photo credit: Midas Hospitality









Cortex was designated master developer of this approximately 200-acre district by the City of St. Louis and can develop properties itself or confer development rights on other developers. The Cortex Board adopted a long-term mixed-use master plan in September 2012. As a master developer, Cortex has the responsibility and authority to plan the district, implement the master plan, manage the district, levy property assessments, provide subsidies, and acquire the property. All development within the Cortex Innovation Community requires the written approval of Cortex before a City building permit can be issued. Anyone seeking a Cortex approval letter for a building permit or any questions regarding development should contact Colleen Autry, Vice President of District Operations at









Cortex represents an extraordinary development opportunity for the City of St. Louis and the region as a whole. We are committed to ensuring that the benefits of economic growth, new investment, and job creation in the district extend to all segments of our innovation hub. There will be participation opportunities related to construction, permanent jobs, entrepreneurship, and education.



As part of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district in the City of St. Louis, construction projects within the Cortex district are subject to two City requirements related to diversity and inclusion:


  • Mayor’s Executive Order #28 (as amended) sets goals for the inclusion of Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MBEs and WBEs) on development project teams: 25% participation by MBEs and 5% participation by WBEs on contracts and purchases. Compliance is monitored by the  Louis Development Corporation (SLDC).


  • St. Louis City Ordinance No. 69427 relates to construction workforce diversity. Projects in Cortex valued at $1 million or more are expected to meet the following goals for workforce participation (commonly described as “boots on the ground”) during construction: 25% of labor hours are to be performed by minorities; 5% of labor hours are to be performed by women; 20% of labor hours are to be performed by City residents, and 15% of all hours are to be performed by apprentices enrolled in an approved training program. The order is implemented by the St. Louis Area Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE).


  • Cortex is working with SLDC and SLATE on implementation, compliance, and reporting with St. Louis City Ordinance No. 70767, and amending Ordinance No. 69427.


Cortex is fully committed to these goals and supports compliance efforts in the following ways:


 Full compliance on all projects directly contracted by the Cortex organization (such as the development of Cortex Commons and streetscape improvements).


  • Incorporation of goals in Parcel Development Agreements between Cortex and developers undertaking projects in the district.


  • Close collaboration with developers to share “best practices” for compliance and facilitate communication with our City partners, particularly as projects are getting underway. Project startup is a critical time to put into place the framework for success, and Cortex works with developers to help them understand the requirements and procedures established by the DBE Office, SLDC, and SLATE.


  • Regular reporting of performance in achieving the goals for all projects in the district. The Cortex board evaluates these reports to identify potential opportunities to improve on future projects.




Learn about Cortex's sustainability goals and commitment by visiting the sustainability page.


Permanent Job Opportunities


In a mature research park, 40% of the jobs are held by employees with high school and associate degrees, 40% with bachelor’s degrees, and 20% with master’s and Ph.D.’s, providing a broad continuum of job opportunities for a variety of skill sets. Cortex’s master plan anticipates that up to 13,000 district jobs can be created over the next 20 years, so the potential benefits to the entire community are enormous. New jobs will include researchers, entrepreneurs, technicians, managers, office support, retail, restaurant, and property services – Cortex is a place of opportunity for all.


In partnership with Cortex companies, developers, and owners, district job opportunities will be posted on our website. The information will also be provided to SLATE

Supporting Future Innovators


We recognize the need – and opportunity – to build community capacity through coordinated educational, training, and entrepreneurial initiatives in collaboration with regional partners. Cortex is a dedicated partner working with many other organizations to establish effective programs to grow our base of innovation and success across the region.


Click here to view the February 2024 - CONSTRUCTION INCLUSION REPORT