National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency | St. Louis Public Radio

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Contractors move the house north on Jefferson Avenue on Sunday morning. (Feb. 26, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Charlesetta Taylor was a 10-year-old when she and her family moved into the home at 2530 North Market St.

That was back in 1945.

But now, it's her house that's moved, not the octogenarian. 

"It's crazy to see any house move," Taylor said Sunday as she stood outside watching her three-story brick home roll up Jefferson Avenue to its final destination at 2200 St. Louis Ave. 

(courtesy Project Connect)

The city of St. Louis officially owns all the land of the proposed new $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority closed on the last of the 551 parcels this month.

Soon the LCRA, the NGA and the Army Corps of Engineers will sign an options agreement for the land. Once they do, the city will have exactly one year to prepare the site.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has authorized issuing up to $120 million in revenue bonds.

The money will be used by the city to acquire and prepare the north St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility.

LCRA’s commissioners approved the move at a special session on Tuesday.

The bonds will help the city pay back $33 million in loans to purchase the land, the latest of which is a $10-million loan taken from the Missouri Development Finance Board this month.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated at 4 p.m. Aug. 23 with new comments from St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams.

The head of the St. Louis Development Corporation said he will work to keep a business that must move to make way for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new campus, in business.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams told St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday that he wants to see Adrienne Harris' adult day care successfully moved into a new building. 

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or one of its many predecessors, has been in St. Louis for more than 70 years and has about 3,000 employees in the city.

Earlier this summer the federal spy agency announced it had chosen a north St. Louis site for its new $1.75 billion campus.

St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman sat down with NGA director Robert Cardillo to talk about his vision for the new facility. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

Paul Sabelman | Flickr

Property owners filled the courtroom in the old St. Louis Civil Courts Building on Thursday.

It had taken a long time to get to this day.

Several of the residents who lived or owned property within the site of what will be the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility fought to get more money. Others were simply tied up with title issues or liens.

"I’ve been waiting for this day and dreading it," Adrienne Harris said.

Harris runs an adult daycare business out of 2525 Benton St., in the home her mother bought more than 40 years ago.

Brenda Nelson plays a card game with friends on Mullanphy Street during the street's last annual block party on Saturday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the third Saturday of July neighbors and former residents gathered in the 2300 block of Mullanphy Street in north St. Louis.

That’s when the annual block party always takes place.

But this would be the last one.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A 100-acre site in north St. Louis will be home to the sophisticated, high-tech National Geospatial Agency facility in few years.

At the moment, archeologists are trying to find out how people on the site once lived.

"The whole idea is to understand what people’s lives were in past and get a better feel for that," said Joe Harl, principal investigator for Archeological Research Center of St. Louis.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis city officials told about 200 community members that they wanted to hear ideas and concerns about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new facility that received the official green light just last week.

They got an earful.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed public outcry about public safety in St. Louis, the NGA announcement and the Illinois budget situation after Illinois’ spring legislative session closed on Tuesday.

Here’s who joined us:

St. Louis has won the effort to get the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility.

The final decision was not a surprise, even as Illinois officials continued to push this week for a location near Scott Air Force Base in the Metro East.

Felicia Davis, wife of the Rev. Jonathan Davis, helps a church member's son with his shoelace.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the same pulpit his father had preached from for decades, he clutched the microphone and spoke.

“You whispered a word.”

Beads of sweat dotted his face. He stretched out his vowels so his words became a song.

“You called him home.”

Outside the old Buster Brown factory, party attendees hold up signs and pose for photos as part of the "This Place Matters" campaign, a social media project started by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Passers-by wondered what was going on.

There were food trucks, balloons, and music at the corner of Cass and Jefferson Avenues on Thursday afternoon.

It’s all part of Jim Osher’s effort to save the Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory. (You can read St. Louis Public Radio's previous story here.)

(Carolina Hidalgo, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory in north St. Louis is worth about $810,000.

That’s the figure that a three-member court-appointed commission determined in a filing on Wednesday. The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is within the proposed footprint of a new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency building and among the properties facing eminent domain proceedings by the city.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The city of St. Louis will likely pay more than $1.6 million to compensate property owners who faced eminent domain to make way for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new facility.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

There’s no place like home, and for Sheila Rendon that’s especially true.

