(KMOV)—On Thursday, the downtown business incubator T-REx will host an open house at its future home in the Lammert building at 911 Washington Avenue.
Starting in December, 82 startups will begin the move from the old office space that was being leased in the Railway Exchange building on Olive Street (Macy’s was a tenant before closing downtown).
Last month, T-REx announced it purchased the Lammert building after the St. Louis Development Corporation authorized up to $4.9 million in New Markets Tax Credits which raised $1.7 million from the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.
T-REx began with a handful of startups in 2011. Jay DeLong, Vice President of New Ventures and Capital Formation for the St. Louis Regional Chambers, says T-REx has plans to expand - hoping to grow its membership with more new companies.
“You can’t just get in because you apply. There’s a review committee and what we’re looking for is companies with intellectual property with the ability to grow and take large markets,” said DeLong.
Companies can rent cheap office space and work alongside other startups and with five investment and mentoring groups (Capital Innovators, SixThirty, Cultivation Capital, Arch Grants and iTEN) that are also housed in T-REx.
Shared desk space can rent for as little as $80 a month. Most pay around $150 to $250 in rent, depending on the size of the office.
The project is backed by City of St. Louis, the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
Kevin Farrell, Senior Director of Economic and Housing Development for The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis says this marks a shift toward giving small businesses more attention.
“I think it’s a big shift and it’s the same all over the country. Big companies don’t tend to add jobs. They merge, they combine, they grow, and they usually shed jobs,” said Farrell.
He added, “If you think of the kinds of incentives that are offered to major companies to make a move versus what these companies need to nurture and grow... and the acceleration of their rate. The number of jobs that are created by small business far exceeds the jobs created by big business.”
The November 21st open house will be held at 911 Washington Avenue from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can register here.