Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

Brenda Nelson plays a card game with friends on Mullanphy Street during the street's last annual block party on Saturday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the third Saturday of July neighbors and former residents gathered in the 2300 block of Mullanphy Street in north St. Louis.

That’s when the annual block party always takes place.

But this would be the last one.

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

The deal to create the largest beer brewer in the world has cleared a major hurdle. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the roughly $100 billion takeover of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:38 a.m., July  19 with Monsanto rejection - Monsanto has rejected the most-recent takeover offer from Bayer. The St. Louis-based company says the $125 per share bid is "financially inadequate." Germany-based Bayer upped its offer last week after an initial proposal of $122 per share.

courtesy NewLeaf Symbiotics

NewLeaf Symbiotics is growing fast.

Formed in 2012, the startup has nearly 40 employees and has hired four executives in the last year.

The latest executive to come on board is Dr. Janne Kerovuo, the head of Monsanto’s Microbial Discovery Strategy since 2013. He’ll now be NewLeaf’s Vice President for Research and Discovery.

(From the Economic Development Incentives report from the PFM Group.)

Each month the commissioners of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis hear request after request from developers and even residents for tax abatements that usually last five to 10 years. 

It's just one of the tools the city uses to spur economic development, but St. Louis officials are taking a look at how those tax incentives are distributed. 

A slide from a presentation during an April 2015  fair housing conference shows how Section 8 vouchers are concentrated in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County, and that most voucher holders are black.
courtesy Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Housing officials have spent months educating renters and landlords about a new St. Louis ordinance — one designed to protects those using government rental vouchers.

But, according to the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, some landlords are still ignoring the rule and denying homes to people who get the government's help to pay their bills.

A crew member with Matt's Health Woods & Wildlife plants hybrid poplar trees in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood of St. Louis. Fresh Coast Capital is leasing 42 parcels from the city for an urban tree farm. July 13, 2016
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

A small crew spent Wednesday morning planting poplar trees on several parcels of vacant land in St. Louis’ Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.

A company called Fresh Coast Capital is leasing 42 parcels from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority for $1 a year. The city will receive about 2 percent of the revenue when the company harvests and seels the hybrid poplar trees in 10 to 12 years.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is touting progress in the city's efforts to employ teenagers and young adults over the summer.

STL Youth Jobs launched nearly four years ago as a collaboration between the city and civic partners to offer paid positions and training opportunities for at-risk youth.

trolley missouri history museum
Rachel Heidenry | 2009

Construction of the Loop Trolley is causing roads to close at the edge of St. Louis and University City.

The intersection of DeBaliviere and Forest Park Parkway is now closed. Traffic will be rerouted around Forest Park for the next three weeks.

courtesy of Northside Regeneration

Developer Paul McKee is finally using the Tax Increment Financing approved years ago by the city of St. Louis.

The Board of Aldermen approved a bill on Friday to release $2.8 million in TIF for infrastructure around a proposed grocery store and gas station McKee announced in March. It’s the first time McKee has sought to use any of the $390 million TIF first approved in 2009 for his massive Northside Regeneration project.

Rolanda Robinson (right) and a friend grill hot dogs for protesters on August 20 in Ferguson.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Missourians will spend a bit more money to cook out this Fourth of July holiday than they did last year, but it's still less than the national average, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau.

In general, a cookout in the Show-Me State costs $50.50, which is 61 cents more than it cost a year ago. Diane Olson, director of promotion and education programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, says the national average comes in at $56.06.

Anheuser-Busch complex
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Shareholders of brewer SABMiller might want more out of the proposed takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev because of England's vote to leave the European Union. Edward Jones' equity research analyst Brittany Weissman says that is a remote possibility as the acquisition closes in on regulatory approval in the U.S. and a few other countries.

Jack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Holdings, died Saturday, July 2, 2016.
Provided by Enterprise Holdings

Updated Saturday, July 2 — Jack Crawford Taylor, who transformed a tiny car rental business into one of the world's largest rental car companies, died Saturday. The Enterprise Holdings founder was 94.

Taylor died after a short illness, according to a release from Enterprise. He is being widely hailed for his business acumen, making the company he founded in 1957 into a powerhouse that includes Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. He also is being remembered for his financial contributions in St. Louis, where Enterprise is among the largest companies.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill Wednesday tightening laws around a popular economic development tool.

The law is aimed at the St. Louis region, naming St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jefferson County. It limits the power of municipalities to approve tax increment financing if a county-wide TIF board rejects it.

Nixon signed the bill at a meeting of the regional East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which did a report on the issue.

MISO control room
Provided by MISO

A battle over power is shaping up in Illinois. It involves lawmakers, but unlike with the state budget crisis they are not playing a central role. This fight involves electricity plants, regulated and unregulated energy companies and the nonprofits that act as air traffic controllers for the electric grid.

iPhone displaying UberX partner app.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio / Uber, MTC

Thousands of UberX drivers continue giving rides in St. Louis and St. Louis County despite efforts by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission to ticket them for doing so.

