(To read more on the industrial market, click here.)

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO-The first office building is under construction in NorthPark, a $400-million redevelopment adjacent to Lambert International Airport and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The new 550-acre park, which will feature office, industrial and retail space, is being built over a former residential subdivision.

NorthPark Partners, a joint venture between Clayco and McEagle Properties, is building a 90,000-sf office and classrooms for Vatterott College. The school will lease the building, which should be complete by fall, says McEagle president Chris McKee.

He says infrastructure and road work has been going on at the new park since October 2006, over an old residential neighborhood. “The property was purchased as part of the airport expansion and noise mitigation done back in the 1980s,” McKee tells GlobeSt.com. “Many of the properties were vacant or torn down, but the streets were left in place. It was a ghost town.” The area spreads across three communities: Berkeley, Ferguson and Kinloch.

McKee says the plan is for up to six million sf, most of it industrial property in a second phase. However, he says the site will have up to 1.5 million sf of office facilities, though that number could change. “Considering the interest we’ve received in the early 2007, I wouldn’t be surprised if we shift more toward the office side.”

He says the general office market lease rates in the area are $14 per sf, though there isn’t much comparable space around. “It’s traditionally not been an office market here, but between this park and the university, we’re creating it. Around the airport is not traditionally thought of as an office market, but it’s a good location. In many ways, we’re creating the market,” McKee says. The property will also have up to 40,000 sf of retail on the site, McKee says. “The retail will primarily be a service type for the rest of the property,” he says.

The venture is also building a 320,000-sf building for Express Scripts in a small annex to the NorthPark site. The venture will lease the building, which will be located on the university’s campus property. “This is going to be their headquarters, and will be turned over in the next couple weeks,” McKee says.

McKee says it will likely take 10 to 15 years to finish the park, which he says is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs. Economic experts estimate the property will generate $7 billion in impact.

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