Maria Altman

Reporter

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

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
(MARIA ALTMAN, ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO/MAPBOX, OPENSTREETMAP)

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.

historic preservation, Landmarks Association of St. Louis
(courtesy of Landmarks Association of St. Louis)

The Cupples 7 building in downtown St. Louis was on the National Register of Historic Places, but that didn’t save it from the wrecking ball.

The nine-story building was torn down in 2013 after becoming so unstable the city considered it a public safety risk.

In the wake of the demolition, Landmarks Association of St. Louis decided it was time to create a low-interest loan program for historic preservation.

LaunchCode, community center, tech jobs
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A former state unemployment center on St. Louis’ north side could soon become LaunchCode’s new community center.

The non-profit that focuses on training people in technology and placing them in jobs, made the announcement Friday at the former Nathaniel J. ‘Nat’ Rivers State Office Building at 4811 Delmar Avenue.

"Take a look at this building right now," said LaunchCode co-founder Jim McKevley while pointing to the beige walls, "then come back in a year, and I guarantee it will not look like this."

(courtesy Ameren)

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a federal lawsuit Thursday over a federal agency’s renewal for Ameren’s Callaway Nuclear Power Plant.

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

It’s not the first time.

Developer Paul McKee is facing a $17 million lawsuit over defaulted loans connected to the Northside Regeneration project in St. Louis, and he owes more than $750,000 in property taxes to the city.

But in previously reported but somewhat forgotten news, McKee and his company, Hazelwood Logistics Center, LLC, were ordered to pay a bank $32 million in a federal judgment back in 2011. So far, just a small fraction has been paid.

(Flickr, Paul Sableman)

Closing economic disparities in the St. Louis region is one key to moving past Ferguson.

That was the message at a panel discussion Thursday called "Eight Months Post-Ferguson: The Journey from Recovery to Rebuilding." Several of the panelists said sharp economic contrasts contributed to issues in Ferguson, but are even more stark in other communities.

Developer Paul McKee outlined his plans for an urgent care hospital at 25th St. and Maiden Ln. in July of 2014.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The company with ambitions to bring St. Louis' north side back to life is responding to a lawsuit filed Monday in St. Louis County that alleges Northside Regeneration defaulted on loans and owes more than $17 million.

Paul McKee's company released a statement Friday that said the suit, filed by Titan Fish Two LLC, was meant to "embarrass" Northside.

Photo of 25 Street and Maiden Lane, within the footprint of the Northside Regeneration project.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee owns more than 1,500 acres on the north side of St. Louis, but for the last two years he has not paid property taxes on nearly any of it.

In examining real estate property taxes, St. Louis Public Radio discovered McKee’s company, Northside Regeneration LLC, owes the city more than $750,000 in taxes for 2013 and 2014. That total includes nearly $120,000 in interest and penalties.

The developer acknowledged the tax bill and said it would get paid.

(Flickr, Paul Sableman)

It’s getting increasingly difficult for renters to save money for their first home.

That’s according to a National Association of Realtors report released last month that found rental costs have outpaced wages in many cities. The study looked at 70 metropolitan areas from 2009 to 2014.

The proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in north St. Louis.
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency | provided

The city of St. Louis expects to start making offers in early May on the properties within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

That includes land owned by developer Paul McKee, who owns more than half of the parcels in the 100-acre area.

Until now, it had been unclear whether the city or McKee would sell the land to the federal government should the intelligence agency choose the north city site. McKee owns more than 350 parcels within the site just north of Pruitt-Igoe.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Things are on the upswing for the St. Louis regional economy.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Burgundy Book, the quarterly summary of economic conditions, shows positive trends in the last quarter of 2014. That includes a declining unemployment rate, stronger home sales, and a spike in manufacturing exports.

Kevin Kliesen, a business economist and research officer at the Fed, said St. Louis’ economy is beginning to improve at a faster pace.

(Flickr, David Goehring)

A solar power project slated for East St. Louis is waiting on the Illinois General Assembly to pass specific legislation so it can get funding to move forward.

A rendering of the planned jobs center was unveiled by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis on Monday.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

What became a symbol of the unrest in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 will become a "phoenix rising."

That's the hope of officials with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis who are planning a $500,000 jobs center on the site of the burned-out QuikTrip at 9240 W. Florissant Ave. 

The QuikTrip on West Florissant Ave. was looted and burned on Aug. 10, the day after Michael Brown's death.
Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis will build a new center on the site of a burned-out QuikTrip in Ferguson.

The groundbreaking for the Loop Trolley took place Thursday.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

With bands, balloons, and the clang of a bell, the Loop Trolley project officially broke ground on Thursday.

An artist's rendering of The Standard, a 465-bedroom private student housing development going up on Forest Park Avenue.
(courtesy of Sangita Capital Partners)

Just kitty-corner from the new IKEA building in Midtown St. Louis, a new private student housing development is taking shape.

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