Maria Altman


Maria is a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio, specializing in business and economic issues. Previously, she was a newscaster during All Things Considered and has been with the station since 2004. Maria's stories have been featured nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on Marketplace.

Maria has won numerous awards, including from the Illinois Associated Press, the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the Missouri State Teachers Association.

She came to St. Louis from Dallas, where she worked at KERA. Maria has also worked at WUIS in Springfield, and WSIU in Carbondale, Ill. She received her M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa.

In her spare time she serves as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Maria lives in St. Louis with her husband and two kids.

Ways to Connect

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The city could pay developer Paul McKee for his redevelopment rights, as well as his land, if the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency chooses the north city site.

St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams confirmed that this week. He told St. Louis Public Radio the city is negotiating with McKee over both.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

(Updated at 12:20 pm July 30, 2015 with Arch Coal quarterly results)

St. Louis-based Arch Coal has followed Peabody Energy this week in posting a significant quarterly loss. The company says its net loss widened to $168 million, compared to roughly $97-million for the same period a year earlier.
(Read the Arch Coal earnings report)

"Arch continues to weather the significant market challenges facing the industry," said Chief Executive Officer John W. Eaves.

Provided by Boeing

Look closely and you’ll notice a kangaroo on the side of the sleek gray fighter jet and a boomerang on its tail.

This EA-18G Growler, produced at Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security headquarters in St. Louis, has all the markings to show that it's headed to the Royal Australian Air Force.

Flickr/Shane McGraw

Some crops in Illinois are under water. Some have yet to be planted.

After the wettest June on record, officials in Illinois with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week they’re seeking a federal disaster declaration to help farmers with flood-damaged crops.

"This has been the absolute worst spring for getting anything done that I’ve seen in 40 years of farming. It seemed like just as the ground was drying up, it’d rain again," said Greg Guenther, who farms east of Belleville.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Buy it and they will come.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a measure Friday to take a $20 million loan in order to buy land within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The loan will use one--- possibly two---city buildings as collateral. The measure passed with a vote of 18-9 with one abstention.

The NGA, however, will not choose among four possible locations in the St. Louis region until next year.

(courtesy Masonry Association)

The Bank of Washington has loaned developer Paul McKee at least $34 million for his Northside Regeneration project, and possibly as much as $62 million.

The series of 17 loans from the Washington, Mo., bank was made to several of McKee’s holding companies and to Northside Regeneration between 2006 and 2012. The bank, by its own calculations, now holds more than 1,500 parcels as collateral, or about 78 percent of Northside Regeneration’s real estate in St. Louis.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

It was a much different scene than 11 months ago at 9420 West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson.

The parking lot of the former QuikTrip was ground zero for protests in the days following Michael Brown’s death on August 9. The burned-out shell of the store and graffiti was a reminder of the looting and violence that descended on the street.

(courtesy of Roberto Garcia)

The entrepreneurs in this summer’s Arch Grants recipients group come from a wide range of backgrounds.

(You can see the list of 11 grant winners here.)

Since its launch in 2012 the not-for-profit organization has given equity-free grants of $50,000 to 66 startups, for a total of more $3.65 million. Executive Director Ginger Imster said this class is among the most diverse. She said nine of the 11 startups are minority or women-led.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis is a step closer to getting a $20 million loan to help it buy land at the proposed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site on the north side.

The Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee voted for the measure 5- 4 on Friday. Yet some committee members expressed concern about paying the area’s largest land owner, developer Paul McKee, for the property.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Developer Paul McKee of St. Louis is losing control of another project.

A federal judge has ordered that a receiver be put in charge of McKee’s Three Springs at Shiloh development in St. Clair County, Illinois.

The 193-acre development was supposed to include a mix of retail, office and residential buildings in Shiloh. The site has mostly sat empty.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis is estimating it will cost $130 million to bring the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to the north side.

The figure was released Wednesday during a meeting of the Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee. That money would come primarily from city and state sources, although those were not made public.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Several of Paul McKee’s properties within the proposed footprint of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency were sold at auction on Tuesday.

The company that put the 46 parcels on the auction block - Titan Fish Two - had the winning bid of $3.2 million. It’s the same company that filed suit against McKee’s Northside Regeneration in April, claiming it’s owed more than $17 million over defaulted loans.

(image from GEO St. Louis)

The city of St. Louis is considering taking out a loan of up to $20 million to help buy land for the proposed north city site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

bill, sponsored by 5th Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, outlines how the city would use three buildings as collateral for the loan. The bill was introduced to the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

Eleven businesses have been named recipients in the latest round of the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition.

The $50,000 grants are equity-free. The entrepreneurs will also receive support services from Arch Grants and its donors.

Executive Director Ginger Imster said this round includes a mix of tech, consumer products and even manufacturing.

"That is so essential to our regional economy," she said. "We want to always be seeding a diversified regional economy."

Of the 11 startups, Imster said 80 percent are minority or women-led: 

Paul McKee, NGA
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis wants the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to relocate to the north side of the city. In order to make it a viable option, the city is hustling to buy all 100 acres in the proposed footprint just north of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing project site.

Yet more than half of the property is owned by developer Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration, which received significant state tax subsidization to acquire the land.

