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NGA construction takes shape in north St. Louis, stays on schedule

Construction is still on track to finish on the original timeline at the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — The steel structure of the new $1.7 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency western headquarters in north city is taking shape on the original timeline, with construction so far avoiding COVID-related delays. 

Construction is still on track to finish on the original timeline at the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024, the design-build contractor for the project, McCarthy HITT, said in a media briefing at the site Thursday. 

That means the federal intelligence agency could still move into the Next NGA West campus at Jefferson and Cass avenues on its original timeline of 2025.

Steel and other construction costs are skyrocketing for some projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but NGA West avoided those problems because of timing, said McCarthy HITT Vice President of Operations Jeff Boyer. Most of the steel for the NGA project was ordered pre-pandemic and delivered to the site on time last year after being fabricated locally. 

“We were really fortunate that based on the timing of where we were on the project, we were kind of able to weather the COVID storm in terms of materials, material escalation, personnel,” Boyer said. “We were able to get through that, and it didn’t slow down the job in any way.”

Some contractors were still finishing designs as the pandemic hit last year, but they were able to work from home and the project's progress continued, Boyer said. 

About 400 to 450 construction workers are now on the site each day, Boyer said. 

The first 18 months of the project have been spent grading the site and getting it ready for construction while installing the foundations that will become the main building, two parking garages, a delivery inspection facility and secure entry/access points. 

With no delays so far, crews will focus on the buildings themselves in 2021. Since April, half the steel structure footprint of the main 700,000-square-foot facility has gone vertical. 

Enclosure of the main building could start as soon as August and would continue through May or June of next year, Boyer said. The goal is to have the headquarters almost completely enclosed by the beginning of 2022, he said.

Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.