April 13, 2017 | Liz Austin

Tony Bennett might have left his heart in San Francisco, but young urban professionals are foregoing the City by the Bay for up-and-comer St. Louis.

Worried your startup may have trouble luring top talent to its St. Louis-based headquarters? Fear not! St. Louis may not be as universally well-known as cities like New York or San Francisco, but there are countless benefits to working in a smaller, up-and-coming city, particularly when compared to these larger tech hubs.

Below are just a few of the ways in which St. Louis facilitates higher quality of life and makes it easy for locally based companies to attract talented recruits from around the country:

Low Cost of Living

St. Louis is a buyer’s market. According to 2012 census data from the Department of Commerce, the cost of living in St. Louis is a whopping 11% below the national average, largely thanks to affordable housing. A 2016 study from mortgage and consumer loan information website HSH.com ranked St. Louis the fourth most affordable city in the entire country for homeowners, and even Forbes thinks St. Louis is a great place to live, deeming it the seventh most affordable metropolitan area in the U.S.

Why so cheap? St. Louis’ population has decreased over the past few years, meaning the average cost of homes has dropped far below the national average. But prices won’t stay this low for long, and smart buyers will act fast to invest in our rapidly growing, thoroughly metropolitan city.

Burgeoning Startup Scene

Rents may be low, but the St. Louis tech scene is growing faster than ever. Thanks to affordable real estate and growing network of innovators, more startups are choosing to set up shop in the city. Popular Mechanics even went so far as to rank St. Louis the best startup city in America, claiming the city is “building an ecosystem to turn innovators into entrepreneurs.” Thanks in large part to city incentive programs for entrepreneurs and restorative construction projects, St. Louis’ commercial sector is one of the fastest accelerating in the country.

Programs like the Cortex Innovation Community ensure tech entrepreneurs have every possible resource necessary to build a successful business. Located in St. Louis’ Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods, Cortex is home to some of St. Louis’ most exciting new projects. In fact, Microsoft just announced plans to open a regional headquarters in the district.

Amazing Art and Culture

When talented young professionals are choosing where to set down roots, they’re not just looking for a place to work — they’re looking for somewhere they can build a life. One of St. Louis’ greatest assets is that nothing is out of reach — activities are affordable, venues are accessible, and the crowds are always manageable.

For those on a budget, attractions like the Zoo and most museums are completely free of charge. Even the Symphony offers surprisingly affordable ticket prices, meaning you might have a better chance of catching a bit of culture in St. Louis than in New York City, where tickets to see the New York Philharmonic often begin at $200 per person. Speaking of New York, the historic Fabulous Fox Theater offers the best of Broadway right here in St. Louis. Did we mention Hamilton is on this year’s program?

On beautiful days, you can find most of the city’s residents jogging around or picnicking in picturesque Forest Park, a green getaway in an eco-friendly city. But no matter what your future employees might be looking for—affordable housing, easy access to outdoor activities, a lively restaurant scene — St. Louis has all the key ingredients for a new business and its staff to thrive.

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