Company makes the move from Chesterfield to Cortex District -

Company makes the move from Chesterfield to Cortex District

(KMOV) -- After six years in Chesterfield, AB Mauri's North American headquarters are moving to the Cortex Innovation District along Forest Park Avenue in St. Louis City at the end of the year. 

The company, which makes Fleischmann's Yeast and other bakery ingredients, is renovating a 23,000 square foot space inside Cortex's @4240 building - joining IKEA and technology and science companies in the Cortex district. 

"What that means for us, of course, is that all of our people are going to be interacting and intermingling everyday with other entrepreneurs and people interested in innovation.  I think there's a real intangible there that will deliver us a lot of value," said AB Mauri North America President Mark Prendergast. 

When asked whether the city's earnings tax was a factor in the decision to move from the county where there isn't a tax, Prendergast said the company considers the tax a moving cost and elected to be part of the Cortex district anyway. 

"I think this whole area is going to be a very exciting place to work over the coming years.   I think it will be very appealing for our current employees and our future employees alike." 

He added that the company outgrew its current location in Chesterfield and considered several options before agreeing to a ten year lease with Cortex, "There are very few vacant buildings that I didn't look at." 

At a groundbreaking ceremony for IKEA last week, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he was proud that IKEA bought a site in the city rather than the county.  

"What we've seen in the past is a lot of major retailers have left the city and moved out to the suburbs and we're seeing a reversal of that now," said Mayor Slay. 

A Mercedes Benz dealership plans to open in the city this year, opting to move out of Ellisville and build a dealership on Hampton near I-64.  The dealership previously left the city nearly two decades ago. 

Whole Foods is expanding in the region with a store in the Central West End.  It would be the chain's first store in St. Louis City. 

Cortex's President and CEO Dennis Lower said the district is working to include more retail components in the Cortex development.  So far, IKEA is confirmed to be building a store at Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenue, but Lower said other retailers will likely follow. 

Prendergast said AB Mauri decided to move to Cortex before the IKEA store was publicly announced.  But Prendergast, who is originally from Sydney, Australia, said he's seen urban-centered IKEA stores find success in other cities.   

"The experience I've had in Austrailia: when IKEA moves into an inner-urban area like this you get a lot of interest and a lot of activity going up around it.   I think it's going to really facilitate this as a growing place and a place that's very appealing to work."


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