Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

Aloft hotel breaks ground in Cortex

Jul 25, 2018
Aloft Hotel in Cortex; artist rendering
Cortex Innovation Community

A hotel designed for millennials and young professionals is coming to the Cortex innovation district in St. Louis.

 

Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the $25 million hotel. St. Louis-based Midas Hospitality and MC Construction are building the 129-room hotel under the “Aloft by Mariott” brand at the corner Boyle and Duncan avenues.

 

The Cortex MetroLink Station is the 38th station to come to fruition within the light-rail system, which first began service in 1993. The grand opening is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 31.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

MetroLink riders along the central corridor will soon have a new spot to hop aboard both red- and blue-line trains.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what the new Cortex MetroLink Station and other plans in the works could mean for the future of transit in the region.

Joining him to talk about it were Jessica Mefford-Miller, interim executive director of Metro Transit, and June McAllister Fowler, the newly announced board chair for Citizens for Modern Transit.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. July 19 to correct numbers in 2nd paragraph —There are few places better to see the effects of an intensifying drought than a hulking, 200-plus-acre complex just off of Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri.

This is the Joplin Regional Stockyards, one of the biggest in the country, selling more than 430,000 head of cattle in 2017 alone. Usually, they’ll have 800 to 900 cows on the block at weekly Wednesday sales. On July 11, they had double that.

Before and after its facelift: Milque Toast Bar, 2212 S. Jefferson Ave., received a Community Development Block Grant to improve its facade.
provided | Neighborhood Commercial District Improvement Program

Leonard Johnson admits many run-down storefronts in St. Louis could use a facelift. He’d like to help “polish up” each and every one. But, for now, the director of the Neighborhood Commercial District Improvement Program only has a $1-million Community Development Block Grant to improve small-business facades. So, he plans to “spread the love” to businesses in the most underserved areas of the city.

“We understand that development happens downtown and in the central corridor,” Johnson said. “And it rarely spreads into north St. Louis or north city and even deeper in south city. We want to address that and be intentional about that, because that’s where our program had some shortcomings before.”

Bird, an electric scooter share program that launched Thursday morning in St. Louis, is temporarily on hold.   According to the city of St. Louis officials, the company dropped off scooters throughout St. Louis without a permit from the city. July 2018
Provided | Bird

Updated July 19 at 11 p.m. with a comment from Bird — Some St. Louisans might have noticed motorized scooters around the city on Thursday morning. Bird, a low-cost, electric vehicle sharing company, launched the scooter share program this week.

The problem is the company didn’t notify anyone in the city.

According to city officials, Bird dropped off scooters at several locations in St. Louis without the approval or knowledge of the city.

After many delays, the city’s contract with consultants to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport may be official soon.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When the Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved a contract with advisors to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport last month, it appeared the process was ready to take off after months of delays.

The city’s working group held its first meeting.

The first meeting of all the consultants and advisors on the project was scheduled.

But, there was a problem. The contract between the city and the lead consultants had not been signed.

The technology startup incubator in downtown St. Louis is currently home to nearly 230 businesses. About 40 others got their start at T-REX and have moved to other locations throughout the region.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Arch Grants is only 6 years old, but to date it has awarded more than $6 million in cash grants that have helped launch more than 100 companies.

Arch Grants is a non-profit organization that attracts and supports startup companies to St. Louis with its Global Startup Competition. The group released its annual report Tuesday, full of testimonials from startup founders, graphs and lots of numbers.  

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

"When we’re developing strategies to tackle vacancy, we need good data as a base to guide those decisions," says Laura Ginn (right), who has helped develop a data-rich website on vacant property in St. Louis.
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

For the record, St. Louis is home to 20,187 vacant properties. More than half are vacant lots, totaling 1,565 acres. Over the past five years, it has cost the city more than $17 million to maintain the vacant property with services like mowing, removing dumped waste, and boarding up abandoned structures.

The total assessed value of all that property? $79,813,010.

The 128-year-old Merchants Bridge is receiving a $172-million renovation. July 11, 2018.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Private railroad companies will rebuild a 128-year-old railroad bridge that spans the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis despite failing to secure federal funding that would help pay for the project.

