don't forget plant science. i'm sure it's never categorized as "tech" for the purposes of these rankings but we're a major player in plant science. we have the highest concentration of plant scientists in the US or something.
Saw this posted in the Urban theory thread but Koman's presentation talk about the property they bought in Cortex next to interstate 64.

Slide 8
http://www.constructforstl.org/wp-conte ... tation.pdf
Sounds promising.
joelo wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:14 pm
Saw this posted in the Urban theory thread but Koman's presentation talk about the property they bought in Cortex next to interstate 64.

Slide 8
http://www.constructforstl.org/wp-conte ... tation.pdf
Thanks for posting,

The interesting part to me is that Cupples X is left out of slide show. Which begs two questions, is it Cupples X dead? and or more optimistic question based on slide show is CORTEX and Sarah Street projects coming together with announcement of projects expected in near future?
dredger wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:53 pm
joelo wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:14 pm
Saw this posted in the Urban theory thread but Koman's presentation talk about the property they bought in Cortex next to interstate 64.

Slide 8
http://www.constructforstl.org/wp-conte ... tation.pdf
Thanks for posting,

The interesting part to me is that Cupples X is left out of slide show. Which begs two questions, is it Cupples X dead? and or more optimistic question based on slide show is CORTEX and Sarah Street projects coming together with announcement of projects expected in near future?
The presentation seemed to just involve the central corridor around Cortex. (Armory, Foundry were discussed as well) so might have been left out just because of that but it's been pretty quiet with Cupples X
Aesir wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:11 pm
symphonicpoet wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:47 pm
I think I was about to say some of the same things as Goat314. Glancing at the article it looks to me like it's looking exclusively at IT. There's a lot of words like network, SQL, data, and web in the job titles but none like genetic, plant, bio, or med. And very very little that looked financial. Nor aerospace, chemical, architectural, or civil engineering, for that matter. It's tech from the Silicon Valley perspective. Which it says more or less from the top of the article. And while that's important stuff, it's neither our traditional area nor necessarily our high-growth area now. If you think tech is synonymous with IT then that might be the list. If you believe we need complex technical stuff not entirely in the digital realm then maybe it's not.

Though I will say, I need to ask my friend Birgit precisely what a "scrum master" is. I believe that's her current job title, actually. And her description is the only place I'd previously seen it. Sounds like it belongs on a rugby field. (Or would that be a pitch?)
Yup, this is exactly it. St. Louis isn't exactly a "tech city". It really isn't. It does have a lot of ancillary, supporting I.T. and programming jobs for other industries, but nothing special and very little directly being "tech". Most tech jobs here support Aerospace, the Military, finance, or universities and biotech. There are a few small companies that do straight up, innovative tech work or make tech products, but nothing that makes us a "rising star". Thus you get anomalies like what has been noticed in this thread, St. Louis - good for tech jobs (due to low cost of living), but not even on the list when "tech cities" are ranked.

Even among the I.T. jobs here, it definitely skews towards the traditional, conservative approach. Not a lot that is cutting edge, or even close, really. The data centers clustered downtown are definitely nice, and in my experience they contain the most technically competent people in the region, no contest (if people reading this thread are doing I.T. hiring, there's your tip, look at those companies, they usually hire entry-level people and are skills goldmines) but their importance will wane as internet backbone links get better and data centers/hosting gets cheaper and more geographically distributed. Put it this way, if you want to blow ten thousand or more on a giant Microsoft products/services/support contract and hire a hundred office I.T. people through staffing companies, man, St. Louis is your place. If you want to startup a VPN service, run it on open source tech, and staff it with people who know their sh*t, look elsewhere.
I've been in the industry for a number of years both in St. Louis and elsewhere and I think this is a pretty accurate assessment of IT in STL.
chaifetz10 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:16 pm
That said... found a new rendering for the Aloft hotel via the architect's website: http://grouponeinc.com/our-work/

Image
The last I heard on the hotel chatter was that the apartment/parking/retail building is now delayed and possibly dead. Hotel commitment required garage parking so until a garage begins construction, they won't start. That could kill the entire project. I don't understand why the various groups funding everything are still putting off building any garage. One was originally proposed to be around where the 4220/Microsoft building is and near Metrolink so people could access both.
I can't believe CORTEX would let a major component slip away due to lack of available parking. Heck, you can build a parking garage where the future residential will go with the ability to adapt it with residential wrapping.
framer wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:38 am
The angular design of this thing is much more apparent in real life than it looked in the renderings.
Noticed that as well; will be interesting to see how this turns out.

