Earlier this morning, I joined Dennis Matheis of WellPoint (the parent company of Anthem/Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Link) as he announced the company’s decision to maintan its regional headquarters in the City. That decision kept 800 WellPoint jobs downtown at 1831 Chestnut, and it means that 300 jobs currently located in other parts of the region will be joining them by this time next year.
I am glad WellPoint chose the City. They could have chosen anywhere.
Downtown has come a long way as a neighborhood in the last eight years. We have seen more than $5 billion in new investment downtown. More than 10,000 people now live downtown. More than 100 new restaurants, shops and stores have opened downtown since 2003.
To build on that success, we need to keep existing jobs Downtown and bring more here. That’s why WellPoint’s decision is so important.
WellPoint pays approximately $3 million a year in taxes for City services. Its consolidation in the City means that it will pay even more in City taxes next year. That good for us, for the other taxing districts, and for the St. Louis Public Schools, who will continue to receive the real property tax revenues generated by the property. Had WellPoint moved, those revenue streams would have been jeopardized.