Nan Palmero | Flickr Creative Commons

On July 14, 2008, Anheuser-Busch accepted a $52 billion takeover offer from InBev, a beer conglomerate based in Belgium. The deal marked the end of an era for the iconic American brewery established in 1852, and its hometown of St. Louis.

One local industry that had flourished for decades in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch was advertising. Think Jon Hamm in Mad Men. AB was the glamour account that everyone wanted a piece of and there was plenty of work to keep a small army of creative people very busy.

How Some Small Towns Are Achieving 'Brain Gain'

Jul 11, 2018

When communities watch young people grow up, go off and never return, remaining residents and politicians often bemoan there’s been a “brain drain” — especially when such population loss means schools and businesses close.

Construction began Tuesday July 10 for the Live! by Loews' Ballpark Village hotel. The hotel showed in a rendering here could be completed by February 2020.
Cordish Companies and Loews Hotels & Co

Officials plunged ceremonial shovels into the dirt at the future site of Live! by Loews at Ballpark Village on Monday.

The $65 million hotel, at the corner of Clark and 8th streets, is part of the $260-million, second phase of the development. The hotel is a part of the living space that Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said will put the “village” in Ballpark Village.

Metro Transit

A new MetroLink station will open in St. Louis’ Cortex Innovation Community later this month.

The light-rail stop is located on the east side of Boyle Avenue between the existing Central West End and Grand stations. It’s part of a $15.4-million project to update transportation options surrounding the St. Louis tech hub. The station marks Metro Transit’s first construction project built with both private and public funding.

Metro Transit spokesperson Patti Beck said the stop will support Cortex’s growth as a tech hub.

The expansion adds office, storage and warehouse space to the Wellston Business Center, which opened 13 years ago.
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

The expansion of a center to help launch businesses is aimed at sparking an economic rebound in a north St. Louis County community. A ribbon cutting is set for Monday at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership business center in Wellston.

Commerical planes parked at a St. Louis Lambert International Airport terminal.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The Advisor Team hired by the city of St. Louis to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport takes off next week, with its first official meeting on July 11.

The request for proposals, review and approval process is expected to take 18 to 24 months. The process has already been delayed by political maneuvers on the committee to select the advisors and it’s likely to hit more turbulence in the months ahead.

The corn and soybeans growing in Glenn Brunkow’s fields in the rolling Flint Hills north of Wamego, Kansas, got some much needed rain recently and look healthy.

Brunkow has reason to expect a good harvest, but the way things are looking globally, he’ll lose money on the crop. Trade disputes with China, Mexico and Canada threaten to slash U.S. food exports by billions. About half the soybean crop goes overseas, most of that to China — and since mid-April, soybean prices have plunged about 20 percent and corn about 15 percent.

Friday is the deadline for U.S.-China trade talks. If they fail and China's 25-percent tariff on soybeans goes into effect, Missouri farmers will feel the impact.
jasonippolito | Flickr

Soybean farmers across the Midwest are on the frontlines of a looming trade war between the U.S. and China. The first shots could be fired this week if negotiations fail.

Each country is prepared to impose $34 billion in tariffs on the other’s exports if no agreement is reached by the July 6 deadline.

Clientele of The Lost Whiskey swarm the dance floor and the bar during last call. The bar/restaurant opened its doors in late April and is one of the bars that could be affected by the proposed ordinance
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles’ historic district has two distinct identities.

During the day, people come to the three-block stretch of Main Street to browse in small shops and eat at locally owned restaurants. At night, 18 bars along the same street attract students from Lindenwood University and those looking for a good time.

But in recent years, that transformation after sunset has caused tension in both the historic district and the city.

Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson outlined two priorities to drive the state’s economy during an appearance in St. Louis on Wednesday: workforce development and infrastructure.

The governor spoke at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center following an all-day summit convened to focus on the two issues. Parson urged the gathering of business and education officials from around the state to work together to prepare tomorrow’s workforce and to vote in November.

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