Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

The field at Busch Stadium had a music theme to mark the Winter Classic between the Blues and Blackhawks on Jan. 2, 2017.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

It was a celebration of hockey between two rivals and a chess match with Mother Nature.

The St. Louis Blues won both.

The 1972 St. Louis Stars played in the North American Soccer League championship, losing to New York.
Jan Reinertsen | nasljerseys.com|

The effort by backers of a potential Major League Soccer expansion franchise for St. Louis has some fans reflecting on the history of the sport in the region. That includes memories of a top-level professional team in late 1960s through the mid-1970s called the St. Louis Stars.

Jennifer Franklin at a CoderGirl meeting Dec. 2016
Launch Code

Last winter, Kimberly Vaughn and DeAnna Tipton both found themselves needing a career change.

Vaughn, 41, said she was “tattered and worn” of the industry she was in and was struggling as a single mother. Tipton, 25, was simply fed up with her job.

Although neither had a technology background, they both decided to attend the CoderGirl meet-up group at LaunchCode, a nonprofit that offers free training courses in coding at 4811 Delmar Blvd. in the Central West End.

Kirkwood officials say there have been years where more than 540,000 visitors have gone through the station.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis County community is launching an effort to pay for massive renovation of a prominent landmark. The Kirkwood Train Station Foundation wants to bring in money to fix up the structure, which was originally built in 1893.

The goal is to raise $3 million.

St. Louis Public Radio's Wayne Pratt and Maria Altman have reported on all the big issues in St. Louis business throughout 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the year in business news in the region — from NGA to Monsanto — with the reporters who know the subject best.

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Maria Altman and Wayne Pratt joined the program and shared the stories they thought shaped the region this year.

(courtesy Project Connect)

The city of St. Louis officially owns all the land of the proposed new $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority closed on the last of the 551 parcels this month.

Soon the LCRA, the NGA and the Army Corps of Engineers will sign an options agreement for the land. Once they do, the city will have exactly one year to prepare the site.

Sparkle Burns, a community coach with Jobs Plus, entertains Kylie Short while the 9-month-old's mother works on her resume at Clinton-Peabody's Al Chappelle Center in December 2015.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This time last year, Sparkle Burns sometimes had to go to a food pantry to make sure there was dinner on her table.

But with the help of a new job training program at her public housing complex, the single mom was able to get her daughter into the Head Start program, where she also found a part-time job as a community coach.

Then in April she landed a full-time job — with benefits — at an accounting firm.

Peabody describes itself as the world's largest private-sector coal company
Peabody Energy

Peabody Energy is mapping out its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection next spring.

The coal company has filed a financial reorganization proposal with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis that calls for shedding more than $5 billion in debt and eventually issuing new common stock. Current shareholders would not receive anything and might oppose the plan.

Photo of three dogs and their handlers at Lambert Airport.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

The Transportation Security Administration has increased its security staff at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport by more than 30 people in time for the busy Christmas holiday travel season.  

The boost in personnel this year will coincide with an expected 11 percent increase in travelers, said Missouri’s Federal Security Director Jim Spriggs.

U.S. Steel in Granite City
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Updated  at 3 p.m. Dec. 19  with news of the bill signing — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for 2,000 laid-off Granite City steelworkers.

The legislature this month approved the proposal that will provide 52 weeks of benefits, instead of the current 26 for eligible workers.

“This legislation will help the hard working families of the Metro East who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Rauner said, in a statement. 

Much of Monroe County bordering the Mississippi River is in a flood plain. This view of the plain is from the bluffs near Valmeyer in 2013.
File Photo | Mary Leonard | St. Louis Beacon

Only 14 counties nationwide have a lower poverty rate than Monroe County, Illinois, located directly south of St. Louis, according to a new census report.

The mostly agricultural area located across the Mississippi River from Jefferson County had a median household income of just under $80,000 in 2015, and about 5 percent of the population was considered low-income.

The pilot program only covers the City of East St. Louis, not unincorporated areas.
Heather Anne Campbell | Flickr

A pilot program between East St. Louis and the state of Illinois is expected to streamline the inspection process for more than 50 retailers in the city who hold liquor licenses. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is training local officials to make sure the businesses are following state and local laws.

Monsanto
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we went "Behind the Headlines” to discuss the top stories of the week with those who can bring a little more in-depth knowledge to them. On this week’s program, we discussed:

The Monsanto-Bayer deal with Tim Greaney, J.D. Chester A. Meyers Professor of Law; Co-Director, Center for Health Law Studies, Saint Louis University. Greaney used to work in the anti-trust division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Autoclave at new Boeing commerical airline parts facility in St. Louis
Maria Altman| St. Louis Public Radio

Boeing will move its defense unit from St. Louis to Arlington, Virginia. A spokesman Tuesday confirmed the decision, which was made by senior management. Boeing's defense headquarters have been in St. Louis since the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas.

Monsanto shareholders approve sale to Bayer

Dec 13, 2016
Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto shareholders have approved Bayer’s roughly $65 billion acquisition of the seed giant.

