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From Site Selection magazine, March 2024

Two Gateway Communities Repeat Atop River Corridor Rankings

Both St. Louis and Blytheville have landmark arches and big-time projects.

Over Great River Road (Hwy. 61) in Blytheville, Arkansas, you’ll find this concrete archway, which turns 100 this year, marking the state line between Arkansas and Missouri.
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Tourism

by Adam Bruns

top us if you’ve heard this one before.
In a repeat of last year’s results, the St. Louis metro area tops the rankings of all metro regions along the entire Mississippi River corridor by total number of corporate facility investment projects. Blytheville, Arkansas, follows suit by repeating as the No. 1 region in projects per capita.

St Louis Arch
The Gateway Arch welcomes another sunrise at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis.
Photo by Sue Ford courtesy of National Park Service

The rankings are based on projects that qualified for the Conway Projects Database between July 2022 and December 2023 by meeting at least one of three criteria: at least $1 million invested, at least 20 new jobs created or at least 20,000 new sq. ft. of space.

The Twin Cities, Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans and the Quad Cities follow St. Louis in the overall rankings. In the per-capita category, Blytheville’s fellow Arkansas community of Helena-West Helena is the runner-up, followed by Muscatine, Iowa; Clinton, Iowa; and Natchez, Mississippi.

The Blytheville region welcomed projects during the qualifying time period from the continuing buildout of Big River Steel ($450 million, 700 new jobs) as well as two rebar steel mini mills from Highbar LLC. All three are in Osceola, Arkansas, part of the Blytheville micropolitan area. Among projects on the horizon is an expected investment by Arizona-based Gowan Milling, which acquired a facility from WinField United for expansion of crop protection chemical production, in an area known for its cotton fields. “Blytheville, Arkansas, is an ideal hub for Gowan Milling to serve customers across the United States efficiently,” the company said in November 2023. “This strategic location ensures timely access to high-quality crop protection chemicals and responsive customer support.”

Among the major projects landing in the bi-state St. Louis region is an $800 million, 1,300-job beef processing facility from American Foods Group in Wright City, located in Warren County, Missouri. “As highlighted in the STL 2030 Jobs Plan, our region’s agricultural assets have long served as an economic engine,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. at the project’s groundbreaking in fall 2022. “The family-owned company complements our already thriving agricultural and agtech strengths and their investment in good-paying jobs in Warren County will benefit our metro for years to come. This win — following a multi-state and metro search — also underscores that St. Louis can go head-to-head with any other region on the merits.”

MS River Rankings

Also investing in the region is a name synonymous with St. Louis and Missouri but known across the nation: Real estate development, architecture, engineering and construction firm Clayco announced in November 2023 that it will relocate and expand its St. Louis offices and operations center from sites in Overland and Clayton to a renovated site in Berkeley, investing $50 million and creating 400 new jobs in addition to the 580 personnel that will make the move.

“Missouri has played an important role in Clayco’s history,” said Clayco Executive Chairman and Founder Bob Clark. “I grew up and started Clayco in the St. Louis region. This announcement and move ensures St. Louis and Missouri will remain an integral part of Clayco’s future. While we have a national footprint, the company is proud to employ over 1,500 people in Missouri, including our field labor and trades craftspeople. It is a high personal priority for me to do all I can to help the region regain the glory of its past. My family, Clayco leadership and I are committed to engaging the community with our funding, our time and our hands. We are grateful to Missouri and Berkeley for helping us reach this milestone.” 

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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