Big Idea: Cortex

Building on innovation and imagination

The struggle is real in the Midwest when it comes to creating new jobs, retaining talented young people and maintaining industrial districts where the industry of yore has closed down. But St. Louis has confronted the problem head on with Cortex, an innovation community started in 2002 thanks to a $15 million lead investment from Washington University. Other institutions joined WashU, including BJC HealthCare, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis University and University of Missouri–St. Louis, and the coalition took a 200-acre, blighted industrial complex in St. Louis’ Midtown and turned it into a hip, mixed-use urban technology district that is home to more than 400 companies. Now, Cortex is a regional center for innovation and entrepreneurism that has brought in more than 5,800 jobs and $342 million in direct payroll, and the district just keeps on growing.

  • Host to 7 Fortune 500 Companies
  • More than 6 buildings are in the planning stages
  • Generated $34 million in tax revenue since 2014
  • Generated more than 5,800 jobs

Learn more about the buildings that make up Cortex here.


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