Economy & Innovation

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

Road map of Forest Park and the Central West End in St. Louis, MO.
Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

Forest Park Parkway near Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the Central West End is closing until at least next summer starting Monday.

The road, which runs below Kingshighway, will be filled in to connect at-grade with the intersection. The $10 million project is designed to improve access and safety for patients, visitors and neighbors, according to June Fowler, BJC’s  senior vice president of communications.

“We thought it was important to have a traditional intersection so folks who are traveling to the campus would have a more intuitive way to access services,” she said.

provided | Cardinals

A St. Louis aldermanic committee approved a $56 million tax incentive package for Phase II of the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village on Wednesday in a meeting that also delved into larger economic development issues in the city.

Al Li, president of the St. Louis Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and John Clark, President and CEO of Masterclock, Inc.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been more than 40 years since the United States pulled out of Vietnam, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. In those 40 years, communist-controlled Vietnam has also solidified its place as a burgeoning business power. The country currently has the 55th largest GDP in the world. Within 10 years, Vietnam will be the 17th largest economy in the world.

U.S. Steel in Granite City
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Many Metro East steelworkers who have been laid off by U.S. Steel could be on the verge of some financial help. A proposal to extend unemployment insurance benefits is expected to be discussed this week on the floor of the Illinois House.

Flickr Creative Commons | Mike G

The day after Black Friday is getting a bit more buzz.

The National Federation of Independent Business reports Americans spent about $16 billion at local merchants on Small Business Saturday last year.

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

All major construction on the Delmar Loop Trolley has been completed.

Trolley construction began March 2015. The final path of the trolley circles more than two miles from the western end of The Loop and through Forest Park near the Missouri History Museum.

Ann Plunkett and Russ Riggan shared their experience in employment law by dissecting new FLSA overtime rules that go into effect Dec. 1.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Nov. 22, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III blocked Obama Administration changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule that was set to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. The rule would have extended overtime eligibility for some 4.2 million Americans and 300,000 workers in Missouri and Illinois.

Read below for background on how the rule could change. More from NPR here

Calvin Payne, 44, stands in his newly leased space for CQ Custom Designs in the Grove neighborhood.  11/18/16
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Weaving between an ensemble of printers and T-shirt presses kept in the back of a tattoo parlor, Calvin Payne fills custom orders from all over the country.

“These shirts are going to Tupelo, Mississippi. And those other shirts are going to Millington, Tennessee,” Payne said, pointing to packages sitting on the counter. “I do a lot of breast cancer awareness shirts… and these are my favorite, because I know that they go for a good cause.”

Payne started his printing business while working as a server at Sweetie Pie’s restaurant in the Grove neighborhood, buying equipment with his savings and learning how to use it with tutorials on YouTube. This month, the 44-year-old entrepreneur is moving CQ Custom Designs into his own storefront for the first time.

August 22, 2007 Pfizer groundbreaking in Chesterfield.
File Photo | Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis County is getting another big business development.

Pfizer is partnering with Clayco and CRG for a new $200 million facility in Chesterfield. Clayco and its real estate subsidiary CRG will construct and own the building, while Pfizer will have a long-term lease.

The biopharmaceutical company has 450 employees at two facilities in the St. Louis region, and plans to create 80 new positions for the new facility.

Timebanking is a concept that allows people to exchange hours of services for others' hours of services. https://www.flickr.com/photos/126915310@N08/16704483331/in/photolist-rs7QVi-8ys6Hs-93GPYw-nkc4GF-pEoeBm-8UUxKR-nN3cfZ-7ndGEZ-5r97iL-arAPMg-7UTmVK-8pPv
uditha wickramanayaka | Flickr

What if there was a way to exchange goods and services without needing your wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards?

Well, there actually is: a new-old method of currency called “timebanking.” Timebanking provides participants with the opportunity to exchange time credits for work. One time credit is equal to one hour of service, for any and every service.

St. Louis is home to such a form of currency in The Cowry Collective Timebank, founded by Chinyere E. Oteh. She said that timebanking provides wider access to goods and services for community members.

Sam Johnson, left, assists a visitor at the food pantry he manages for St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Church, in north St. Louis.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

With Thanksgiving approaching, food and generosity are on people’s minds. That can be both a blessing and a challenge for St. Louis area food pantries.

Between the numerous food drives and the holiday spirit, the regions’ two main charitable food distribution centers receive a lot of donations in November and December.

Doug Byrum poses for a portrait with his wife, Ruth Ann, at their Mitchell, Illinois, home on Nov. 7, 2016. Byrum is one of 2,000 U.S. Steel employees who has been without work for nearly a year.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Discussions are underway this week at the Illinois Statehouse about whether to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off steelworkers in the Metro East. A bill to lengthen the benefit period to a full-year instead of the current 26 weeks has been passed by a legislative committee.  

Provided by the Cardinals

The next phase of Ballpark Village would change the look of downtown St. Louis.

The Cardinals, along with development partner Cordish, plan to build a 29-story apartment building at the corner of Clark Avenue and Broadway Avenue, just north of Busch Stadium.

Startup Connection | provided

The St. Louis region will celebrate its entrepreneurial community Wednesday evening with Startup Connection.

The event will bring together more than 70 startups, along with investors, sponsoring companies, entrepreneur support organizations and community members. The startups will each give a 60 second elevator pitch as they compete for $250,000 in cash and prizes.

Startup Connection’s managing director Phyllis Ellison said the event highlights what’s happening among the region’s startups.

Tom Cohen, Christine Karslake, and Phyllis Ellison joined Don Marsh in studio Monday to dicsuss events in St. Louis during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’ve heard St. Louis referred to as hub for entrepreneurship and want to find out more for yourself, this is a good week to do it.

