The 39 North Master Plan funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, presents a vision for an innovation district in St. Louis County that is uniquely positioned to advance the region’s global leadership in plant and life sciences. The district will be geared toward lifestyle preferences often sought by highly-skilled employees, including mixed retail, residential and office space connected by walking and biking trails and green space.


  • Strengthen corridors and establish new traffic patterns
  • Connect assets and opportunity sites
  • Establish a cohesive development framework
  • Create a mixed-use center of activity
  • Communicate the district


Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is the world’s largest independent, nonprofit research institute that focuses research at the nexus of food security and the environment to address some of the most important global challenges of the 21st century. We seek to increase agricultural productivity to sustainably feed people today and nearly 10 billion people by the middle of the century and to do so with a lower environmental footprint and with fewer natural resources.

  • 400+ employees, from more than 30 countries
  • 30 scientific teams
  • Collaborative research projects across the globe
  • 1,718 Peer-reviewed publications
  • 3 Members of the National Academy of Sciences
  • $250M in competitive research funding from government agencies, industry, and foundations
  • $50M investment in core technologies
  • $45M annual operating budget
  • $94.3M in annual economic impact to the St. Louis Region
  • 9 startup companies launched by faculty
  • 2 Institutes focused on renewable fuels and improving food security crops for developing countries
  • Faculty and graduate student affiliations: Washington University in St. Louis, University of Missouri Columbia, University of Missouri St. Louis, and Saint Louis University
  • Education and Outreach Programs for K-12 students
  • Total gross square footage: 303,860 sq. ft
  • Laboratory space: 26+ suites; over 77,458 sq. ft. total including lab support
  • Greenhouse complex: 43 bays providing 54,130 total sq. ft. of active growth space

Major Research Focus Areas

Our scientists are plant biologists, computer scientists, engineers, statisticians, and educators who believe we can harness the power of plants to create a future where everyone has access to a nutritious diet and a clean environment. They are leading ground-breaking research in six major areas:

  • Metabolic systems and synthetic biology
  • Biotic and abiotic interactions
  • Crop Improvement
  • Sustainable bioenergy
  • Genomics, phenomics and data science
  • Education research
BRDG Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center
BRDG Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center

BioResearch and Development Growth (BRDG) Park

BRDG Park helps companies span the transition from innovative ideas to commercial success. We are committed to enhancing the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science and creating an innovation economy and 21st-century jobs for future generations. BRDG and EDGE@BRDG cover 270,000 square feet and serves as a vital resource to startups, mid-stage companies, and international companies that have established their North American headquarters in our ecosystem, an on-site workforce training, and equipment loan program, and as a beacon for attracting talent and investment. Tenants have access to more than $50M in core technologies at the Danforth Center and interactions with some of the world’s top scientists. According to a 2020 report by Alliance STL BRDG Park has an annual economic impact of $257.9M on the St. Louis Region.


The 110,000 square foot LEED Gold building is home to early and mid-stage startups, intellectual property attorneys, the North American headquarters of the world’s 4th largest seed company, and the St. Louis Community College Center for Plant and Life Sciences lab technician training program. Building systems are designed to adapt to the diversity of scientific research needs.

  • High-performance glass windows
  • Low flow systems, and high-efficiency equipment
  • State-of-the-art wet lab capable mechanical systems
  • Heavy floor loads to reduce vibration
  • Common areas with break rooms
  • Wampler Conference room with audiovisual equipment

Contact: Mark Gorski, Vice President, Development, mark.gorski@wexfordscitech.com, 314.812.8027


A spectacular, new, 160,000 square foot state-of-the-art building that opened in June 2020 as the headquarters of Benson Hill.  Co-founded by Matt Crisp and Danforth Center Principal Investigator Todd Mockler, PhD, the food tech company is unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants and is an incredible example of the St. Louis innovation ecosystem at work. Benson Hill 300 employees and went public in 2021 on the NYSE (BHIL) valued at over $1 billion.


Helix Center Incubator

The Helix Center Biotech Incubator is a destination location for bioscience, agricultural technology, and plant-science startups. Clients have access to more than 33,000 square feet of affordable wet labs, dry labs, office space, financing, and collaboration. This campus provides the resources needed to accelerate the growth of any startup.  Locating inside the Helix Center means doing business alongside other bioscience and technology entrepreneurs within a world-renowned cluster of bioscience and technology research institutions. As a result, making the move to the Helix Center gives companies every advantage. According to a 2020 report by Alliance STL, the Helix Center has an annual economic impact of $25.5M on the St. Louis Region.

Contact: Mike Davies 314 304-7319

helix center in st. louis
Helix Center


St. Louis’ dynamic system of entrepreneur support organizations, venture capital firms, accelerators, and incubators serves as a magnet for talented scientists and entrepreneurs from across the globe. Business growth is sparked by several venture capital firms with a focus on agriculture research and technologies: BioGenerator, Cultivation Capital, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Rabo AgriFinance, Tech Accel, and Yield Lab to name a few.

St. Louis delivers an impressive combination of connectivity to grower customers because the region is within a 500-mile radius of more than half of all U.S. agriculture production, including 80% of the nation’s corn and soybeans. The region is home to the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, U.S. Soybean Export Council, Renewable Fuels Association, and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action.

Agriculture Innovation


As home to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s western headquarters, we are applying our regional strengths in location science, smart devices, remote imaging and sensing, AI, and machine learning to accelerate the pace of innovations that make the agri-food industry more secure, agile and sustainable. Venture capital, accelerator programs, innovation districts, and other forms of wrap-around support are creating a gravitational pull toward St. Louis. This well-resourced ecosystem fuels the growth of dynamic agri-food tech and geospatial startups and helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into commercialized solutions.


The dedicated staff at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership manage the implementation of the plan for 39 North in coordination with a steering committee of essential stakeholders, all of whom shaped the Master Plan. In the longer term, an empowered nonprofit entity will be created to ensure the continuation of the District’s mission.



Networking and Capacity Building
Monthly Coffee with Colleagues and Pop up Happy Hour gatherings are held at the Helix Incubator.  The gatherings facilitate serendipitous collisions that drive creativity, foster collaboration, and stimulate investment in innovation. The event is free, to receive information, sign up for the 39 North newsletter.

Olive and Lindbergh Interchange

Construction has been completed on the Olive and Lindbergh interchange reconfiguration project to turn the existing cloverleaf interchange into a folded diamond interchange, which will move commuter traffic more efficiently and offer full connectivity for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. This project was funded by $4 million of federal transportation funding to design and construct the new interchange, a $1 million match from St. Louis County Transportation and $250,000 of funding from the City of Creve Coeur.

Old Olive Redesign
The Old Olive corridor will be a destination – one that considers commuters and employees as well as residents who will enjoy and benefit from the new streetscape experience. The first phase includes the reconstruction of the Old Olive and Lindbergh intersection to add left turn lanes, new signals, lighting, landscaping, and a shared-use path crossing. This phase of the project is expected to cost $2.4 million. Subsequent phases would include work on the east and west sides of Old Olive to complete road construction and add shared-use paths, medians, branding elements, a stormwater park, and a greenway trailhead.

39N Greenway
Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) awarded 39 North $400,000 to design an open space framework and biking and pedestrian paths that connect to the Centennial Greenway.  In 2023, 39 North Partners will work with GRG on a 30 % design of the proposed greenway.

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