When you think of St. Louis, what comes to the top of your mind? Anheuser-Busch? The Arch? The Mississippi River? With all due respect to baseball fans, Sam Fiorello knows what he'd like you to conjure up.
"We're more than the Cardinals," the head of the Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the told the Creve Coeur Economic Development Commission Thursday. Fiorello said the region does "a terrible job" of branding itself as an innovation center, despite the fact that for the last decade, St. Louis, with Creve Coeur at the forefront, has been home to major players in that arena.
Fiorello briefed committee members and other city officials on hand with a history lesson on the high tech sector's growth on the campus, up to an including the most recent addition to the BRDG Park, , an Indian plant science firm which announced it would based its U.S. operations in Creve Coeur.
The goal is to ultimately fill out the remainder of the BRDG Park with two more buildings, contingent on finding anchor tenants to fill them. Fiorello told his guests he sees a vision that could stretch to more than 1.5 million square feet of research and technology businesses on campus and nearby.
Getting there could receive a big boost if state lawmakers pass the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act or MOSIRA, as part of this month's special legislative sesion. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) , which would build a fund using a percentage of state income tax revenue generated by new technology jobs, to help lure other high tech firms to the state.
Fiorello told Thursday's audience a story he's repeated for others in the past, about the frustration of losing out to another state with different incentives when a firm was interested in moving. When asked if there are deals waiting for MOSIRA to pass in Jefferson City--it has already moved through the state senate--he told Patch "there are conversations and deals that we could go back to those folks and its a different paradigm. We could re-engage them and I think they'll give us a second look and it could go from very low chance to increasing those odds greatly of getting them to move their businesses here."