St. Louis is hosting two major events for Global Entrepreneurship Week. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the STL Export Accelerator will take place at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Trailnet officials suggest quick action is needed on the proposed network. They say St. Louis could lose economic opportunities and potential new residents to cities that already have such a trail system.
Trailnet

An eight-mile urban trail in Indianapolis is serving as a model for a similar proposal in St. Louis. Trailnet has announced plans to put together a 12-mile network of walking and cycling trails to connect the city’s cultural and entertainment districts. Organization officials say it could be key in convincing more millennials to put down roots here.

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center | provided

Researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center are working on a device that  they hope to eventually sell to farmers.

The PheNode can monitor a variety of crop conditions, such as wind speed, humidity, soil nutrients, even air quality, and it can take pictures. Researchers and farmers could then get that information sent to their mobile devices as often as they choose.

courtesy PayIt

St. Louis residents can now pay their property tax, water and trash bills from their phone or other mobile device.

The city’s Collector of Revenue office is among the first to work with PayIt, a mobile technology startup based in Kansas City. The app went live this week.

Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly said convenience is important, especially when getting people to pay their taxes.

One of the buildings of U.S. Steel's campus in Granite City, where production has been idled since around the end of 2015.
File photo | Davd Schaper|NPR

Tough market conditions continue to idle steel making  in Granite City. The chief executive officer of U.S. Steel says the company still does not have a timeline to restart production at the Metro East plant. Around 1,600 workers have been off the job since operations were idled roughly 10 months ago.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

Many organizations are still working to make a difference in Ferguson and North St. Louis County two years after unrest erupted in the city. That includes several foundations and other nonprofits that made promises of funding and commitments to change as part of the healing process. We decided to check in with a few of those organizations to see how well they have followed through on their commitments.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to open 36 new greenhouses at its Chesterfield Research Center.

The celebration of the state-of-the-art greenhouses was held against the backdrop of last month's announcement that Bayer will buy Monsanto in a $66 billion deal.

Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant told the crowd, made up of mostly employees and a few members of the media, that Bayer's acquisition is an opportunity.

Maria Altman| St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Oct. 27, to include contract vote approval - Schnucks union employees approved a new contract Wednesday night, avoiding a potential strike.

The members of the UFCW Local 655 voted 1,020 to 507 in favor of the three year agreement.

The original contract expired in May. Union members rejected a previous version in September. The union recommended a yes vote to the membership before last night’s decision.

In a statement emailed to St. Louis Public Radio, UFCW Local 655 President David Cook said, “Schnucks management listened to our concerns and worked with us to provide a significantly revised agreement that our membership supported with tonight’s vote. Our members deserve to be recognized for their sacrifices with a fair contract. The significant concessions from Schnucks show they understood that and came back to the table with a much better contract.”

The proposed office building would be on the west end of Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals

If you have ever wanted to live in an apartment with full view of Busch Stadium, here’s your chance. The Cardinals have announced plans for a $220 million expansion of Ballpark Village that include a 29-story apartment tower. The team says the proposal also includes construction of the first upscale office building in downtown St. Louis since 1989.

Scottrade was founded in Arizona in 1980 and moved to St. Louis roughly one year later.
Scottrade Facebook Page

Updated Oct. 24 at 4:20 p.m. with reaction

Another major St. Louis-based company is being sold. Scottrade has announced a $4 billion deal to be acquired by TD Ameritrade. The financial services company has been based in St. Louis since 1981.

A team competes during GlobalHack IV in June 2015. GlobalHack VI takes will take place at Chaifetz Arena over three days. More than 1,200 people are expected to take part.
courtesy GlobalHack

GlobalHack VI is all about solving a software problem and bringing attention to St. Louis’ tech scene.

This software competition is focused on helping the St. Patrick Center, a local non-profit that serves the homeless.

The $1 million in cash prizes is helping attract software engineers, graphic designers and other technologists from a wide area. GlobalHack executive director Matt Menietti said earlier this week that 1,200 people had signed up from 33 states and five countries.

He said he hopes they’ll get to know St. Louis a bit more.

Cortex Innovation Community

The Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’ Central West End will undergo a major expansion over the next two years.

Developers announced plans Thursday for the district’s first hotel which will include a restaurant, apartments with over 200 studio, one and two bedroom units, approximately 20,000 square feet of street level retail, a new technology and lab building and an innovation hall to be used as a meeting space.

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration

The St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment will allow the release of a $2.8 million tax increment financing note for developer Paul McKee’s planned grocery store and gas station.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Two years ago BioSTL set out to put St. Louis on Israel’s radar.

The non-profit, founded in 2001, helped develop the support system for St. Louis bioscience startups. Then, a few years ago, president and CEO Donn Rubin started hearing that Israeli startups were expanding into other U.S. cities.

Don't use more than 330 px
The Foundry St. Louis

One of two groups that want to bring major league soccer to St. Louis will hold a public forum Tuesday night.

Foundry St. Louis is a group of mostly St. Louis residents attempting to secure an MLS Soccer franchise and stadium.

The group is offering people the chance to give their input on initial plans for a stadium that could possibly be built near the Saint Louis University campus in the city of St. Louis.

Foundry St. Louis President Nicholas Mahrt says St. Louis deserves an MLS team because of the area’s history with the sport.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has authorized issuing up to $120 million in revenue bonds.

The money will be used by the city to acquire and prepare the north St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility.

LCRA’s commissioners approved the move at a special session on Tuesday.

The bonds will help the city pay back $33 million in loans to purchase the land, the latest of which is a $10-million loan taken from the Missouri Development Finance Board this month.

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