Metro-East News

NGA announces one-week delay in decision on headquarters location

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency announced Wednesday it would be delaying by one week — to the first week of April — its decision on whether it will build its $I.6 billion western headquarters in St. Clair County, next to Scott Air Force Base, or in north St. Louis.

The delay stems from a one-week delay in the release of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final environmental impact statement on four potential sites — two in St. Louis County, in addition to the front-runner sites in St. Clair County and St. Louis — under consideration for the spy agency’s new home. The agency’s new western headquarters will replace its current site at the old St. Louis Arsenal south of downtown St. Louis.

Robert Cardiloo, the NGA director, was scheduled to formally announce the final decision of where NGA West will be built by the end of May.

“That’s probably still a good target date for that record of decision,” said David Berczek, an NGA spokesman.

The NGA is a secretive spy agency attached to the U.S. Defense Department that uses satellite imagery to make maps and other data tools for America’s military and intelligence organizations, as well as for civilian federal agencies.

If it comes to St. Clair County, the NGA project will be one of the biggest projects in metro-east history. Construction of the 800,000-square-foot building will create 15,000 temporary construction jobs in addition to 3,100 permanent jobs.

Experts predict NGA West could be the first of other intelligence and defense agencies drawn to St. Clair County, bringing potentially thousands more jobs to the region in the years ahead.

Construction on NGA West is set to begin in early 2017, with the project completed by 2021.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000