Economy & Innovation

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

The St. Louis Aquarium's main attraction will be  a 385,000-gallon shark tank.
Lawrence Group

Developers are planning to build a $45 million aquarium is Union Station near downtown St. Louis and they say it will feature one of the largest collections of sharks in the Midwest.

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways | http://bit.ly/29OOZKM

The year is 2091 and you have a business trip to make to Kansas City. You wake up in the morning, ask the speaker in your wall for a car to be brought to your door to take you there. A car arrives, no driver, naturally, and you set up camp in the back seat with your laptop to prepare for a big meeting. The car, dodging traffic reported along Forest Park Parkway, hops onto I-70 and into a line of other driver-less cars along a solar-paneled highway.

Echo Bluff State Park
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Echo Bluff State Park is officially open.

Gov. Jay Nixon cut the ribbon Saturday on Missouri's newest park, which is being promoted as a hub from which visitors can explore the state's Ozark region.

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Updated 11:40 a.m., July 29 with SABMiller board recommendation and China approval - The board of brewer SABMiller says it intends to "recommend" that shareholders accept  Anheuser-Busch InBev's revised takeover offer, clearing the way for a shareholder vote on the mega-deal. The decision comes only hours after AB InBev's cleared the last regulatory hurdle for the 79 billion pound deal.

Paul Sabelman | Flickr

Property owners filled the courtroom in the old St. Louis Civil Courts Building on Thursday.

It had taken a long time to get to this day.

Several of the residents who lived or owned property within the site of what will be the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility fought to get more money. Others were simply tied up with title issues or liens.

"I’ve been waiting for this day and dreading it," Adrienne Harris said.

Harris runs an adult daycare business out of 2525 Benton St., in the home her mother bought more than 40 years ago.

Pokémon Go has had St. Louisans out and about exploring St. Louis. Where have you been that you did not expect to go?
Sadie Hernandez | Flickr | http://bit.ly/2a4fmhe

Pokémon Go has become an unequivocal sensation in the past couple of weeks across the world and right here in St. Louis. On the negative side, it has been associated with some crime.

A group of STL Lunch regulars eat their turkey, bacon and cheese sandwiches at Hickey Park.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

It's one of the hottest days of summer and Rodney McGruder Brown is loading 32 paper lunch bags into a friend's car in the Tower Grove area. Each bag contains one of the many turkey, bacon, lettuce and blue cheese sandwiches he spent the morning assembling. Water, juice boxes and zip-close bags full of fresh strawberries and grapes go in alongside the sandwiches.

On the other side of town, 17-year-old Mya Petty and a crew of children have set up a folding table at Hickey Park in the Baden neighborhood. They drape a checkered cloth over it and tape up a colorful sign advertising free food for kids who otherwise might not have much to eat during the summer.

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

The head of St. Louis-based Centene is shooting down speculation it will bid on any units being unloaded by larger companies that are considering a merger. There have been reports the St. Louis-based health insurer is interested in trying to acquire units that would have to be divested by the potential combinations of  Aetna  and Humana or Anthem and Cigna.

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.

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.

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