Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon flanked by other elected officials, makes remarks after the announcement that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency plans to stay in St. Louis and build a new North St. Louis City site worth $1.75 billion. The announcement comes after a competitive bidding process that included a site in neighboring Illinois. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
ST. LOUIS, April 2 (UPI) -- The federal government announced Friday a satellite intelligence facility that employs about 3,000 people will remain in St. Louis instead of moving to Illinois.
The announcement, heralded by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and other local, state and federal elected officials, means a new construction project worth about $1 billion and another $750 million in equipment for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency facility in the city of St. Louis.
Nixon said the bidding process was a competitive one, and heralded Missouri for coming out on top.
"I think when folks look at this, they like to think there's some sort of magic political juice that pushed this over the top," Nixon said. "This was not a rigged game￼, this was a real game, and in the most competitive atmosphere, we won."
The NGA already has a massive facility in the area. The new one would serve as its replacement.
NGA Director Robert Cardillo said in an email to employees obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the decision on where to build came down to a preference for an urban setting as a recruiting tool for future employees.
"The future of our agency and our profession rests on our present talent and that of the next generations we can recruit onto our team," Cardillo wrote. "We face tough competition, and offering an environment that appeals to these future generations is critical to our success. Studies point to a desire by today's millennials to be in urban environments, and this trend is expected to continue."
The other site in contention was St. Clair County, Ill., where officials had hoped the presence of Scott Air Force Base would help lure the massive federal project, while also shoring up the air base in future rounds of government cutbacks and transfers.