What is the NGA?
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is the country’s main source of geospatial intelligence for the Department of Defense and the US Intelligence Community. This world-leading government organization supports US national security, defense, and disaster relief. The NGA enables our nation and ally nations with a decisive advantage in policymaking, war, and emergency response.
Every GPS and location-dependent service used in the US relies upon the NGA to function from flying US aircraft to the GPS system on your phone.
The NGA headquarters is in Springfield, Virginia, with a major location in Arnold, Missouri, and a new location currently being built in the City of St. Louis. That new location is a huge project head up by not only the NGA but also the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Air Force.
Why St. Louis?
With NGA West being less than 20 miles south of downtown St. Louis, the NGA announced in June of 2016 that they’d develop a new western campus in the historic St. Louis Place Neighborhood– just north of downtown.
At first, they announced the new site would move from the facility in Arnold because this new facility in St. Louis City would best support its future needs and technologies. Then the NGA decided to remain in the Arnold campus and simply expand to the new site in St. Louis.
So other than being close to the original NGA West, why choose this location in St. Louis? There were several reasons outlined by the NGA Director Robert Cardillo, including:
- Environmental impact
- Security concerns
- Policies and executive orders
- Partnerships with local universities and technology companies
- Employment potential
The vibrant, urban location will be a huge draw for the best high-tech employees, which in turn will be great for St. Louis!
The Costs & Benefits to St. Louis
This project– called Next NGA West –is a significant addition to the City which is anticipated to bring more benefits than disadvantages.
So here’s the big question: Who’s tax money is being used and how much?
- The State of Missouri is responsible for the majority of funding for this project with $95 million set aside for construction costs.
- Up to $36 million in state Brownfield Tax Credits will be used– which incentivize environmental cleanup of real or perceived contamination of former industrial sites –to build on land which has been vacant in North City for years.
- The City of St. Louis will spend half of the earnings tax generated by the NGA to fund the project– up to $1.5 million per year for the next 30 years. (The other half of the NGA’s earnings tax will go toward General Revenue).
Next NGA West is expected to bring significant investment and redevelopment to a vulnerable and struggling community in North St. Louis. So that the NGA is welcomed and can work together with St. Louis in terms of transportation, redevelopment, and revitalization, the City launched Project Connect.
This is an action plan focused on connecting both private and public sector community development projects in the neighborhoods north of Downtown, including the future home of Next NGA West.
Future Features of Next NGA West
- A 97-acre site at St. Louis Place neighborhood at Jefferson and Cass Avenues
- Approximately 700,000 square feet main building
- Visitor center, inspection facility, and access control points
- Employee-focused amenities– modern cafeteria, fitness center, and open spaces
- Innovative and education spaces
- Big windows to let in natural light
- Modern and most cutting-edge technology to support future generations in geospatial intelligence
- Green campus with grass, trees, and walking paths
- Energy efficient, healthy, and sustainable building
The construction of Next NGA West is set to be completed by 2025. This could be a pivotal project for revitalizing North City which has been economically struggling for years, and it will draw a number of highly skilled professionals to St. Louis in the next decade. To follow updates about the NGA location in North St. Louis, visit here.