National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, NGA
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis officials are working hard to convince the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to stay in the city. But property owners in the blocks being offered as a site for the NGA have mixed feelings.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Peabody Energy is cutting about 250 corporate and regional positions.

The St. Louis-based company’s President and CEO Glenn Kellow made the announcement on Monday. The company expects to save $40- 45 million annually after the cuts go into effect.

"While we regret the impact that these actions have on employees, their families and communities, today’s announcement represents another necessary step to drive the company lower on the cost curve," said Kellow in a statement.

St. Louis-based World Wide Technology has acquired local software company Asynchrony.

WWT is a systems integrator that has 3,500 employees and had nearly $7 billion in revenue last year. Asynchrony, which is based in downtown St. Louis, has about 250 employees and will do about $40 million in revenue this year.

WWT Chief Financial Officer Tom Strunk says over the last five years his company has been investing to help simplify customers’ technology infrastructure.

Hazelwood Logistics Center, Paul McKee

Paul McKee’s Hazelwood Logistics Center now belongs to a Kansas City company.

NP Hazelwood 140 held an auction Friday of all of Hazelwood Logistics Center’s assets and land, then entered the only bid of $9.2 million.

Paul McKee pays property taxes, Paul McKee, property taxes
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee has paid his tax bill to the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio reported in April that McKee's company, Northside Regeneration, had failed to pay more than $750,000 in real estate property taxes for 2013 and 2014. The company owns more than 2,000 parcels on the city's north side.

Missouri Technology Corporation, startups
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon is thanking state lawmakers... at least for the funds they appropriated for the Missouri Technology Corporation.

The Democrat was in St. Louis Wednesday touting the nearly $16 million the Republican-controlled legislature included for MTC in the budget passed last week. MTC provides early-stage capital to both entrepreneurs and startups.

"When MTC gives an investment everyone knows that it’s smart and effective, and the legislature going along with us to make more resources available is important," Nixon said.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Two auctions were held Monday in connection with developer Paul McKee’s McEagle Properties, LLC.

In the first auction, held by Triad Bank, McKee appeared to pay off McEagle’s remaining debt to the bank. A company connected to McKee paid Triad $748,000 for McEagle’s assets.

"We are pleased to announce that M Property Services, LLC was the successful bidder for substantially all the assets of McEagle Properties, LLC," said McKee spokesman Jim Gradl in an emailed statement. "M Property Services, LLC is a new entity affiliated with the McKee family."

Hazelwood Logistics Center, Paul McKee
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio/MapBox, OpenStreetMap)

A Kansas City company wants to take over and begin construction this summer on developer Paul McKee’s long-dormant Hazelwood Logistics Center.

But Paul McKee is fighting back in court.

The Hazelwood Logistics Center is in a prime location near Interstate 70 at Lindbergh Boulevard and Missouri Bottom Road. The 151-acre site was to become an industrial and logistics park, but it’s been plagued by lawsuits.

UMWA protest
(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Patriot Coal filed for Chapter 11 protection Tuesday, less than two years after emerging from bankruptcy.

Patriot, which was spun off from Peabody Energy in 2007, was headquartered in St. Louis until earlier this year. The company is now based in Scott Depot, West Virginia, and filed bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia.

President and CEO Bob Bennett said “challenging market conditions” in coal led the company’s board and management team to make the decision. The company is in negotiations to sell its operating assets to a strategic partner.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio/MapBox, OpenStreetMap)

Local developer Paul McKee’s legal troubles have moved to the auction block.

Notices of two separate auctions tied to McKee companies have been filed since the beginning of the month.

The first is connected with the Hazelwood Logistics Center in St. Louis County. The 151-acre site at Lindbergh Boulevard and Missouri Bottom Road was supposed to become an industrial and logistics center but remains mostly undeveloped.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, north city
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A group of residents is asking the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to cross north St. Louis off of a list of four sites the agency is considering for its relocation.

The residents delivered a petition with more than 95,000 signatures to the NGA on Wednesday with the help of the Institute for Justice, an organization based in Arlington, VA, and local group Save North Side STL.

Paul McKee
St. Louis Public Radio

Paul McKee’s legal woes are growing.

PNC Bank filed a federal lawsuit late last week in the Southern District of Illinois. It claims McKee, several of his holding companies and the former Corn Belt Bank & Trust defaulted on an $8 million loan from a PNC predecessor.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Efforts to keep the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in St. Louis are in full gear.

The Missouri Senate passed a measure on Thursday that would capture up to $12 million a year in withholdings taxes from NGA employees for up to 30 years. That money would go to the city for costs associated with luring the agency to a north St. Louis site.

(Flicker, Jim Fenton)

CTY is a technology company that formed in St. Louis just last year.

But the startup nabbed a $35,000 Prototype Fund grant from the Knight Foundation and will test its first product in a project with the city.

The product, called Numina, collects real-time data using optical sensors. This summer those sensors will count pedestrians and bicyclists and send that information to the St. Louis Department of Health.

CEO Tara Pham said the city’s willingness to work with a startup and use new technology is important.

Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The blue and yellow exterior is almost complete, and the store is on track to open this fall in Midtown St. Louis.

We’re talking about the IKEA, of course.

The Swedish furnishings company’s arrival in St. Louis has been long awaited and much anticipated. It will be the 41st store in the U.S., but the first in Missouri.