Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The National Urban League Conference will be in St. Louis this summer.

The event will be held July 26-29 at the America’s Center.  

President and CEO Marc Morial said on Friday that St. Louis proved itself back in 2007 when it first hosted the national conference. But he said this year’s conference, with the theme “Save Our Cities,” is coming back in part because of the challenges African-Americans face in St. Louis.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

While St. Louis voters decide among mayoral and aldermanic candidates in the city’s primary election next Tuesday, they’ll also answer a question about short-term lenders.

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Contractors move the house north on Jefferson Avenue on Sunday morning. (Feb. 26, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Charlesetta Taylor was a 10-year-old when she and her family moved into the home at 2530 North Market St.

That was back in 1945.

But now, it's her house that's moved, not the octogenarian. 

"It's crazy to see any house move," Taylor said Sunday as she stood outside watching her three-story brick home roll up Jefferson Avenue to its final destination at 2200 St. Louis Ave. 

Hazy photo of the Mississippi River with a tugboat and the Gateway Arch in the distance.
Paul Sableman |Wikimedia Commons

A new agreement between the Port of New Orleans and the St. Louis Regional Freightway aims to boost cargo shipments on the Mississippi River.

Officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New Orleans on Thursday to coordinate their efforts in working with regional shippers and carriers. The goal is growing trade and building upon existing and new business relationships between the two regions and critical ports.

Vacant buildings owned by the Land Reutilization Authority in the 4000 block of Evans Avenue. February 2017.
File Photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Land Reutilization Authority has nearly 12,000 parcels of vacant land and buildings and just eight and half employees.

That’s far below the ratio of employees to property in other cities, according to a year-long assessment of the LRA released on Thursday. Urban planning firm Asakura Robinson, which conducted the yearlong study, recommends the agency hire four more employees in the next one to three years.

The International Institute in St. Louis helps immigrants to get settled, find housing and find jobs. Feb 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

The International Institute of St. Louis is highlighting a new report that delves into the numbers behind immigrants in the United States.

The national organization New American Economy released the report “Map the Impact” on Tuesday. The report breaks down not just the number of immigrants in each congressional district, metropolitan area and state, but also looks at what they provide in taxes, spending power, education and entrepreneurship.

Chris Koster thanks supporters at his November 2016 election night watch party at the Chase Park Plaza after conceding to Eric Greitens. Koster would have almost certainly vetoed "right to work."
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Former Attorney General Chris Koster is headed back to the private sector.

The Democrat, who lost to Republican Eric Greitens in last year's gubernatorial race, is joining Centene as a senior vice president for corporate services. Centene is a Clayton-based health care company that’s become increasingly involved in managing Medicaid services in Missouri and throughout the country.

Fifty affordable townhomes and garden apartments will replace several empty buildings in the southern part of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.
Courtesy of Rise Community Development

Washington University’s medical campus in St. Louis will be getting a lot of new neighbors in the next couple of years, thanks to a new mixed-income development plan nearby.

The $27-million project will include 150 units of housing to buy and rent for both low- and middle-income residents in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. It aims to continue in the southern part of the area the revitalization seen in The Grove’s shopping and entertainment district to the north.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Mexico purchased $2.56 billion in Missouri goods in 2016.

That’s second only to Canada, Missouri’s top export partner, which spent $5.2 billion last year.

“Exports are important for a variety of reasons, and in terms of our manufacturers it’s critical,” said Ann Pardalos, the head of the state's International Trade and Investment Office.

A part of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Pardalos’ agency works to help small manufacturers and service providers look at global markets. One way they connect businesses to international markets is through trade fairs, including the Expo Manufactura held in Monterrey, Mexico, last week.

Lance Weiss, a CPA with the St. Louis tax and accounting firm SFW Partners, LLC.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Except for the select few of you who have already filed your tax return, you may have started scratching your head and scrambling ahead of that April 18 deadline. Tax season is upon us!

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Maria Altman was joined by CPA Lance Weiss who is with the St. Louis tax and accounting firm SFW Partners, LLC, about tax tips you should take into account this season.

The project calls for a tower to go up beside Centene's headquarters in Clayton and in front of The Crescent condominiums.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 15 with city's rejection of petition - A group of Clayton citizens is dealing with a setback in its effort to bring a massive expansion project directly to voters. The city has rejected a petition essentially calling for the more than $770-million Centene headquarters expansion to be put on the ballot.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District could spend up to $13.5 million demolishing abandoned buildings in the city.

MSD’s board approved an agreement on Thursday with the city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority. The move was long in the making. MSD has already demolished about 220 vacant building through a pilot program started back in 2010, and in 2015 the district announced it would do more.

Missouri needs more internet service producers to connect underground fiber networks to customers to increase high-speed internet access, a new FCC report says.
Dan Chace | Flickr

Rumors of an executive order about cybersecurity from President Donald Trump have been swirling for the last week, and improving our national cybersecurity has been a political issue for the last couple of years.

On a personal level, hacking, data collection and recording by personal devices all pose threats to personal information security.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Tuesday that her office will audit two Community Improvement Districts in the St. Louis region.

Those include the BaratHaven Community Improvement District in St. Charles County and the North Oaks Plaza Shopping Center in north St. Louis County.

Natalie Clay, a program coordinator at Bio STL, is managing a new collaborative focused on making the local startup community more inclusive to women and people of color.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Even though St. Louis’ tech startup scene is growing, it is not always the most inclusive environment for women and people of color. A group of 12 local nonprofits and government organizations want to change that. 