The MTC announced last March it would begin citing the ride-hailing company’s drivers for failing to have a vehicle-for-hire license, which requires a fingerprint background check under state law. So far, MTC enforcement agents have issued about 18 citations, said Executive Director Ron Klein.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A 100-acre site in north St. Louis will be home to the sophisticated, high-tech National Geospatial Agency facility in few years.

At the moment, archeologists are trying to find out how people on the site once lived.

"The whole idea is to understand what people’s lives were in past and get a better feel for that," said Joe Harl, principal investigator for Archeological Research Center of St. Louis.

traffic barriers
Flickr | Alexander Svensson

Drivers should avoid Interstate-44 near the Midtown area of city of St. Louis this weekend. All lanes of the interstate between Vandeventer and Jefferson avenues will be closed while the overpass at Grand Boulevard is demolished.

Lane closures will begin 8 p.m. Friday. Transportation officials say drivers should use I-70, I-64 or I-55, instead, to travel through the city.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Land Reutilization Authority owns more than 11,000 parcels in the city of St. Louis.

It’s a land mass roughly the size of Forest Park.

St. Louis has the distinction of having the oldest land bank in the country, created by a Missouri state statute in 1971. It was a response to St. Louis’ quickly shrinking population after reaching a height of 856,000 people in 1950.

View of North Gateway construction site.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

The Gateway Arch is clearing space for more foot and bicycle traffic by making most motor vehicles park off site.

SixThirty Cyber Logo
SixThirty

A new St. Louis-based initiative might produce the next big advancement in the war against hackers and data thieves. SixThirty Cyber is an offshoot of financial technology venture fund and business accelerator SixThirty, which is housed in the T-Rex co-working space downtown.

Joe Edwards poses with a trolley car purchased in Seattle for the Loop Trolley.
Synergy Group | provided

Commuters who use Delmar Boulevard to get between University City and St. Louis will need to temporarily find an alternate route starting Monday.

The intersection of Delmar Boulevard and Kingsland Avenue on the western edge of Delmar Loop will be closed for the next three weeks while contractors put in a switch for the Loop Trolley.

Chris LeBeau, Diana Zeng and Andrew Lee are all involved with Full Circle, a non-profit created to help recent college graduates connect with St. Louis
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

There are many factors that contribute to a young professional’s decision to stay or not stay in St. Louis after graduating college. For guests on today’s St. Louis on the Air, the potential to find and build community is an overwhelmingly important concern.

SunEdison Solar Energy farm
SunEdision

Updated 12:12 p.m., June. 9 with operational loan approval - A St. Louis-based renewable-energy company has been approved for a loan that will help it operate through the bankruptcy process. A judge has cleared the way for SunEdison to access $1.3 billion. Bloomberg reports some of the money will fund a probe by creditors into the company's financial activities.

(Courtesy Ayers Saint Gross)

St. Louis has the highest concentration of plant scientists in the world. But the places where they conduct their experiments aren't necessarily the most inviting.

To attract more biotech industries and talent to the area, St. Louis County officials want to remake the areas where researchers work, especially in Creve Coeur, home to Monsanto and many promising startup companies.

That's the idea behind a proposed plant science innovation district that would connect the Danforth Science Center, BRDG Park, the Helix Center Biotech Incubator and Monsanto. The effort also aims to solidify St. Louis' reputation as a plant-science hub. But detailed plans for the area likely won't come until the end of the year.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration is wasting little time now that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has officially chosen to build in St. Louis.

The developer announced on Tuesday he’s partnering with CRG Real Estate Solutions and Washington D.C.-based Telesis Corporation to build 500 residential units over the next five years.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis city officials told about 200 community members that they wanted to hear ideas and concerns about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new facility that received the official green light just last week.

They got an earful.

Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio

Nine St. Louis area companies remain on the Fortune 500 list and they are the same employers who made the rankings last year. But there have been some changes in where the companies now stand in the publication’s annual tally based on fiscal year revenue.

Mike Hart and Joe Reagan discuss measures by the St. Louis Regional Chamber to boost inclusion in business.
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

While the recent economic cycle has impacted St. Louis positively, St. Louis Regional Chamber president and CEO Joe Reagan says that the long-term strategy around the future of the St. Louis economy lies in inclusion and talent attraction/retention.

“We have a change agenda,” Reagan told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “We have to make some changes. We have three elements. We have to provide equity and opportunity throughout this region. We can’t afford to leave anyone behind, we shouldn’t leave anybody behind.”

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Recently, the Arch riverfront grounds reopened with the completion of a $33 million riverfront redevelopment project spearheaded by CityArchRiver Foundation. It is part of a dozen projects revitalizing the grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch.

What’s next on the docket? On Monday, Ryan McClure, communication director for CityArchRiver, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what’s next in the $380 million plan.

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