Economy & Innovation

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

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Several of Paul McKee’s properties within the proposed footprint of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency were sold at auction on Tuesday.

The company that put the 46 parcels on the auction block - Titan Fish Two - had the winning bid of $3.2 million. It’s the same company that filed suit against McKee’s Northside Regeneration in April, claiming it’s owed more than $17 million over defaulted loans.

(image from GEO St. Louis)

The city of St. Louis is considering taking out a loan of up to $20 million to help buy land for the proposed north city site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

bill, sponsored by 5th Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, outlines how the city would use three buildings as collateral for the loan. The bill was introduced to the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

(via Flickr/iChaz)

Regions Bank is now offering free financial counseling in north St. Louis County through a partnership with a national non-profit called Operation Hope.

Operation Hope counselor Bonita Williams says it will help anyone who asks improve their credit score, become more financially stable and work towards goals like buying a home or starting a business—no strings attached.

Supporters of a city minimum wage hike sit through a hearing of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ efforts to raise the minimum wage of $7.65 have sparked a host of questions. One of the biggest is whether St. Louis County would follow suit. It's a pressing concern because some businesses have said they would move to the county if the city approves Alderman Shane Cohn's bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has now provided a definitive answer to that question: No.

St. Louis Regional Chamber president Joe Reagan discusses the new 'Take Pride in St. Louis' campaign.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

A new media campaign launched by the nonprofit St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation on Thursday is encouraging St. Louisans to tell their "positive and authentic" stories about the region on social media.

The "Take Pride in St. Louis" campaign features a website where people can share their stories, as well as broadcast and print ads of St. Louis celebrities like Bob Costas, Joe Buck and Jackie Joyner-Kersee extolling the region's virtues.

Eleven businesses have been named recipients in the latest round of the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition.

The $50,000 grants are equity-free. The entrepreneurs will also receive support services from Arch Grants and its donors.

Executive Director Ginger Imster said this round includes a mix of tech, consumer products and even manufacturing.

"That is so essential to our regional economy," she said. "We want to always be seeding a diversified regional economy."

Of the 11 startups, Imster said 80 percent are minority or women-led: 

Paul McKee, NGA
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis wants the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to relocate to the north side of the city. In order to make it a viable option, the city is hustling to buy all 100 acres in the proposed footprint just north of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing project site.

Yet more than half of the property is owned by developer Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration, which received significant state tax subsidization to acquire the land.

Fast food workers prepare to march around a McDonalds restaurant, taking part in a massive one day fast food industry strike demanding higher wages in St. Louis on December 5, 2013.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Allan Katz has a pretty good idea of what St. Louisans should expect when the debate over raising the minimum wage begins in earnest.

National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, NGA
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis officials are working hard to convince the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to stay in the city. But property owners in the blocks being offered as a site for the NGA have mixed feelings.

Artist rendering of the proposed Loop Trolley stop in front of the Delmar MetroLink Station.
courtesy Loop Trollety Transportation Development District / Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

Traffic on three blocks of Delmar Blvd. is being diverted to the road’s westbound lanes beginning Monday in order to start laying tracks for the Loop Trolley.

While construction is underway between Kingsland Ave. and Melville Ave. there will be no street parking on that stretch of Delmar.

Low-income customers' dollars will get twice the value on money spent on fruits and vegetables at several local farmers markets.
Courtesy SNAP 2 It! Program, via St. Louis Farmers Market Association

A new program at several local farmers markets will give low-income customers double the value for money spent on fruits and vegetables.

Mary Jo Gorman, lead managing partner of Prosper Capital (left) and Cindy Teasdale McGowan (right), founder of Makaboo Personalized Gifts and a lead mentor with Prosper.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has hosted a healthy, burgeoning startup community for some years and the strong showing of small tech businesses has drawn particular attention, leading some to call St. Louis the “next Silicon Valley.” With a healthy network in place to support new companies, community leaders and entrepreneurs are now working to increase diversity within St. Louis’ startup culture.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Peabody Energy is cutting about 250 corporate and regional positions.

The St. Louis-based company’s President and CEO Glenn Kellow made the announcement on Monday. The company expects to save $40- 45 million annually after the cuts go into effect.

"While we regret the impact that these actions have on employees, their families and communities, today’s announcement represents another necessary step to drive the company lower on the cost curve," said Kellow in a statement.

Harley Spiller's coin collection
Alex Heuer

Do you know whose portrait appears on the $10,000 bill? Or, how about the $100,000 bill?

Although they’re no longer produced by the Federal Reserve, President Woodrow Wilson’s face is on the $100,000 bill and it was only circulated internally within the federal government.

St. Louis-based World Wide Technology has acquired local software company Asynchrony.

WWT is a systems integrator that has 3,500 employees and had nearly $7 billion in revenue last year. Asynchrony, which is based in downtown St. Louis, has about 250 employees and will do about $40 million in revenue this year.

WWT Chief Financial Officer Tom Strunk says over the last five years his company has been investing to help simplify customers’ technology infrastructure.

Chris Krehmeyer
Provided by Beyond Housing

If you ask many St. Louisans what they like about the region, many will cite that its cost of living is a big plus. Housing in St. Louis is generally believed to be affordable — but not for all.

