Crime rates halt Centene's Missouri campus expansion

Centene is pausing expansion of its campus in Clayton, Mo., because of high crime rates, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The expanded campus, which was to include a third office tower, hotel and auditorium, won't come unless crime rates in the region outside of St. Louis improve, said Centene CEO Michael Neidorff, according to the report. 

Homicide rates in St. Louis are the highest since the early 1990s. Public safety officials have said the majority of incidences are tied to certain areas and involve people who know one another, as opposed to random violence, according to the report. 

Centene signed an agreement with Clayton officials in 2016 that requires the campus expansion to start by Dec. 31. If the deadline isn't met, Centene will lose out on millions in property tax incentives. 

Clayton Mayor Michelle Harris told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Centene executives have assured her "that as far as Clayton goes as a location, they are very happy here. But they're not willing to put more investment into our region, whether it’s Clayton or anywhere else, until they can feel more hopeful about crime being addressed."

Centene didn't respond to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's request for comment. 

Centene is working on a second headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., that will bring 6,000 jobs to the area.

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