Thursday, July 18, 2024

Saint Louis Zoo’s upcoming WildCare Park releases economic report and fly-through rendering

Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park released a new fly-through rendering video and an economic impact report projecting that the project will generate over $660 million in economic activity across the St. Louis region within the next 10 years.

“We are creating a place where endangered and threatened animals can thrive,” said Dwight Scott, Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “But this report makes it clear WildCare Park will help the regional economy thrive too.”

WildCare Park, a safari park and conservation center under development in north St. Louis County, is expected to open to the public in 2027.

The economic impact report totals WildCare Park’s estimated operational expenditures, visitor spending both on and off site and the project’s larger impact on regional employment and wages, business sales and tax revenue through 2034.

The report estimates WildCare Park will generate:

  • Average attendance of 421,900 guests each year after opening with approximately 65% of guests originating from outside St. Louis City and St. Louis County.
  • WildCare Park guests will spend about $184 million at regional businesses outside of the safari park within the next 10 years.
  • An annual average of 384 jobs, which includes positions at WildCare Park and in the region.
  • A total of $97.3 million in governmental revenue, including $49.9 million in state and local tax revenues.

Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis Inc., applauded the combined economic impact of both the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park and WildCare Park in north St. Louis County, expected to total over $2.5 billion over the next decade.

“The Saint Louis Zoo alone already averages around $200 million of economic value annually, a number enhanced by its considerable cultural impact,” said Hall. “With the additional value WildCare Park brings to the metro, the Zoo will continue to act as an increasingly significant economic engine for our region.”

The development of WildCare park is estimated to cost $230 million funded through multiple sources, including philanthropy, external financing proceeds, which includes Zoo and Saint Louis Zoo Association cash reserves and tax revenue generated by Prop Z passed by St. Louis County voters in 2018. With the passage of Prop Z, St. Louis County residents will be able to experience WildCare Park admission-free.

“WildCare Park will bring with it a major tourism boost for our region and an economic boost for north St. Louis County,” said St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “The Zoo is a favorite of locals as well as a national tourist destination and WildCare Park will join the list of must-sees when in the St. Louis region.”

The report estimates that guests to WildCare Park will generate significant spending in a wide range of local industries.

“This project is an amazing opportunity for businesses in north St. Louis County,” said Rebecca Zoll, President/CEO North County Inc. “With around $184 million in off-site guest spending over the next decade, hospitality, retail, transportation and entertainment sectors will all get a significant boost.”

“We want WildCare Park to be a job creator within and beyond its gates for the region,” said Sabarras George, Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park Director. “As we grow, I look forward to seeing our region’s businesses do the same.”

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