Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

healp wanted ads in newspaper
photo credit|Innov8social, Flickr, Creative Commons

Job skills are the focus of the 2018 State of the St. Louis Workforce study published Wednesday by the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College.

This year’s report is titled “Help Wanted: A Skilled Workforce. Addressing the Workforce Needs of the St. Louis Economy.

Marcus Butt | Getty Images

When Mike McClain pictured retirement, he thought of deserts and canyons.

The 66-year-old had planned to leave the workforce this year and spend more time outdoors, hiking and camping. That was before he was laid off from his job in telecommunications in 2009.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The city’s Airport Advisory Working Group met for the first time Tuesday with a cadre of legal, financial and aviation experts. Together they will prepare to seek and review bids from private investors vying for a lease to manage operations at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The Lindbergh Conference Room overlooking the airport runways was the setting for a two-hour presentation by the outside experts. They laid out an 18-month timeline for hammering out the details of a potential public-private partnership for Lambert.

Smartphone-based GPS tracking systems allow people in the St. Louis area to locate, unlock and ride the scooters recently launched by rival companies Lime and Bird.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“What is it – people just don’t want to walk anymore?”

That’s how host Don Marsh opened Tuesday’s lighthearted St. Louis on the Air conversation with the Riverfront Times’ Daniel Hill, who joined the show to discuss the many electric scooters that have recently appeared in St. Louis.

Hill, who responded by describing the new scooters from rival companies Lime and Bird as “clearly the future of walking,” recently ran a sizeable sample of the two-wheeled contraptions through “extensive tests,” as described in his investigation.

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

Francis Slay, just weeks before leaving office as mayor in April of last year, initiated the process that could lead to the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

In June of this year, Slay was hired by Ferrovial Airports, a Madrid-based company with extensive experience in managing airports in Europe, and considered one of three top contenders in the bidding process for Lambert.

Workers set up for the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country in June.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country is the center of the golf world this week with the 100th PGA Championship set to begin Thursday. Organizers are expecting 80,000 people to come in for the event.

They will get to see a championship course in all its glory. Precisely mowed greens, protected by deep sandy bunkers and fairways stretching for hundreds of yards lined by trees reaching for the sky.

The person tasked with getting everything ready — and making it all look good — is Carlos Arraya.

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians shopping for back-to-school supplies can take advantage of the state’s tax-free weekend this Friday through Sunday.

The tax holiday applies to clothing, school supplies and computers for the 4.22-percent state sales tax, as well as the local sales tax in participating jurisdictions.

But the Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers do some reading, writing and arithmetic before they start to shop in stores or online. Chris Thetford, vice president of communications at the BBB in St. Louis, said not everything sold in back-to-school sales may qualify.

Siteman Cancer Center breaks ground for new facility in Florissant
provided | Siteman Cancer Center

Siteman Cancer Center broke ground Tuesday on its fifth outpatient site. The $26.3-million, 37,000-square-foot facility will be located on the Northwest HealthCare campus of Christian Hospital in Florissant.

“This is the best medicine coming right here to north county,” said Rick Stevens, the president of Christian Hospital. “This is money being put back in the community right here.”

The new facility is a joint project of BJC HealthCare — which owns and operates Christian Hospital — and Washington University School of Medicine. It is expected to open in late 2019.

A train of spectators broke a ribbon at Cortex MetroLink Station on Tuesday morning. July 31, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A new MetroLink stop opened on Tuesday in St. Louis’ Cortex tech district.

The Cortex MetroLink Station is the first new station built in more than 10 years. It’s also the first Metro Transit construction project built with both private and public funding.

John Hope Bryant 072618 Operation Hope Finacial literacy offices in Regions Bank
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

Regions Bank and Operation HOPE on Thursday opened a HOPE Inside financial empowerment office in Belleville.

The office staffed by an Operation Hope financial counselor is located inside the Regions Bank branch at 4800 W. Main St.

provided | Danforth Plant Science Center

After two decades of building, the region’s agricultural technology cluster is poised to take off. A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit suggests it already is a global leader and a national example for other metro areas trying to establish economic growth strategies.

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 electric scooters.  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.

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