The Saint Louis Zoo Association and the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 announced Friday that they have entered into a sale agreement for the union’s 452-acre complex in north St. Louis County for $7.1 million.
According to the zoo, the funds were allocated using privately donated funds. The space would be used for the zoo’s continued effort to mission to conserve animals.
Jeffrey Bonner, the chief executive officer of the Saint Louis Zoo, said the space will help provide needed care to animals and the parcel of land is exactly what was needed to help fulfill their mission.
“We have long desired an expanded land area to provide the best possible care for animals, especially a place where we can focus on conservation breeding efforts with endangered animals and those that are at risk,” Bonner said in a written statement. “There are very few parcels of land in the metropolitan area that could meet this need and we are grateful to have entered into this agreement with Local 562. The property offers great terrain, perimeter fencing, utilities, lakes, good buffers surrounding and existing buildings.”
Once the assessment is finalized, which would take several months, the zoo will develop the property for the purposes of dedicated care for threatened and endangered animals.
While specific details are not yet known, there also will likely be a public component to the property. This is similar to other zoos that have off-site conservation breeding facilities, and the public element offered often includes a wildlife and safari experience.
Bonner added that the zoo is still committed to maintaining their 100-year-old campus in Forest Park, which still has significant infrastructure needs but they also have tremendous need for additional space.
John O’Mara, Local 562 business manager, said the site is historic and the union is honored to sell the property to an organization that brings added value to the community.
“As Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 leave a nearly 50-year legacy behind, we look forward to enhancing our training program for generations to come,” O’Mara said. “Since the late 1960s, this site has been the home of hardworking skilled craftsmen in the plumbing and pipefitting industry. This also was the place where families would gather after work and on weekends, keeping the tradition of brotherhood alive in Local 562.”
For more information on the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, go here: www.local562.org.