US spy agency selects St. Louis location over Illinois

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A U.S. spy agency looking for a new $1.6 billion home for its western regional headquarters expects to remain in St. Louis rather than move to the city's Illinois suburbs.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on Thursday announced that its preferred location for the project is a blighted section in north St. Louis that city leaders hope will spur an economic turnaround.

The agency's choice deals a blow to efforts by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and others to lure the complex to a site near Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County.

Agency director Robert Cardillo tells The Associated Press that an urban location is preferable to "attract, recruit and retain" the more than 3,000 high-tech workers at the military defense and mapping agency.