St. Louis Industrial Hub Keeps Growing

ST. LOUIS—The reconstruction of the nation’s supply chain has already transformed the industrial markets of several Midwest cities, prized by distributors due to their central location, and the potential remains for even more explosive growth in the years ahead.

Few places better illustrate this massive change than Gateway Commerce Center across the river from St. Louis near Edwardsville IL. It currently hosts the St. Louis region’s largest industrial real estate deal in 2018 – the $115 million construction of twin one million square foot facilities for World Wide Technology.

TriStar Properties started the development in 1997, and it now has more than 12 million square feet of leased space. WWT’s two facilities will grow that to more than 14 million square feet by 2019. But local experts say that although the center is already a focal point for St. Louis’ logistics and distribution industry, 70% of its more than 2,300 acres is still untapped by developers.

“Things have been rolling right along,” Eric Gowin, managing principal of Contegra Construction, the builder of the WWT projects, tells GlobeSt.com. “I believe this could go on for another couple of years.”

“All of the sites have available utilities,” he adds, and are ready for users that want to build. In the past 21 years, all construction has taken place on the more than 750 acres on the east side of I-255, but the remaining 1,500 acres to the west side are still open. Contegra has built about 70% of the space at GCC.

The strength of the location was perhaps best shown during the Great Recession. Even though the economy had fallen into the worst slump in 80 years, users kept popping up and asking about space at GCC. “We stayed busy,” Gowin says, “although there was no spec construction at that time.”

GCC tenants include AmazonDial Corp.GENCO ATCGEODIS, The Hershey Co.Ozburn-Hessey LogisticsProctor & GambleSave-A-LotSaddle Creek Logistics Services, and many others.

Gowin also points out that GCC is not strictly for logistics and distribution. One of WWT’s new buildings, for example, will have a heavy office component. In addition to roughly 50,000 square feet of office, it will also have laboratory space. Contegra plans to finish it by April, and the second building, a more traditional distribution space, a few months later.

“By far, the biggest challenge we face is getting through the winter,” Gowin says.

Article Courtesy Brian J. Rogal GlobeSt