By Linda F. Jarrett
Soothsayers may be noting economic doom and gloom, but St. Louis-based Edward Jones is thriving and expanding.
The venerable financial services company is in the beginning stages of a massive
economic development project with the $260 million expansion of its Maryland Heights Campus at I-270 and Dorsett Road, and Des Peres Headquarters Campus at Manchester and Ballas roads.
Components of the plan include:
- Adding at least 500 new jobs by 2011
and 1,000 by 2016 at these locations.
- Constructing a 650,000-square-foot expansion consisting of three new office buildings and parking garages at their Maryland Heights Campus.
- Adding a new 225,000-square-foot office building and parking garage at the firm's headquarters at the Des Peres Campus.
"We are very excited about the expansion of our facilities in Maryland Heights and Des Peres. The new buildings will provide
efficient, purpose-built space for training, operations, service and support of our
growing branch network," says Jim Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones.
"They will also provide the professional work environment that the 1,000 additional associates we will add over the next few years will require. We have clear goals to grow from our 11,300 to 17,500 financial advisors over the next five years, enabling us to increase the number of individual clients served from six million to more than twice that. These are very exciting times for Edward Jones, and for our home town of St. Louis!"
The Maryland Heights Campus, encompassing 56 acres, began with 18 buildings, and, when completed, will have a total of eight to ten buildings and approximately eight garages, says John Boul, manager of global media relations.
"The Campus master plan extends beyond the first three buildings to which we are currently committed," says Jodi Gay, director of facilities. "We can construct up to five more buildings. We'll basically demolish all the existing buildings with the exception of the data center and video building."
The first phase of the project is building three buildings to house sales training and information systems associates, the current primary functions of the Maryland Heights Campus, Gay says.
"This phase is scheduled for completion by 2011," Boul says. "We currently have the okay from the City of Maryland Heights to build up to four buildings. Assuming all goes as planned, we'll apply for approval for another four buildings and corresponding garages at the appropriate time."
Completion of the entire project depends on the company's growth, Gay says. "The beauty of our real estate master plan is that we have the land that can be developed. We have good relationships with the State, County and the City of Maryland Heights, and as the firm continues to grow, then we can determine when itÕs appropriate to bring on additional real estate."
"This will have a tremendous impact on the City of Maryland Heights, which has been historically noted for its industrial buildings that surround the area," she says. "This becomes a campus environment and, in my mind, should spur redevelopment within the City itself."
In 1995, Edward Jones took over the old Community Federal Building on Manchester Road in Des Peres. At that time, it was the tallest building in the county.
Expanding the Des Peres Campus corporate headquarters took a bit of negotiating between Jones and the City of Des Peres. Jones made a number of changes to the original site plan by reducing the square footage of the office addition from 291,000 square feet to 225,000 to accommodate the City's requests.
They also reduced the size and height of the parking garage from six stories above ground to four stories above ground with one story below.
Edward Jones is also paying for dredging the lake behind city hall to address any possible issues concerning construction-related water runoff and to complement the City's beautification efforts.
"We're happy to have reached this compromise with the City of Des Peres that will allow this important development project to move forward," Weddle says. "This addition will allow us to add jobs and expand our business so we can serve a growing number of clients."
Completion is expected in late 2009.
Highway and roadway improvements are also part of the Maryland Heights Campus expansion.
Progress Parkway, which runs through the Campus, will be relocated. Maryland Heights will be funding the relocation in addition to a prior appropriation of $4.8 million in federal highway funds.
A new interchange at I-270 and Dorsett Road will also be built.
"We've been working collaboratively
with the City, Missouri Department of Transportation, the County and Missouri Department of Economic Development for quite some time in redeveloping the interchange. It's currently scheduled to start January 1, 2010," says Gay.
The new interchange will be a diverging diamond interchange, a new type of traffic control, according to MoDOT.
"This will create additional capacity for cars to exit onto Dorsett Road and to enter I-270," Gay says. "So it will increase the overall capacity of the interchange, as well as Dorsett Road."
Cost for this interchange will be $30 million. St. Louis County has committed $5.1 million toward the project to be funded in years 2009 through 2011. The City of Maryland Heights has committed $6.5 million to be funded in years 2009 through 2011.
The Federal Transportation SAFETEAU-LU Act has allocated $1.8 million, and the remaining $17 million will be funded by the State of Missouri through the Economic Development and the Missouri Build programs.
Edward Jones is currently working with Maryland Heights to get approval for relocating American Industrial Drive, and is committing $2 million for this project.
