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Seneca Commercial Real Estate Celebrates ‘Topping Out’ of [email protected]

By Benson Hill

December 6, 2019


160,000-square-foot building designed as headquarters for Benson Hill, Inc

ST. LOUIS (Dec. 6, 2019) – As part of the expansion plan for Benson Hill, a crop improvement company, Seneca Commercial Real Estate is in the process of completing the [email protected] (BioResearch & Development Growth (BRDG) Park) building and will host a topping out celebration. Located on the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s campus, the 160,000-square-foot headquarters building will continue to position 39 North as a leading innovation district focused on agtech. The new facility is expected to house as many as 300 employees.

“Being part of securing Benson Hill’s HQ is both a challenge and an honor and continues great movement forward by the agtech community in St. Louis County and Creve Coeur,” said Larry Chapman, founder and CEO of Seneca Commercial Real Estate. “With Bayer and Bunge nearby, we’ll really see 39 North as a focal point for economic development and job creation for our region, and that is what Seneca is about: Our primary focus is to undertake complex transactions that support the growth of the St. Louis region.”

The topping out ceremony will begin at 11 a.m., Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at the [email protected] jobsite, at 1001 N. Warson Rd., Creve Coeur, MO 63132. During the ceremony, participants will sign the top steel beam and lift it in place. Welcome remarks and photos will be taken. A topping out ceremony is traditionally held when the last beam is placed atop a structure during its construction. Following the ceremony, attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about its expansive lab space and the latest building amenities creating a collaborative, healthy, and fun atmosphere. Lunch will be provided. Being a construction zone, all attendees are asked to wear closed-toe shoes (no high-heels) to the jobsite.

“The business of agriculture technology is booming and St. Louis County has been at the forefront of research for decades. More campuses like Seneca’s [email protected] are sure to fuel this economic growth,” said County Executive Sam Page. “Alongside major players in the industry choosing St. Louis as their headquarters, our region will remain a leader in international agricultural technology.”

“This building was designed to support the creative agriculture technology being developed at Benson Hill. Along with Seneca, the City of Creve Coeur is excited to build upon the current momentum of this industry in the St. Louis region,” said City of Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz. “The features and amenities within these developments will lend a hand to attracting and influencing young talent in the country, showcasing our community.”

Projects like these only happen when a great team of professionals committed to the success of our community, come together to make things happen. The Bank of Washington understood how important Benson Hill’s headquarters is to St. Louis, so they rolled up their sleeves and found a way to finance the construction.

“We are honored to help bring this project to fruition, to build a relationship with Larry Chapman and his team, and to help St. Louis and the Creve Coeur community grow. As the St. Louis region continues to experience economic vitality, attracting companies of this magnitude, offering jobs at this scale, and becoming a recognized and respected technological hub, we know the strong future of the St. Louis area will continue to move forward,” remarked L.B. Eckelkamp, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Washington.

The combined efforts of Seneca, the Bank of Washington, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Larson Capital, Clayco, Inc., Benson Hill, all with the assistance of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis County, and the City of Creve Coeur, allowed this all-important project to become a reality.

“This was my first opportunity to work with the Bank of Washington. I was not only impressed with their sophistication and creativity, but amazed to learn how many transformational projects the Bank of Washington is working on in the metropolitan area (such as The Foundry and Hibernia Apartments in Dogtown), and just how committed they are to the success of this region.” Chapman said. “Equally important to the team, Larson Capital secured an Opportunity Zone Investment that provided the equity capital needed to bring [email protected] from concept to reality.”

The Danforth Center’s significant commitment to growing the agtech community and investment of millions in infrastructure, like greenhouses, made the [email protected] development possible. Without the Danforth Center’s vision of making St. Louis a world center for plant science, there would be no platform to bring Benson Hill to St. Louis from North Carolina.

“It takes a certain kind of developer to undertake a project like this – one who will take risks and who will meet a very tight schedule of a rapidly growing company like Benson Hill,” said Sam Fiorello, Chief Operating Officer, Danforth Plant Science Center. “We are grateful to Larry and his team for stepping up to the challenge and contributing to the growth of 39 North.”

“We have a great team committed to making food production better, but achieving our purpose can’t happen without a supportive community like we have found in 39 North,” said Matt Crisp, CEO and Co-Founder of Benson Hill. “Partners like Seneca, Clayco, the Danforth Center and others are the reason that we can call St. Louis our home, and we are thrilled to be a part of the progress being made on this project.”

Clayco is the design builder with the Lamar Johnson Collaborative as the architect of record for the building. This is the 31st year Chapman has partnered with Clayco to deliver challenging development projects. With a May 2020 delivery date, Clayco is the go-to fast track design builder that has never failed in over 30 years of projects with Chapman. Other professionals include Stock & Associates, Alper Audi, and Midwest Testing.

“The assembled team and local leadership have really stepped up to support the agtech investment in the St. Louis area,” said Chapman. “Our team is dedicated to improving communities, and this project is a perfect example of how we can do that.”

About Benson Hill
Benson Hill empowers innovators to develop more healthy, tasty, and sustainable food by unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants. Benson Hill’s CropOS platform combines machine learning and big data with breeding techniques and plant biology to drastically accelerate and simplify the product development process. More information can be found online at www.bensonhill.com. Follow us on Twitter at @bensonhillinc.

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and through the support of individuals and corporations. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.

About Bank of Washington
Established in 1877, the Bank of Washington is one of the oldest and largest community banks. The bank offers a full line of individual and business banking products, and is focused on strong personalized service and empowering customers with the tools they need for financial success. The investments that the Bank of Washington makes in the local community ranks them as one of the largest commercial lenders in the St. Louis area. To learn more, visit www.bankofwashington.com.

About Clayco
Clayco is a full-service, turnkey real estate development, master planning, architecture, engineering, and construction firm that safely delivers clients across North America the highest quality solutions on time, on budget, and above and beyond expectations. With $2.6 billion in revenue for 2018, Clayco specializes in the “art and science of building,” providing fast track, efficient solutions for industrial, commercial, institutional and residential related building projects. For more information visit www.claycorp.com. 

About Seneca Commercial Real Estate
Seneca Commercial Real Estate was founded in 2019 by Larry Chapman, as the next evolution of his 41 years of commercial real estate development career, focused on the St. Louis metropolitan area. Based on the idea of improving the community around it, Seneca brings together an experienced team of professionals to transform real estate now and develop areas for the greater good. For more information, call (314) 730-1000 or visit: www.seneca-cre.com.

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