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ST. LOUIS-In anticipation of a boom in the needs of aging baby boomers, financial-services firm Edward Jones says it will invest up to $260 million to expand its corporate campus in St. Louis County. The plan, which has garnered much government support, calls for the addition of four office buildings totaling 900,000 sf and nearly 500 jobs in the next five years. By 2016, the number of new jobs is expected to be at least 1,000.

Three of the four new office buildings will be built at Edward Jones’ North Campus, an area east of Interstate 270 and Dorsett Road where more than 1,300 employees work in 18 buildings. Those new buildings, totaling 650,000 sf, and corresponding parking garages are scheduled for completion by the end of 2011. Some existing smaller buildings, which date back to the 1960s, will be razed during construction.

Additionally, Edward Jones will seek approval from the city of Des Peres for the expansion of its South Campus. Plans call for a new 250,000-sf office building and corresponding parking garage adjacent to its headquarters location at Manchester/Ballas Road.

Many of the employees who work in the corporate campus help support the company’s 10,000 investment representatives, who provide financial services for individual investors in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Edward Jones spokeswoman says that growth in the number of branch offices is closely tied to the need for more employees and more space in St. Louis County. “As we grow our branch office network, we have a need to support it from our home office,” she says. “Each time we open 100 branches, for example, we hire 40 people in home office to help service those branches and their clients.”

Richard Etzkorn of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker (CTMT) says that Edward Jones typically adds hundreds of branch locations every year. “We have been working with Edward Jones since mid-1993 to help open branches around the globe. They’ve been growing fairly consistently since we’ve been engaged with them.”

Etzkorn, who runs the St. Louis Division of Colliers Corporate Solutions, previously served as the account executive for Edward Jones’ branch office portfolio. That portfolio is 9,000 locations and growing, according to CTMT. Most Edward Jones locations occupy approximately 1,000 sf in a downtown or strip retail location. Occasionally, a branch is established in an office building.

In Missouri, the expansion plan has drawn strong support from the state, St. Louis County and the city of Maryland Heights. A key example of this partnership is the state’s commitment to expedite the replacement of the Interstate 270/Dorsett Road interchange. The $30-million interchange project, scheduled for completion by 2011, will be funded by $5.1 million from St. Louis County, $6.15 million from Maryland Heights, $1.8 million from the federal government, and $17 million from the state. The state portion is divided into $10 million approved in September, and nearly $7.26 million in revenue bonds, which received preliminary approval last week.

“This is a terrific partnership between government and private enterprise that will help Edward Jones accommodate anticipated continued growth while greatly enhancing the economic vitality of the entire St. Louis region,” James D. Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones, says in a statement.

Two other road improvements are linked to the project. The relocation of Progress Parkway, which runs through the North Campus, is being funded by the city of Maryland Heights and $4.8 million in federal highway funds. Additionally, Edward Jones is working with Maryland Heights to obtain approval for the development and relocation of American Industrial Drive. Edward Jones has committed $2 million to this initiative.

Other incentives tied to the project include $3.9 million from the Missouri Quality Jobs Act, and an estimated $8 million in construction material sales tax abatement from St. Louis County. There is also the potential for $30.5 million in Chapter 100 tax abatements from the county.

In a released statement, Maryland Heights Mayor Michael Moeller said he expects the project to prompt additional economic growth. “I am very pleased that we have been successful in partnering with federal, state and county officials to fund the infrastructure improvements that will support the North Campus expansion. This development will have significant impact on our city and the St. Louis region and will result in others investing in our area.”

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