Franklin County officials said they plan to collaborate with a group of five organizations working to improve economic development in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber, AllianceSTL, Civic Progress, Downtown STL Inc. and Arch to Park announced Oct. 29 that they are joining together as Greater St. Louis Inc.

“We’ll be coordinating a lot with them,” Union Assistant City Administrator James Schmieder said at a Thursday, Nov. 5, meeting of the board of the Union Development Corp. “They’ll make a lot of referrals to us for potential companies and people that are interested in locating to the area, so we’ll try to work closer with them.”

According to a news release, Greater St. Louis Inc. is modeled after successful programs in markets, including Charlotte, N.C., Denver, Colo., Des Moines, Iowa, Indianapolis, Ind., and Pittsburgh, Pa. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the organization will serve the 15-county St. Louis metropolitan region, which includes Franklin County, as a “unified flagship organization with a bold strategy and agenda.”

Schmieder said Greater St. Louis can assist with Union’s planned application with the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s certified site program.

UDC is working on certifying a 37-acre site in the Union Corporate Center. State certification allows businesses to know that their property meets certain qualifications.

“They’ll help us in marketing our property and, at the same time, give us leads on potential companies,” he said.

Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy told The Missourian the merger is a good idea.

“It’s a rebranding of a number of organizations,” she said. “We already have a good working relationship with AllianceSTL and the regional chamber.

“It’s good to have one entity marketing the entire region,” she said.

The new organization will help Washington in its years long quest to improve its industrial base, Lucy said.

In a statement to The Missourian, Greater St. Louis Inc. CEO Jason Hall said the organization will be dedicated to advancing growth and prosperity for all 15 counties in the metropolitan region.

“AllianceSTL, an affiliate of Greater St. Louis, Inc., will continue to work every day to attract new businesses to the metro area,” he said. “We will work with local leaders throughout St. Louis to do this work corroboratively with the goal of achieving a higher level of growth. In the coming weeks and months, Greater St. Louis Inc. will be reaching out and engaging the region through town hall meetings, presentations and online engagement. We want to build a unified agenda so that the region can move forward in bolder and more collaborative ways.”