So here's a question...what do people think about whether companies like Microsoft and Square would have come to downtown if Cortex weren't here? We'll never know but of course but I do wonder how much Cortex is a competitor to downtown on tech. I like what it's doing in terms of getting things like TechShop and Venture Cafe and all that jazz in a single area but I wish it were located in downtown.
STLrainbow wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:56 am
framer wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:38 am
The angular design of this thing is much more apparent in real life than it looked in the renderings.
Noticed that as well; will be interesting to see how this turns out.

So here's a question...what do people think about whether companies like Microsoft and Square would have come to downtown if Cortex weren't here? We'll never know but of course but I do wonder how much Cortex is a competitor to downtown on tech. I like what it's doing in terms of getting things like TechShop and Venture Cafe and all that jazz in a single area but I wish it were located in downtown.
Microsoft I think would have just stayed in Creve Coeur. I figure the main reason they are moving is because of Cortex.
Square I could see being downtown, BUT would they even have an office here if it wasn't for Cortex?
STLrainbow wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:56 am
framer wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:38 am
The angular design of this thing is much more apparent in real life than it looked in the renderings.
Noticed that as well; will be interesting to see how this turns out.

So here's a question...what do people think about whether companies like Microsoft and Square would have come to downtown if Cortex weren't here? We'll never know but of course but I do wonder how much Cortex is a competitor to downtown on tech. I like what it's doing in terms of getting things like TechShop and Venture Cafe and all that jazz in a single area but I wish it were located in downtown.
I have to imagine the MS and Square deals only happened because there are people behind Cortex who are very capable and very effective at selling a Cortex move to these companies. My guess is that downtown likely doesn't have people behind it who are as effective at selling it. Also, downtown is frankly a harder sell even if it does.
^ thanks. guys... yeah, I'm just sort of envisioning a scenario where downtown had a little more leadership on tech and cortex or something like it was located there instead of CWE and we'd have things like Square and Microsoft downtown along with TechShop and the like. Other cities have that walkable environment Cortex seeks to create where you can have all those "serendipitious collisions" among talented workers but it's just called downtown. (Detroit for example has Microsoft coming there soon to join Amazon and other established bigs along with lots of start-ups and resources.)

In the end, it is what it is, and certainly Cortex was developed close to the major players behind it and in a context where downtown really didn't/still does't have its act together, and ultimately I think if things keep progressing even on its current slow pace eventually we'll have a pretty cool downtown-to-city-limits central corridor but to have everything so damn spread out means it will take a long time to build any kind of real dense, mixed-use, truly walkable and thriving environment.
STLrainbow wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:50 pm
ultimately I think if things keep progressing even on its current slow pace eventually we'll have a pretty cool downtown-to-city-limits central corridor but to have everything so damn spread out means it will take a long time to build any kind of real dense, mixed-use, truly walkable and thriving environment.
Agree. Overall things are progressing, although slowly for downtown. Yeah, particularly that stretch of Olive west of Tucker to midtown is a tough one.
Lots of steel going up on the Microsoft building. Looks like only the back wall is tilt-up.
Makes sense. I believe the western wall will be mostly glass, right?
^Not really. This is the western facade:

Image
^ Wow, immediate thought when glancing at that pic: "highly deficient of density"
^The parking lot on the left will be occupied by the A Loft hotel and the apartment building.
^ Thanks for the info. Haven't been following Cortex that closely and wondered what was slated to change in that pic.
Vicia named one of the 12 best new restaurants in the U.S.

https://www.eater.com/2017/7/26/1603424 ... rants-2017
[quote][b]Washington University to consolidate IT staff in Cortex[/b]

Washington University officials plan to consolidate about 360 information technology workers into a building at 4480 Clayton Ave.

A majority of those employees are currently housed at the university’s west campus, in Clayton near the intersection of Forest Park Parkway and Forsyth Boulevard.


Already, Washington University is investing about $13 million to renovate and add onto the Clayton Avenue facility, which sits at the southwest edge of the Cortex innovation district.

https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/new ... ff-in.html[/quote]