NGA development in St. Louis changes name, prepares to open in 2026

NGA St. Louis, under construction near the intersection of Jefferson and Cass, will look to house more than 3,000 staff by 2026.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The 97-acre National Geospatial-Intelligence development in North St. Louis now has a new name. Moving forward, NGA St. Louis, under construction near the intersection of Jefferson and Cass, will look to house more than 3,000 staff by 2026.

NGA Director Vice Admiral Frank Whitworth is in St. Louis this week for the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s 2023 GEOINT Symposium.

He said the name change from NGA West to NGA St. Louis is about being more ingrained in the community.

“I’m thrilled with the progress,” Vice Admiral Whitworth reported Monday.

The Vice Admiral said in many cases involving NGA and mapping, that work will take place out of NGA St. Louis.

When the project is complete, the campus will have a 700,000-square-foot office building, two parking garages, a visitor center, and a delivery inspection facility.

Vice Admiral Whitworth said the essence of this campus is to be part of the neighborhood.

“We want to ensure that even though there is a fence line that a child from north side can look and say that appears to be something important,” Admiral Whitworth shared. “Is that something I can contribute to? And thanks to the civic and economic side, and industry side, the answer is yes, there are scholarships established. There are places you can get assistance to make that place part of your future.”

The progression of construction is an occasion to celebrate. Good news is that Admiral Whitworth doesn’t want to be overshadowed by weekly headlines of crime trends in the city, particularly in the downtown area.

News 4 shared some of the city’s recent crime stats with the director. We asked what role the city’s crime played in the selection process of a location for the development.

He said crime wasn’t a deterrent and said St. Louis is “The place to be” because of collaboration with city government, academia, and industry.

“We are certainly going to watch this like a hawk, as we should, as everyone should,” Vice Admiral Whitworth explained. “We put our trust in the city, mayor, and the police force. We have good communication with our own NGA police force and the city’s police force. I think that’s important through the transition.”

The NGA said Monday that because of how effective the NGA St. Louis model is already proving, it will be an example to model elsewhere in the country, possibly Fairfax County, Virginia.

“There might be some places there where people don’t know what’s happening in their backyard, that they can contribute to,” Whitworth shared. “There might be some. There may be some HBCUs that contribute to scholarships. To us, it’s the model we want to employ elsewhere, and quite frankly, I think you will see it in other areas of military and combat readiness.”

Vice Admiral Whitworth offered up his hometown of Fort Lee, which was involved with military activity in St. Petersburg.

“I asked those people what they have going. They say not so sure. I tell them, get on a plane to St. Louis and figure it out,” Whitworth said.

The current facility is south of downtown near Anheuser-Busch, providing intelligence to the military and other U.S. agencies. The staff will move into the new facility in 2026.