By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
Years of planning, 27 city blocks cleared, 60,000-plus artifacts uncovered, 830,000 tons of dirt hauled and 30,000 cubic yards of streets and alleys removed were all part of the prep for the Nov. 26 groundbreaking ceremony of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new headquarters in the St. Louis Place neighborhood just north of downtown. The event was held Tuesday morning at the site, located at Cass and Jefferson Avenues.
The new headquarters will be jointly managed by the NGA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Air Force.
A host of federal, state and local dignitaries gathered to break the ground and mark the beginning of a $1.7 billion construction project to erect Next NGA West, a 712,000-square-foot facility that will be built by the joint venture team McCarthy HITT JV. Major construction work will begin in early 2020, with estimated construction completion in 2023 and NGA operations commencing in 2025.
Innovative design and construction techniques will involve as many as 1,100 workers during the project’s peak, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 54th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General and Army Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite. He and Acting Director of Intelligence Joseph Maguire said 40 percent of the future NGA headquarters facility in St. Louis would be accessible to non-classified civilians to promote collaboration between the agency and the academic and business communities.
“Our agency’s single-greatest strengths are our people and our partnerships,” said Vice Admiral Robert D. Sharp, director of the NGA. “This new facility will be purposefully built with innovative, collaborative spaces. Next NGA West won’t open until 2025, but the spirit of the project is already very much alive.”
Nearly 40 percent minority business enterprise participation and nearly 45 percent women business enterprise participation has been achieved for the project, according to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
Other VIPs in attendance who spoke at Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony included Gov. Michael Parson, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and Next NGA West Program Director Susan Pollmann.