Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

BriAsia Warren trains new employee Uraiesha Shelton at Beyond Sweet. Customers can order specialty shakes like The New Yorker, topped with a piece of cheesecake, and the Chocoholic. June 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At Beyond Sweet, an ice cream and snack shop in the Delmar Loop, two teens are practicing the art of of building mountain peaks of whipped cream.

For now, they’re practicing on pieces of paper, but soon they’ll move onto topping real sundaes and shakes for customers.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

A proposal to explore privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport has finally been cleared for takeoff.

The City’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment voted Wednesday to approve a contract with an advisory team charged with soliciting proposals from private firms to manage and oversee the operations of the airport.

The board is made up of Mayor Lyda Krewson, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed and Comptroller Darlene Green. Krewson and Reed voted to approve the contract, while Green voted no.

Fur traders Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau are credited with settling The Landing's original nine-block area in 1764.
LacledesLanding.com

An effort to revitalize a once-bustling section of downtown St. Louis is underway. Developers are pumping roughly $20 million into Laclede's Landing for retail, office, restaurant and residential space.

The investments follow some tough years for the area with Gateway Arch grounds construction and a down economy.

"We're done licking our wounds," said Laclede's Landing Community Improvement District President John Clark. "It was a dusty mess and there was some tragedy along the way. We lost a few businesses."

A report being considered by the St. Louis parking commission suggests increasing parking rates in the city. That would help fund upgraded meters, like this one that takes credit cards.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

More money will come from St. Louis’ parking division to help shore up the city’s reserve fund.

In a compromise forged this week, St. Louis Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, D-22nd Ward, and Treasurer Tishaura Jones agreed that $10 million will be taken from parking revenues and put into the city’s reserve fund.

“This $10 million will get us back to a 2008 level,” Boyd said. “It will put the citizens of the city of St. Louis in a better position if we ever need those particular funds.”

Missouri Bontanical Garden

Bayer’s $60 billion-plus acquisition of Monsanto has many non-profit organizations in St. Louis wondering what the future holds in terms of funding from one of the city’s oldest and most generous benefactors.

Monsanto has donated nearly $10 million each year since 2000 to a wide variety of organizations in the region. The company estimates it has invested at least half a billion dollars in the St. Louis community since it was founded in 1901.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto, a company based in St. Louis for more than 100 years, is now part of Bayer.

The roughly $63-billion acquisition closed Thursday, nearly two years after the companies first announced the deal. Regulators in Canada and Mexico were among the last international watchdogs to approve the combination.

The U.S. Department of Justice signed off on it late last month after Bayer committed to shedding about $9 billion in several areas to chemical giant BASF.

That includes Bayer's Liberty-brand herbicides, which compete with Monsanto's Roundup.

Business owners in Jeffrey Plaza on Olive Boulevard say they have not been receiving updates about a proposed development that would displace them.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents and business owners in University City are split over whether the city should spend taxpayer money on a plan that would bring a big-box retailer and other amenities to Olive Boulevard.

The divide was apparent at a Wednesday meeting, where city leaders tried to make a case for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to revitalize the area known as Olive Link.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/04/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/06/18.

Monsanto will be under new ownership by the end of the week and have a new name likely by the end of the summer. Bayer plans to finalize its roughly $63-billion acquisition of the St. Louis agricultural seeds and chemical company on Thursday. 

St. Louis Better Business Bureau President and CEO Michelle Corey announces publication of report on the latest scam data on June 6, 2018
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The Better Business Bureau says scams involving fake sweepstakes and lotteries are on the rise in St. Louis and around the country. In a report released Tuesday, “Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How ‘Winners’ Lose Millions through an Evolving Fraud,” BBB highlighted the latest methods used by scammers to defraud unsuspecting victims.

According to the report, there is a large and sophisticated scam industry based in Jamaica, with a network of associates based in the U.S. and Canada. The networks use Facebook, text messages and other social media to target their victims.

