A new report analyzing the tech industry’s impact on local real estate has found the St. Louis-area could be poised to be a new tech center in the United States.

The report, published by CBRE, highlighted local tech hotspots such as Cortex and the Central Business District in downtown St. Louis, and found that tech companies across several sectors occupy millions of square feet of office space as of the end of 2015.

Those companies span industries such as aerospace, agriculture, healthcare, finance, education, energy, biotech and biomed.

Major tech tenants included in the report are Boeing, Graybar, MasterCard, World Wide Technology, Monsanto and Washington University.

Cortex may be the hottest tech space in the region at the moment, having recently landed big names such as Square, TechShop, AAIPharma, Pandora, the Cambridge Innovation Center and Boeing as tenants. Vacancy in the district is about 4 percent, the CBRE report found.

More space is soon coming, with the three-story, $24 million 4260 building at 4260 Forest Park, soon to come online.

Meanwhile, Baltimore developer Wexford Science & Technology is developing three technology-related buildings totaling more than 500,000 square feet on the 7-acre site of the former U.S. Metals and Supply building.

Wexford previously develop BRDG Park, a biotech facility near the Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur. The Danforth corridor has become a major magnet for life science and agtech startups with facilities such as the Danforth Center and the Helix Center Biotech Incubator nearly at capacity.

A new $45 million research expansion named the William H. Danforth Wing is expected to open in mid-April. The expansion makes room for 100 more researchers. The three-story structure will include $10 million worth of state-of-the-art technology, also funded by private donations, that will focus on life science research, specifically crop improvement, bioenergy, sustainability and plant biology.

Downtown, the number of startups that have outgrown the T-REX incubator, where more than 100 startups do business in more than 160,000 square feet of office space, has led to an uptick in upstart companies taking space in other buildings downtown.

Companies such as Pixel Press, the create-your-own video game startup, and legislative tracking startup TrackBill, moved to the old Laclede Gas Light building at 1017 Olive St., and patent process predictive startup Juristat and sales pipeline analytics upstart TopOPPS moved to the Curlee Building at 611 N. 10th St.

Others, such as Ola Ayeni of Eateria, a restaurant marketing startup, moved into the Millennium Center to open co-working space Claim.

Cheap rent is partially to credit. Rent premiums in 2015 were down about 17 percent in the central business district, and among the lowest in the nation.

The CBRE report also lists Clayton as a tech hotspot, with major tenants including BioSTL, Norse Corp., Centene and Varsity Tutors.

Riot Games, the video game developer that makes League of Legends, one of the most played games in the world, already occupies an entire floor in The Sevens building and plans to expand to another floor in the near future.

Source: St. Louis Business Journal by Brian Feldt