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Attorney, ex-head of Missouri’s economic development office joins Krewson’s cabinet | Business

Longtime Bryan Cave attorney Linda Martinez, who did a stint as chief of Missouri’s economic development office under former Gov. Jay Nixon, is headed across downtown to City Hall.

Martinez confirmed Thursday that she will join St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s Cabinet, where she will take a lead role in the city’s economic development efforts.

She has spent 35 years at one of the largest law firms in the state, where she is a partner who handles complex economic development deals using local development incentives, tax-exempt bonds and state tax credits.

In an interview, Martinez, 62, said that she worked with then-alderman Krewson on developments in the Central West End and that she is “extremely excited” to join city government.

“I worked with the mayor on a number of projects over the years and have seen her ability to get consensus,” Martinez said.

In the city, Martinez worked on marquee projects, such as converting the former Homer G. Phillips Hospital into senior apartments, and she was involved in the effort to build the Kiel Center, now Scottrade Center, downtown.

More recently, Martinez has also worked on big projects in St. Louis County, including the new headquarters of Reinsurance Group of America, Bunge and World Wide Technology, and Monsanto’s research campus in Chesterfield.

Those projects required working with county government and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

The Partnership was part of an effort four years ago to promote collaboration between city and county governments. It absorbed some city economic development functions in 2013. It also houses all of the functions formerly handled by the St. Louis County Economic Council. Much of the Partnership’s work focuses on county projects, while city projects are mainly handled by St. Louis Development Corp.

Martinez signaled a desire to enhance the city’s relationship with the Partnership.

“I think the Partnership is a wonderful example of what Lyda’s vision is for regional cooperation and avoiding the duplication of services,” Martinez said.

Her appointment also means a change in the relationship between the mayor’s office and St. Louis Development Corp., the city’s economic development office led by Otis Williams. Martinez said her role in the mayor’s office would be “complementary” to that organization, but the economic development position is one that hasn’t been filled in years.

Barbara Geisman, now an attorney at Thompson Coburn, once held a similar position for former Mayor Francis Slay. When Geisman stepped down in 2010, Slay relied more on SLDC for development functions. In recent years, Williams at SLDC had a close relationship with Slay’s office and handled the city’s big-ticket development projects.

This isn’t Martinez’s first government job. In 2009,…

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