St. Louis Organization Seeks Incentives Approval to Win Yet Another Express Scripts Expansion Project

The St. Louis Economic Development Council has submitted a request to St. Louis County for an incentives package designed to encourage Express Scripts Inc. to build its new $63 million facility in its own backyard.

November 3, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Given the anemic jobs market and the still ailing economy, the competition among cities to host company expansion projects is more fierce than ever, even if you have the home court advantage. Taking nothing for granted, the St. Louis Economic Development Council has submitted a request to St. Louis County for an incentives package designed to encourage Express Scripts Inc. to build its new $63 million facility in its own backyard.

Express Scripts opened its current headquarters at the 550-acre NorthPark mixed-use development in St. Louis County in 2007 with the debut of a 335,000 square-foot building. Soon after, the pharmacy benefits management concern increased its footprint with the addition of a 200,000 square-foot building at the site.

Speaking to CPE, a spokesperson for Express Scripts would only say that the company is currently exploring its options for consolidating several locations. According to SLCEC, Express Scripts’ latest plan calls for the creation of a 225,000 square-foot building that, if St. Louis County officials step up to the plate with an offer the company can’t refuse, would sit across from Express Scripts’ headquarters. The proposed incentives package would allow for a 50 percent reduction in real and personal property taxes for the company over a 10-year period.

This isn’t the first time that St. Louis County, or the State of Missouri, for that matter, has campaigned for Express Scripts to stay put. In October 2009, Gov. Jay Nixon nudged the Missouri Development Finance Board to sign off on $3 million in Missouri BUILD bonds to encourage the company to stick choose Missouri over the competition–Pennsylvania–in the selection of a site for a new prescription sorting facility and the approximately 270 accompanying new jobs. Missouri emerged victorious; Express Scripts opened the $60 million Technology and Innovation Center (pictured), a 235,000 square-foot automated prescription fulfillment facility, near its NorthPark headquarters in June of this year.

If history is any indication, Express Scripts’ exploration of its options for a new development will extend beyond Missouri borders. If the company decides to consolidate under one extra-large roof in another location, its existing 1,300 jobs and an estimated 150 new jobs will go with it. County Executive Charlie A. Dooley noted that Express Scripts has many options across the country as to where it can locate the jobs, but is being very aggressive in trying to keep the company in North St. Louis County.

SLCEC contends that a final decision on project location by Express Scripts will be contingent on the County incentives package, in addition to an incentives package from the State Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Development Finance Board. The latter proposed offering has not yet been submitted.