Home » Featured »Ferguson »Planning & Design »Real Estate »Retail »St. Louis County » Currently Reading:

Perfect Location For Centene’s New Ferguson Claims Center

Earlier this week one local company stepped up to invest in Ferguson:

Centene Corp. has selected Ferguson, the site of unrest for more than three weeks following the police shooting of Michael Brown, as the location for a new claims processing facility, with plans to bring up to 200 jobs to the city. The unrest following Brown’s death prompted Centene to select the city for the expansion. (stltoday)

This is potentially great news! I say potentially because most major call centers fit perfectly in an exurban office park; generic building sounded by massive surface parking lots, all fenced in. Ferguson needs these jobs, but it needs them in an engaged environment. Where? What would it look like? The where is quite simple: Emerson owns the perfect site on the SW corner of W. Florissant & Ferguson Ave., 9001 W. Florissant Ave.

This corner is 7+ acres
This corner is 7+ acres
Looking north from an adjacent Ameren substation
Looking north from an adjacent Ameren substation, the Ferguson Market is in the background
Looking north from in front of the Ameren substation
Looking north from in front of the Ameren substation
Looking south from Ferguson Ave
Looking south from Ferguson Ave
Map of the site consisting of two parcels, both owned by Emerson
Map of the site consisting of two parcels, both owned by Emerson, right of the purple line is Jennings

I’m not sure why Emerson bought this property, likely to raze the structure that was on the site as of 1971. Having a neighbor like Centene could be beneficial to Emerson, more workers means more lunch places. Hopefully Emerson would be willing to sell to Centene, or partner on a project to develop the site. And build what?

What they shouldn't build is a building surrounded by parking
What they shouldn’t build is a building in the center surrounded by parking
Instead, the building should be pushed out to the corner so pedestrians can easily reach the entrances.
Instead, the building should be pushed out to the corner so pedestrians can easily reach the entrance(s).

Ideally the building would be at least two floors, with the first floor for retail. I’d like to see a St. Louis Bread Co (aka Panera*) or Chronicle Coffee on the corner. This would provide additional jobs and more places for these 200 employees and those who work in the area to get breakfast, lunch & dinner. Nearby locally-owned places like Ferguson Burger Bar & More would also benefit. Parking can be located behind the building. If Centene doesn’t need this much space the site could be planned for more than one building facing W. Florissant.  * Disclosure: I have a handful of Panera stock

If Ameren built a new substation at the back corner, an auto entrance could be created at the traffic signal at Solway Ave.

A project at this corner could be a great way to implement East West Gateway’s Great Street master plan for W. Florissant!

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Why not repurpose an existing, vacant, retail structure, like a supermarket? A call center for 200 people needs 12,000-15,000 square feet, plus a lot of parking. Do like Charter did on Manchester.

    • I’ve traveled both sides of W. Florissant from Jennings to I-270, such a facility doesn’t exist within Ferguson. There is an old Schnucks in Dellwood.

      • JZ71 says:

        Ferguson is more than just West Florissant Avenue. There are vacant properties on both North Florissant Road and on South Florissant Road. Metro’s new transit center (old Mazda dealer, on the south side of I-270, on Pershall Road) is in Ferguson. And, given how Emerson has off-shored much of their manufacturing, I’m guessing that they have one or more vacant buildings that they might want to find tenants for, on their campus.

        Part of the problem, in most inner-ring suburbs, is the assumption that it’s better / easier to tear something down and start over than it is to reuse and repurpose. Another part of the problem is the negative impact vacant commercial spaces and properties have on the overall perception of any area. Your series of photos from the last couple of days shows marginal maintenance and a depressing (sub)urban environment. The quickest way to change this is to get new/better tenants into the existing structures, not to take a vacant parcel and build something new. Yes, it could/would likely be new and better than its neighbors, but that would do little to address the rest of the area. At least this parcel, currently, appears to be being well maintained.

        • FYI, it’s still called W. Florissant as it crosses I-270. The point of bringing jobs to Florissant is to help those who need good paying jobs. Locating at the 7+ acre site at W. Florissant & Ferguson Ave is within walking distance of the community Centene is seeking to help.

        • Metro bought a former auto dealership, a 3 acre site. They also bought the vacant land to the east, 5.65 acres. Appraised value: $2,312,900.

          Appraised value of the site I think is perfect: $595,300

  2. Greg says:

    Working for Centene and knowing the high level of security the company has due to the highly sensitive nature of HIPAA data, I would be willing to bet that the new claims center will NOT be in a building with ground floor retail.

    • Separate entrances would make sure a cafe customer picking up their pick 2 order wouldn’t end up in the file room.

      The Devon Tower in Oklahoma City is very secure, but the first floor is open to all. Anyone can eat at the company cafeteria.


Comment on this Article: