MetroLink trains whisked by in the background as officials gathered to break ground on a new light rail station in the Cortex Innovation District.
The new $12.6 million station will be located on the east side of Boyle Ave. It’s expected to be completed in about a year.
Cortex President and CEO Dennis Lower said having a stop will allow the district’s 4,500 employees to get to work without cars and allow business partners to come straight from the airport.
“All of that is important with the technology community and that we work with every day,” Lower said.
The entire $15.6 million budget also includes plans to extend the Central West End Metrolink platform, as well as create a new bike path called the Chouteau Trail. A $10.3 million federal grant is paying for the lion’s share of all three projects. Cortex, Washington University, BJC and the Great Rivers Greenway are providing the rest.
Putting a MetroLink station within Cortex was first discussed in the early 2000s. Officials said the fact that it's finally coming to fruition is a testament to collaboration.
“Major urban development projects require a lot of time to get everyone on the same page and are big lifts and we’re building momentum here,” said Cortex Board Chairman Hank Webber. “I think you’ll start seeing projects here happen more quickly, but they aren’t easy.”
Microsoft will be the anchor tenant in a new tech building at 4220 Duncan Ave. to be completed next year. The biotech company Alchemy is also planning to take the top two floors of the TechShop building at Boyle and Forest Park avenues. A new 150-room hotel is also under construction.
When all those projects are completed, Webber said Cortex will have more than 5,000 employees, well on its way to the eventual 13,000 goal.
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