Roadway improvements for the Des Peres Campus include adding a left turn lane and traffic control signage at the Manchester Road entrance.
The Architectural Dimension
Vern Remiger, chief operating officer and architect for the architectural design firm, Arcturis, says their firm has handled planning needs for Jones since 1989. "It's been exciting to watch them grow as their space needs change. When we first started working with them, we were doing 30,000-square-foot projects. Now, we're doing 300,000-square-foot projects."
Challenges for the Maryland Heights Campus project included turning the main road into a loop road system, Remiger says.
"While we're building inside of a loop road, we have to maintain a lot of existing buildings, while we're building new ones. We're using buildings in the middle of the construction zone, so moving people, opening parking areas for construction workers and getting shuttle buses around has become quite the challenge," he says.
While the work is being done in phases, Remiger says the plan is that at the end of any one phase, "it will look like a completed project, so we're always thinking about that along the way."
St. Louis County has granted the company $37 million in tax abatements for the Maryland Heights expansion and $17.8 million for the Des Peres expansion.
Boul says that the abatements "level the playing field and makes staying and expanding in St. Louis County as attractive as going somewhere else. Without these types of incentives, this project would not have been built in St. Louis County."
"We look at it as win-win situation for everybody, including the school districts and other taxing bodies."
According to the expansion announcement, the abatements include approximately $3.9 million in incentives through the Missouri Quality Jobs Act, and $30.5 million in Chapter 100 tax abatements based upon Edward Jones' investments in years 2007 through 2011. They will also purchase $7 million of revenue bonds as part of the Missouri BUILD program and receive tax credits to offset the cost as long as the firm adheres to the program requirements for capital investment and new jobs creation.
With approximately 3,500 employees at its Maryland Heights Campus, Des Peres HQ Campus, and Maryville Centre locations, plus about 500 employees at branch office locations, Edward Jones plans to forge ahead.
"The current economic situation hasn't affected our model which remains solid,"
Gay says. And according to the St. Louis County Economic Council, the 500 new jobs created at Edward Jones will have an annual economic impact of $117 million. In addition, the project will create an additional 540 jobs as a result of the expansion. (This does not include the impact of the construction of the new facilities).
The Big Picture
RCGA Senior Vice President of Economic Development Steve Johnson says, "People always forget that Edward Jones had clear options and that their expansion in St. Louis was not a foregone conclusion. It required the concerted effort of the State of Missouri and several of our local economic development partners to craft a clear and compelling
package that positioned St. Louis as the clear location of choice for this investment."
From Domes to Trails
In 1893, Edward D. Jones Sr. was born in St. Louis, Mo. Little did St. Louis, or the rest of the Jones family realize what was put in motion.
In 1922, at age 28, Jones established Edward D. Jones & Company in the heart of St. Louis' financial district downtown. He was determined that his company would treat salespeople as partners in the business, and treat clients just as fairly.
This credo has propelled the financial services firm of Edward Jones to a position of leadership in its field.
The firm worked steadily along until the mid-1950s when the founder's son Edward D. "Ted" Jones decided to put into practice his idea of how investments should be presented to potential clients.
In 1955, Jones opened the first branch office in Mexico, Mo. By 1960, the firm had nine branch offices and 60 financial advisors. Expansion to Canada came in 1994, and in 1997, Edward Jones opened its first European branch offices in the United Kingdom.
In 2000, the firm had grown to 5,651 branch offices and 5,939 financial advisors. In 2001, the firm opened a western campus in Tempe, Ariz., that houses some of its information systems, training and other functions.
Not only has the firm been a leader in its field, it has taken a leadership position in the community. In 2002, Edward Jones bought the naming rights to St. Louis' football stadium, since known as the Edward Jones Dome.
In particular, Ted Jones felt close to rural Missouri and had, in fact, been a student in the School of Agriculture at the University of Missouri. One of his triumphs in this field was conversion of the 200-mile issouri/Kansas/Texas rail bed to the now-famous Katy Trail. In 2004, he donated $2.2 million to assist in the purchase of the abandoned line, which made it the longest continuous hiking and bicycling trail in the country.
This June, Edward Jones, announced the opening of its 10,000th branch worldwide. The 10,000th branch is in Southington, Conn. In celebration of the milestone, Edward Jones announced a $25k donation to the Town of Southington's Rails-to-Trails initiative, which converts old railroad lines into trails that can be used by the public for recreation.
The company to this day continues to play an active role in the cultural and philanthropic arena, as well as being a leader in financial services.