ST. LOUIS — They’re calling it Project Arch at the Missouri Capitol.   It is a big economic win, with at least 400 new, high-paying jobs coming to St. Louis County over the likes of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Phoenix.  

The project will turn a former Express Scripts headquarters building overlooking I-70 in Berkeley into a new St. Louis regional headquarters for the architecture, engineering, and construction firm, Clayco.  

Clayco was founded here in 1984, but its corporate headquarters remain in Chicago after moving there in 2013.  

The State of Missouri has approved about $18 million in incentives for the $50 million Project Arch.  The state’s investment comes in the form of bond financing (Missouri WORKS program) and tax credits (Missouri BUILD) tied to those new jobs with an average salary of $121,000 -a-year. 

“The wages are phenomenal. That’s going to really stand out. I think will help (Clayco) with recruitment,” said Michelle Hataway, Director the Missouri Department of Economic Development.   

Clayco’s founder, Bridgeton native, Bob Clark, says that the jobs will generate state tax revenues that dwarf the state’s investment.   

“We could have added these jobs anywhere,” Clark said. “We could have added them in California, Chicago, in our new facility in Phoenix. We chose St. Louis in mandating all of our hiring to be in St. Louis because our employees are really, really, happy here.” 

He said payroll was expected to grow from $80 million to $140 million as the new jobs are added.   

Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, said the news reflected better days for St. Louis.   

“We have to turn to the image of St. Louis when it comes to crime.  That is the number one obstacle whenever we talk about the area,” he said.  “For the state to do well, St. Louis needs to do well. St. Louis is always going to be a hub.  It’s a big city and there’s always going to be people wanting to go there for many reasons.”   

Clark said he expected the new headquarters to open by October 2024.   

“My team better be there right now, starting demolition,” he said, looking at his watch. “There are no more hurdles (to clear for the project). ”  

The company is also pursuing millions in tax breaks from Berkeley.  Its offices in Clayton and Overland will be consolidated at the Berkeley site, with the total work force there expected to grow to about 1,000 within 5 years.    

Along with Clayco incentives, the Missouri Development Finance Board has also approved $6 million in incentives for Boeing’s proposed $1.8 billion expansion near St. Louis Lambert International Airport expected to add 500 new jobs.