Gabrielle Cole is a co-director for the Fit and Food Connection. They will move the food pantry to Believers Temple in the Castle Point area.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The Fit and Food Connection now has a permanent location in north St. Louis County to offer food and exercise options for low-income individuals and families.

The non-profit organization is partnering with Believers Temple, a church in the Castle Point area. The partnership will use the building’s fitness center and kitchen to teach members healthy eating habits and preparation, workout routines and to offer healthy food options.

LimeBike
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Low-income St. Louisans now have a cheaper way to rent a ride from LimeBike.

At the beginning of April, LimeBike and another bikeshare company, Ofo, introduced their colorful bicycles to St. Louis. Normally, it costs $1 for 30 minutes to ride a LimeBike or $1 an hour to ride an Ofo bike.

Both companies have said they value social equality. To make their bikes more accessible for low-income riders, LimeBike and Ofo offer options — like text-to-unlock services — that don’t require smartphones or credit cards.

Enterprise is putting its name on an arena that is the site of approximately 100 events a year. The Blues also say the center attracts more than 1 million guests to downtown St. Louis annually.
Provided by St. Louis Blues

Enterprise Holdings is strengthening already deep ties to the National Hockey League, the St. Louis Blues and the region. The Clayton-based firm Monday announced a deal to change the name of the Blues' home arena to Enterprise Center. The agreement is for 15 years, with an option for another five.

Wow Air's inaugural St. Louis flight left to Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 17. Founder Skúli Mogensen stands in front of a Wow plane.
Wow Air

Carlye Lehnen has wanted to travel to Iceland since 2008, when the country underwent a banking crisis that made traveling there cheap. But when she looked for flights, they were too infrequent and expensive.

So when the 45-year-old heard that Icelandic airline Wow Air would start offering flights out of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, she leapt at the chance to fulfill a 10-year travel dream.

“As soon as it was announced, I had already booked my flight,” said Lehnen. She snagged the airline’s vaunted $99 fare.

St. Louis Public Radio's newsroom drone.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio data and visual journalist Brent Jones joined host Don Marsh to talk about how the station is using a drone to enhance news coverage.

“For journalists, we like to think of [drones] as tools because we can use them to help tell the story in the best way that we know to tell it,” Jones said.

Scientist and inventor Temple Grandin is the author of "Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor." She joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Temple Grandin is an accomplished scientist, inventor and author. She is also an expert in autism research and is one of the most well-known adults with autism.

“I want to get kids interested in making things,” Grandin told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday.

lambert300.jpg
St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The vote over a contract to start looking into whether the city will privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport has been postponed.

The contract to hire a three-organization team was first approved by a city selection committee back in January. That committee approved an amended contract on Wednesday, but the Board of Estimate and Apportionment held off giving its final approval after a lengthy meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress present a $900,000 check to provide job training opportunities for youth programs. The investment aims at improving public safety.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council will provide $900,000 dollars to several local organizations in an attempt to bolster public safety.

The announcement made Wednesday aims at increasing job training opportunities for at-risk youth in St. Louis. 

Five organizations will receive investments, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Better Family Life, Inc., STL Youth Jobs, The Little Bit Foundation and the North Side Community School. Each organization has programs aimed at young people for job training or education.

Flickr | Paul Sableman

In a Brookings Institution study of 70 older industrial cities, St. Louis ranks among the ones with stronger economies that are making progress on the road toward renewal and reinvention.

“It’s been one of the stronger economies in terms of job creation, in terms of good job creation,” explained Alan Berube, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and co-author of the study. 

High-speed internet is only available for residents living within the city limits of West Plains in south-central Missouri. September 2017
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will soon open a state office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint broadband expansion initiative last week as part of a 16-point plan to address the needs of the state’s agricultural and rural communities.

Katrina Brundage, David Karandish and Sam Charrington joined host Don Marsh on Monday.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has long been known as a hub for the use and development of biotechnology. Gaining steam, however, is the activity surrounding artificial intelligence (AI).

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the use of AI in St. Louis and with those involved in it. An AI conference is Tuesday at the Eric P. Newman Center at Washington University.

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