Build STL Hackathon organizer Jonathon Leek loads up a project presentation on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at the 555 Building downtown.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Put coders and data experts together in a room, add in a desire to make St. Louis a better place, and hold for 48 hours. What do you get? Five altruistic apps and websites that are closer to becoming a reality.

OpenDataSTL, a tech-savvy group with a mission to make data more accessible, put on their second annual “Make St. Louis Better” hackathon this weekend at the 555 Building in downtown St. Louis.

Hazelwood Logistics Center, Paul McKee
(MARIA ALTMAN, ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO/MAPBOX, OPENSTREETMAP)

Paul McKee’s Hazelwood Logistics Center now belongs to a Kansas City company.

NP Hazelwood 140 held an auction Friday of all of Hazelwood Logistics Center’s assets and land, then entered the only bid of $9.2 million.

St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt says the Contractor Loan Fund is a potential game-changer for diversity in St. Louis construction at a news conference announcing the fund Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at Cortex.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Minority and women contractors who can’t get traditional loans to expand their business in St. Louis have a new resource at their disposal: the Contractors Loan Fund.

Certified minority and women-owned business enterprises will be able to apply for a loan of up to $1 million from the fund, which has a pool of $10 million.

A major closure off the Poplar Street Bridge will affect downtown traffic.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation

Some drivers headed into downtown St. Louis are in for a complicated route beginning this weekend.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is closing the westbound Poplar Street Bridge ramp leading to Interstate 55/44 south for a month, starting Thursday night.

Paul McKee pays property taxes, Paul McKee, property taxes
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee has paid his tax bill to the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio reported in April that McKee's company, Northside Regeneration, had failed to pay more than $750,000 in real estate property taxes for 2013 and 2014. The company owns more than 2,000 parcels on the city's north side.

Missouri Technology Corporation, startups
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon is thanking state lawmakers... at least for the funds they appropriated for the Missouri Technology Corporation.

The Democrat was in St. Louis Wednesday touting the nearly $16 million the Republican-controlled legislature included for MTC in the budget passed last week. MTC provides early-stage capital to both entrepreneurs and startups.

"When MTC gives an investment everyone knows that it’s smart and effective, and the legislature going along with us to make more resources available is important," Nixon said.

Proposed Carson, California stadium
L.A. Times| Manica Architecture

The Rams' future in St. Louis continues to be uncertain.

National Football League owners are meeting this week in San Francisco and are expected to receive updates on stadium plans in St. Louis and two Los Angeles suburbs: Carson and Inglewood.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber meets with reporters in St. Louis. Garber toured a potential stadium site near the city's north riverfront.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The commissioner of Major League Soccer was in St. Louis on Tuesday to visit the site of a potential stadium on the city’s riverfront.

But while expressing optimism that St. Louis could support a professional soccer team, the chief of the country’s most popular league emphasized it’s way too early to talk about when an expansion would happen.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Two auctions were held Monday in connection with developer Paul McKee’s McEagle Properties, LLC.

In the first auction, held by Triad Bank, McKee appeared to pay off McEagle’s remaining debt to the bank. A company connected to McKee paid Triad $748,000 for McEagle’s assets.

"We are pleased to announce that M Property Services, LLC was the successful bidder for substantially all the assets of McEagle Properties, LLC," said McKee spokesman Jim Gradl in an emailed statement. "M Property Services, LLC is a new entity affiliated with the McKee family."

Atul Kamra, SixThirty
SixThirty

The new managing partner of St. Louis-based financial technology business accelerator SixThirty is bringing plenty of experience to the job.

Hazelwood Logistics Center, Paul McKee
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio/MapBox, OpenStreetMap)

A Kansas City company wants to take over and begin construction this summer on developer Paul McKee’s long-dormant Hazelwood Logistics Center.

But Paul McKee is fighting back in court.

The Hazelwood Logistics Center is in a prime location near Interstate 70 at Lindbergh Boulevard and Missouri Bottom Road. The 151-acre site was to become an industrial and logistics park, but it’s been plagued by lawsuits.

UMWA protest
(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Patriot Coal filed for Chapter 11 protection Tuesday, less than two years after emerging from bankruptcy.

Patriot, which was spun off from Peabody Energy in 2007, was headquartered in St. Louis until earlier this year. The company is now based in Scott Depot, West Virginia, and filed bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia.

President and CEO Bob Bennett said “challenging market conditions” in coal led the company’s board and management team to make the decision. The company is in negotiations to sell its operating assets to a strategic partner.

United Steelworkers Sub District 2 Director Dave Dowling
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the United Steelworkers are pressing U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of southern Illinois to vote against legislation that would fast-track a multi-national trade agreement.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio/MapBox, OpenStreetMap)

Local developer Paul McKee’s legal troubles have moved to the auction block.

Notices of two separate auctions tied to McKee companies have been filed since the beginning of the month.

The first is connected with the Hazelwood Logistics Center in St. Louis County. The 151-acre site at Lindbergh Boulevard and Missouri Bottom Road was supposed to become an industrial and logistics center but remains mostly undeveloped.

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