The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency(NGA) has decided to stay in St. Louis and build a new headquarters in north city, the agency announced Thursday.

According to a press release from the NGA, Director Robert Cardillo chose the City of St. Louis as his preferred location to build the new NGA West.

The agency's western regional headquarters are currently near the Anheuser-Busch brewery south of downtown, but a bigger, more modern facility is needed. The agency employs more than 3,000 workers.

The agency's choice deals a blow to efforts by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and others to lure the complex to a site near Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County.

Agency director Robert Cardillo tells The Associated Press that an urban location is preferable to "attract, recruit and retain" the more than 3,000 high-tech workers at the military defense and mapping agency.

Construction on the new $1.75 billion facility is expected to begin in 2017. It will be built on free land offered to the NGA earlier in March.