Economy & Innovation

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

Courtesy of Metro

Metro is building the North County Transit Center to make the public transit experience more comfortable for big chunk of its ridership. But Metro COO Ray Friem jokingly said his agency has an ulterior motive for the project.

“I’ll be honest with you. The real reason to do this is to say that a bus system took over a car dealership,” Friem said on Tuesday. “Who would have thought that was ever going to happen?”

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ann Walker works for McCormack Baron Salazar. Not only does she work for one of the companies that helped develop the North Sarah Community, she’s also a resident.

“The kids in the neighborhood know me. I have a little dog that I walk,” Walker said. “They always want to see if the dog can come out and play.”

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz

(Updated at 10:45 am Friday to reflect that Gateway Bank did open additional locations.)

Think about everything you spend money on in a month. There’s housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, a night out with friends here and there.

Now imagine paying for all of those things without using a debit card or check.  

That would put you among the ranks of the unbanked. In 2012, the term applied to 10 percent of the population in the St. Louis metro area. Local groups want to get 20,000 of them a bank account by the middle of 2015.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Health Department Director Pam Walker issued new guidelines Tuesday regulating the treatment of horses used to pull carriages for Brookdale Farms and St. Louis Carriage Co., the two businesses that offer rides in the city.

The guidelines forbid horses from working when the heat index reaches 100 degrees, and limits horses from working more than eight hours a day, and five days per week. They also set standards for stable ventilation, and cleanliness.

Developer Paul McKee outlined his plans for an urgent care hospital at 25th St. and Maiden Ln. in July of 2014.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee unveiled plans Wednesday for an urgent care facility on the north side of St. Louis, but questions at the press event turned to the lack of infrastructure projects in McKee's massive, 1,500 acre redevelopment area.

Natl GEOINT Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has released the location of six sites under consideration for its new facility in the St. Louis region. 

The agency employs about 3,000 people at its current location at 3200 South 2nd St. and Arsenal Street in St. Louis.

(provided by Northside Regeneration)

A new urgent care hospital is planned within the Northside Regeneration project in north St. Louis.

Developer Paul McKee will announce plans Wednesday for the first big project within the 1,500-acre footprint of the redevelopment zone. Mayor Francis Slay, state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and state Rep. Penny Hubbard are expected to attend.

Although nothing official has been released, people close to the project say the facility will likely be about 16,000 square feet.

Flickr user omervk

A recent Brookings Institution report looks at millions of job openings across the country to see how hard it is to fill science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) positions in a hundred metro areas. The answer: hard.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

With items on the menu like the Storm Trooper Dog, the Al Hra-BRAT-ski and the Crazy Cajun Creole dog, it's clear that Steve’s Hot Dogs on the Hill considers its fare more than hot dogs.

"I could eat the entire menu," regular Don Schroeder laughed.

He hesitated before ordering but finally chose the Bacon, Bacon Jamaican, a smoked hot dog covered with cheese, peppers and sweet chipotle sauce. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois’ higher education, business and political leaders are pledging cooperation for an effort to bring manufacturing jobs to the region. 

U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, convened a day-long manufacturing summit at Mid-America Airport in Mascoutah. It was aimed at presenting a united front for southern Illinois to compete for manufacturing jobs.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tuesday, updated on Wednesday, July 2 with "St. Louis on the Air" interview

Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is sounding the alarm bells about the federal government’s dwindling Highway Trust Fund.

LaHood — a former Republican member of Congress from Illinois — wants Congress to raise the federal gas tax to prevent the fund from going belly up.

Missouri transportation planners are beseeching policymakers to come up with a different way to fund roads.
File photo

If you are traveling the highways over the July 4th holiday weekend, prepare to pay more at the pump. Prices will be higher than last year, mainly due to uncertainty in the Middle East.

"I think the overall problem with Iraq is that it's causing crude oil prices to go up and that's driving up wholesale gasoline prices," said Mike Right, senior vice president of public affairs for AAA Missouri.

"St. Louis is a peculiar market in that they pass along price increases instantly from the wholesale level down to the consumer."

One of the credit card meters tested in the Central West End during the trial phase of choosing new meter venders for St. Louis.
Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Treasurer’s Office announced last week it has selected the Boston-based consulting group Desman Associates to examine all aspects of the city’s parking division. According to Treasurer Tishaura Jones, the study is meant to be the basis for overhauling the system, which the office has overseen since 1951, but in recent years been bogged down by inefficiency, misconduct and outdated technology.

Maria Altman|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment and several solar panel companies have filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Public Service Commission in an effort to keep the state’s solar rebate program alive.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

In many ways, breaking ground on St. Louis's first Ikea store is a lot easier than putting together the Swedish furniture maker's latest bookshelf. For Mayor Francis Slay, he just needed a shovel and speech. 

“Fortunately for a groundbreaking, you don’t need an Allen wrench or instructions,” Slay quipped. 

(provided by the St. Louis Federal Reserve)

The St. Louis area's job growth has lagged far behind other Midwestern cities and the national average since 2010, but things could be turning around.

The metropolitan area saw 1.8 percent growth in the number of jobs from 2010 to 2013. By contrast, Kansas City had double the growth with 3.5 percent; Chicago saw 4.5 percent, and the national average was even higher at 4.7 percent.

Federal Reserve economist Charles Gascon said St. Louis’ number — about 22,000 jobs over the three years — is a reflection of a near freeze in job growth here in 2011 and 2012.

Courtesy of Cortex

BioSTL is launching a variety of programs to bring more women and minorities into the field of biosciences. 

The group received a $100,000 donation earlier this year from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Some of that money is being used to expand the St. Louis Bioscience Inclusion Initiative, which started in the late 2000s.

buzzybee | sxc.hu

It probably says something about our times that the book that’s sold out on Amazon is not the latest Twilight thriller but a dense, 700-pager by a French economics professor: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. He’s also making the rounds of TV talk shows like an A-list actor promoting a new movie.

A new initiative hopes to encourage more St. Louis youth to experience and serve at public outdoor spaces, like the Gateway Arch.
(St. Louis Public Radio staff)

A state-run board has signed off on using tax credits to help cover the cost of renovating a museum on the grounds of the Gateway Arch.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted via conference call Tuesday for up to $15 million in incentives, which would be used to cover half the cost of private donations that total around $30 million. Those donations and the incentives would go toward renovating the Museum of Westward Expansion beneath the Gateway Arch. 

Commentary: The Power Of WE

Jun 17, 2014
Sam Fiorello
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Years ago when I lived and worked in Washington, D.C., the city was crippled by an intense January snowstorm. My office was a short walk from my apartment so I was able to salvage at least an abridged day of work. While walking home, with snow still falling heavily, I came upon a homeless man named Charlie whom I had seen almost daily in the same spot. When I stopped to ask Charlie if he was OK, he stood transfixed, looking at a few flakes of newly fallen snow on his gloved hand. Charlie smiled at me and said, "Isn't it amazing? Individually these flakes are so fragile.

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