The two-story brick home on Mullanphy Street has been in her home since she was born. Her parents and grandparents bought the house back in 1963, when home ownership was just a dream for many African Americans.

Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis all but declared victory after the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s director gave the city the nod earlier this month for a new $1.75 billion facility.

Yet officials across the river aren’t giving up on a 182-acre site in St. Clair County.

Sarah Davis, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

If a federal spy agency chooses to relocate to north St. Louis as expected, residents in the way will have to move quickly.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency gave St. Louis the initial nod last week, but the spy agency’s final decision will come May 30. St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams said a month after that, the city expects some of the 200 residents living in the new site's footprint to begin moving out.

The deal is not done, but St. Louis and Missouri officials are basking in a win.

That’s after National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency director Robert Cardillo told St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay late Thursday afternoon that north St. Louis is his preferred location for a new $1.75 billion facility.

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay is flanked by federal state and local political leaders as they celebrate the initial decision to keep the NGA in St. Louis.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Federal, state and local officials are celebrating the news that the federal government has picked a site in north St. Louis for an expansion of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Maggie Crane | Twitter

The city of St. Louis chalked up a big win, likely beating out St. Clair County for a federal spy agency.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency indicated in a report that the “preferred” site for its new facility is on the city’s north side. While the final decision isn’t expected until late spring, NGA director Robert Cardillo’s choice is expected to stick.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

The likely winner of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency's new facility will be made public this week. A report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday will include the preferred location for the NGA's new west headquarters.

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration

Northside Regeneration developer Paul McKee’s plan for a nearly two-square mile area of north St. Louis, has had many false starts.

"This is the most difficult urban project in the country, and it’s taken me years to assemble the land," McKee said Wednesday.

Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory
Maria Altman |St. Louis Public Radio

Jim Osher can’t imagine how anyone could think of tearing his building down.

"You see that piece of wood?" he asks pointing to a massive rafter. "That’s old growth Douglas fir. You can’t get that anymore."

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis’ work to gain control 100 acres of the north side is not over yet.

This week the city amended its eminent domain lawsuit, adding 13 more properties. The original suit, filed late last year, included 31 parcels.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she is embracing her job — and her constituents — with a vengeance now that she’s back at work after spending several weeks in treatment for breast cancer.

Next week, she expects to barnstorm the state with a series of stops to highlight her concerns about the rising cost of college education, and what the government might be able to do to help.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Roy Blunt, and Congressman William Lacy Clay, as well as other state and city officials, worked together on north St. Louis' pitch as the NGA's relocation site.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he got a small reaction from Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, when he told him that the city was offering a 100-acre site at no cost.

"Although he’s got a good poker face, I thought I saw him crack a smile," Slay said.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner talks with reporters in O'Fallon, Illinois. Rauner expressed enthusastic support for bringing the NGA headquarters to the Metro East.
File photo | Katelyn Petrin I St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is pledging $115 million in infrastructure improvements as part of his state’s attempt to coax the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to their side of the river. At a press conference near Illinois’ proposed St. Clair County site, the Republican said he can guarantee the money. That’s despite the fact that Illinois is now entering its ninth month without a fiscal budget.

“We don’t have a budget in Illinois but we do have an appropriation bill that I signed that the General Assembly agreed, and we’re going to do that every year,” Rauner said from a podium set up in the baggage claim of the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

In a letter to the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a north St. Louis resident is urging the agency make a final decision on its relocation, citing "lives in limbo."

Gustavo Rendon and his wife, Sheila, live within St. Louis’ proposed site and are facing eminent domain proceedings brought by the city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.

In the letter to NGA director Robert Cardillo, Rendon said he plans to fast and pray until the decision is made.

The owner of Bob’s Quality Market, at 2708 N. Florissant Aven., has reached an agreement to sell the store to Family Dollar. Alderwoman Tammika Hubbar opposes the discount chain's move into the neighborhood.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis officials often cite “decades of disinvestment” in their bid to get the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to move to the north side.

Just a few blocks away from the proposed site, Family Dollar is proposing a store on North Florissant Avenue.

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