Recently, Mayor Francis Slay posted a question for all of us to consider - is Downtown St. Louis a priority for our region? Clearly it is for the Mayor and for his administration. Is it a priority for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and our pursuit of prosperity in the entire bi-state region? Yes! A vibrant downtown St. Louis:
- Enhances our global brand, as well as how we see ourselves;
- Matters to diverse and mobile individuals who make business growth possible;
- Sets the pace of development throughout the whole region, like the heart to the body.
Regardless of where we live or work, downtown matters. We’re fortunate to have one of the world’s great icons on our front lawn. The St. Louis Gateway Arch embodies our region’s history and future, as well as the spirit of explorers, innovators, entrepreneurs who have come here or started their discoveries here. Like the Nike swoosh, it’s a brand others covet and with the CityArchRiver project our community is fully embracing the Arch. When visitors come they will not only visit the Arch but have easier connectivity to downtown. When people think about St. Louis, when the Cards are playing in the World Series and the media shows the “background reel,” it’s our skyline and the Gateway Arch that defines our brand.
I have the opportunity to tour offices and plants all over our region – from Mascoutah to Washington and all points in between. There’s inevitably a picture of the St. Louis skyline in the lobby, on the website, or throughout the facility. It’s usually next to pictures and memorabilia of the Cardinals, Rams and Blues. People’s stories about St. Louis always seem to start with a downtown story.
Economic growth is driven by talent: the diverse, educated individuals starting their own enterprises, helping scale companies or who are committed to solving the many social issues our world faces. By and large, younger, more mobile workers prefer living in or close to vibrant downtowns with access to transit and trails. The same is true for those who are embarking on their “second half.” Vibrant downtowns matter to attracting talent!