Re-Envisioning MSI

The Jones Administration plan for the property and buildings on the former Medium Security Institution Workhouse campus.


From the beginning of her administration, Mayor Jones committed to closing the Medium Security Institution (MSI), known as the Workhouse. Based on that commitment, the Workhouse has been empty of detainees since June of 2022. It is now time for the administration to determine what to do with the property and buildings on the former Workhouse campus. Unequivocally, MSI will not be used again to house detainees or prisoners.

Community Engagement

Recognizing the need to re envision uses for this property, the Jones administration funded a community-led process to provide recommendations for the use of the facility. The work of this group gave important context for consideration as we determine next steps. Nearly 2,500 residents participated in the process through various channels, including online and in-person engagement, door-to-door canvassing, surveys, small group meetings, and community events.

The legacy of the MSI facility cannot be ignored. For many community members, this facility caused pain that cannot be forgiven. The administration is considering a wide range of viewpoints that were expressed during the engagement process.

During an initial round of engagement, ideas from the public fell into 35 different types of uses which were reviewed by the Stakeholder Steering Committee, City staff, and other area experts. After an initial assessment of community need and the potential for success, 15 use types proceeded into a second round of public engagement. Acknowledging the curation of this feedback, the Administration must also consider initial input from community members at large, service providers, and complete due diligence to assess the appropriate repurposing of the facility.

The Mayor’s response to the full report and the report itself can be found here.


FAQ Regarding Tiny Homes at the MSI Site
MSI Environmental Site Assessment December 2023
Re-Envisioning MSI Initial Survey Results
Re-Envisioning the Workhouse Vision Report


Many residents viewed the closure of MSI as an opportunity to refocus on positive community investment. Recommendations raised in the wider community survey included:

  • Shelters
  • Healthcare
  • Affordable housing 
  • Social Service Hub 
  • Youth recreation and services 
  • Mental healthcare 
  • Restorative justice
  • Legal Services 
  • Job and Business Training and Support 
  • Community Center with Education and Childcare

Overwhelmingly, St. Louis residents want the future of the Workhouse site to provide direct benefit to communities and have an assurance of sustained success. The stakeholder group recognized broadly that “the affordable housing shortage and resulting homelessness are a visibly dire crisis in St. Louis. Shelter is a basic need that, when met, allows people to get on their feet and meet their other needs.” The recommendations specifically provided by the stakeholder group included the following:

  • Shelter for unhoused neighbors with pets 
  • Transitional housing 
  • Memorial marker 
  • Off-site service hub
  • Solar Energy Generation 
  • Prairie Restoration
  • Industrial Uses 

Regarding housing, the stakeholder group noted the need to remediate land as needed and to avoid housing individuals within existing structures. 

Next Steps

The Jones Administration will evaluate concerns posed by the Stakeholder committee. As the Administration investigates next steps, the team will assess concerns related to soil and air quality, connections to public transportation, regional housing needs, and how to best capture the troubling legacy of MSI in a way that honors community members. Overall, the Administration plans to announce the next formal steps for the MSI facility prior to the summer of 2024.

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Office of the Mayor

(314) 622-3201

1200 Market, City Hall Room 200
St. Louis, MO 63103

8 AM - 5 PM Monday through Friday

Contact the Office of the Mayor

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