It's called the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective. Members range from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership to Arch Grants. Their goal is to help ensure women and men of color have equal access to everything an entrepreneur needs, from capital to business support services.  

(courtesy M Properties)

Northside Regeneration’s plans for the old Pruitt-Igoe site became public this week, including a $72 million complex of medical buildings, commercial and office space and two hotels.

Developer Paul McKee’s company bought the 34-acre site from the city for $1 million last summer. Northside Regeneration had held the option for several years, and McKee previously received state approval to build a three-bed urgent care facility within the former federal housing site.

Joe Edwards poses with a green and white trolley car purchased in Seattle for the Loop Trolley.
Synergy Group

The Loop Trolley project is still on track to begin giving rides this spring despite delays in getting some of the street cars to St. Louis.

Construction on the 2.2 mile route between Forest Park and the Delmar Loop wrapped up last fall, but two of the trolleys remain at a facility in Ida Grove, Iowa, for testing.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

South Grand Boulevard is known for its many international restaurants.

“We have 14 countries represented here within our six blocks,” said Rachel Witt. "That’s more than Epcot in Disney World.”

Witt is executive director of the South Grand Community Improvement District, one of the early CIDs in St. Louis. 

Marc Bowers, executive director of St. Louis Makes, and Tom Pickel, executive director of DeSales Community Development
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A building that used to house machines making barber chairs and, later, hats, will someday soon house a variety of small to mid-sized manufacturers looking to “scale up.” The building, located at 2528 Texas Ave. in the Fox Park neighborhood, will contain about 87,000-square-feet of manufacturing space and will be known as Brick City Makes.

Atomation CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman speaks a press conference on Friday morning.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Atomation is a startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, but the company will soon have an office in St. Louis.

The two-year-old tech startup has developed an IoT (internet of things) platform that connects physical objects to the internet. CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman said the company is already working with four customers in the St. Louis region, including Ameren.

Eric Friendman, the president of Friedman Group Realtors, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss an upcoming conference on "smart growth."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the idea of “smart growth” in the St. Louis region with organizers of an upcoming conference called the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

The conference was started in 1995 by the Environmental Protection Agency but has grown to include many other partners. This year, it will take place in St. Louis from Feb. 2-4. 

The Jamestown Mall Dillards in December 2016.
Mike Kalasnik | Flickr

St. Louis County’s effort to redevelop the shuttered Jamestown Mall has hit a snag.

The north St. Louis County mall has been closed for several years. The first step toward redeveloping the structure is classifying the mall as blighted, which allows the county to use eminent domain.  (You can read more about the redevelopment effort here.)

Mark Sundeen, author of "The Unsettlers," followed families who opted to live outside of the traditional American economy.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The trend of rural to urban migration across the world has been well-documented and is going strong. But what about people who migrate the opposite way? Or who choose to live a life outside of the traditional American economy? These people choose a different life with different challenges, but they also make up a community all their own.

St. Louis Outlet Mall
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Erica Holliam used to love shopping at the St. Louis Outlet Mall, or what used to be called the Mills Mall.

That was before all of her favorite stores closed.

“This was my row,” she said pointing to a line of empty stores, tastefully hidden behind colorful curtains. “I used to shop at the Banana Republic and then on the other side there was another store. But obviously I can’t do that anymore.”

St. Louis Public Radio

A federal bankruptcy judge in St. Louis denied a motion Thursday to give shareholders in Peabody Energy an equity committee that would represent their interests during the coal giant’s bankruptcy.

Judge Barry Schermer delivered his ruling after the hearing, and said the cost of creating an equity committee was not justified if there was no equity to offer shareholders.

Peabody’s reorganization plan, released in December, calls for zeroing out shareholders’ equity.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 17 with comments from Bayer, Monsanto and Trump administration - More details are emerging about Bayer's possible acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto. The companies and the incoming Trump administration on Tuesday provided some specifics about job numbers and investment levels.

In a joint statement, Bayer and Monsanto said there are plans to invest $16 billion in agricultural research and development over six years, with at least $8 billion of that in the United States.

Protesters gathered outside a downtown St. Louis Hardees on Thursday in opposition to Donald Trump's selection for Labor Secretary
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, is getting criticism on his home turf.

The St. Louis native is CEO of the company that owns Hardees and Carl’s Junior, CKE Restaurants.

About 50 protesters gathered outside Hardees headquarters in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, questioning whether the fast food CEO would really represent workers’ interests. They then walked a couple of blocks to stand in front of a Hardees restaurant.

The Fashion Incubator takes up 7,500 square-feet of a Washington Avenue building on what used to be known as Shoe Street USA.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A member of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator's first class is counting on several factors to help his business grow, compared to its previous base in New York City: lower operating costs, cheaper cost of living and industry guidance.

Scottrade secured the naming-rights for the home of the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues in 2006.
.bobby | Flickr

On Friday’s "Behind the Headlines" on St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the top stories of the week with those who brought a little more in-depth knowledge to them.

On this week’s program, we discussed:

The Monsanto-Bayer acquisition with Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Applicant Yashica McKinney talks with Lynette Watson with the St. Louis Small Business Development Center on Jan. 4, 2017, at the restaurant contest event. The "Parks" sign is from a former business in the building, according to a competition co-sponsor.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A contest offering a free restaurant space catty-cornered from Crown Candy Kitchen on St. Louis Avenue is hitting its stride.

More than 100 people have contacted organizers about the Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition. Today, in the first of two informational meetings, a half-dozen toured the 4,000-square-foot space at 2720 N. 14th Street.

Lynette Watson of the St. Louis Small Business Development Center hopes a new eating establishment will lead to other opportunities in the area.

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