The company said 99 percent of shareholders present Tuesday morning in Chesterfield voted in favor of the $128 per share deal and that 75 percent of all shareholders attended the special meeting.

“It was overwhelming support,” said Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant in a phone interview with St. Louis Public Radio.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro speaking at lectern at St. Stansilaus Kostka Church in north St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The Department Housing and Urban Development awarded St. Louis a $29.5 million grant on Monday to help revive the city’s near north side.

City Foundry

Two major redevelopment projects in St. Louis’ midtown got approval from an aldermanic committee on Wednesday.

City Foundry covers about 14 acres just east of IKEA. The Midtown Redevelopment, spearheaded by Saint Louis University, includes nearly 400 acres along Grand Avenue.

The City Foundry is a being developed by Cortex and the Lawrence group in four phases that could cost up to $340 million. The plan includes food, retail, office space and apartments.

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

The U.S. Department of Transportation is funding efforts to increase container-on-barge traffic along the Mississippi River. 

Federal and local officials on Monday announced six Marine Highway Grants, including two aimed at boosting freight at the Port of St. Louis and America’s Central Port in Granite City.

Increasing containers on the nation’s inland waterways will be necessary to meet increasing demand over the next 30 years, said U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen.

Road map of Forest Park and the Central West End in St. Louis, MO.
Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

Forest Park Parkway near Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the Central West End is closing until at least next summer starting Monday.

The road, which runs below Kingshighway, will be filled in to connect at-grade with the intersection. The $10 million project is designed to improve access and safety for patients, visitors and neighbors, according to June Fowler, BJC’s  senior vice president of communications.

“We thought it was important to have a traditional intersection so folks who are traveling to the campus would have a more intuitive way to access services,” she said.

provided | Cardinals

A St. Louis aldermanic committee approved a $56 million tax incentive package for Phase II of the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village on Wednesday in a meeting that also delved into larger economic development issues in the city.

Al Li, president of the St. Louis Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and John Clark, President and CEO of Masterclock, Inc.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been more than 40 years since the United States pulled out of Vietnam, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. In those 40 years, communist-controlled Vietnam has also solidified its place as a burgeoning business power. The country currently has the 55th largest GDP in the world. Within 10 years, Vietnam will be the 17th largest economy in the world.

Flickr Creative Commons | Mike G

The day after Black Friday is getting a bit more buzz.

The National Federation of Independent Business reports Americans spent about $16 billion at local merchants on Small Business Saturday last year.

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

All major construction on the Delmar Loop Trolley has been completed.

Trolley construction began March 2015. The final path of the trolley circles more than two miles from the western end of The Loop and through Forest Park near the Missouri History Museum.

Ann Plunkett and Russ Riggan shared their experience in employment law by dissecting new FLSA overtime rules that go into effect Dec. 1.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Nov. 22, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III blocked Obama Administration changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule that was set to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. The rule would have extended overtime eligibility for some 4.2 million Americans and 300,000 workers in Missouri and Illinois.

Read below for background on how the rule could change. More from NPR here

Calvin Payne, 44, stands in his newly leased space for CQ Custom Designs in the Grove neighborhood.  11/18/16
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Weaving between an ensemble of printers and T-shirt presses kept in the back of a tattoo parlor, Calvin Payne fills custom orders from all over the country.

“These shirts are going to Tupelo, Mississippi. And those other shirts are going to Millington, Tennessee,” Payne said, pointing to packages sitting on the counter. “I do a lot of breast cancer awareness shirts… and these are my favorite, because I know that they go for a good cause.”

Payne started his printing business while working as a server at Sweetie Pie’s restaurant in the Grove neighborhood, buying equipment with his savings and learning how to use it with tutorials on YouTube. This month, the 44-year-old entrepreneur is moving CQ Custom Designs into his own storefront for the first time.

August 22, 2007 Pfizer groundbreaking in Chesterfield.
File Photo | Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis County is getting another big business development.

Pfizer is partnering with Clayco and CRG for a new $200 million facility in Chesterfield. Clayco and its real estate subsidiary CRG will construct and own the building, while Pfizer will have a long-term lease.

The biopharmaceutical company has 450 employees at two facilities in the St. Louis region, and plans to create 80 new positions for the new facility.

Timebanking is a concept that allows people to exchange hours of services for others' hours of services. https://www.flickr.com/photos/126915310@N08/16704483331/in/photolist-rs7QVi-8ys6Hs-93GPYw-nkc4GF-pEoeBm-8UUxKR-nN3cfZ-7ndGEZ-5r97iL-arAPMg-7UTmVK-8pPv
uditha wickramanayaka | Flickr

What if there was a way to exchange goods and services without needing your wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards?

Well, there actually is: a new-old method of currency called “timebanking.” Timebanking provides participants with the opportunity to exchange time credits for work. One time credit is equal to one hour of service, for any and every service.

St. Louis is home to such a form of currency in The Cowry Collective Timebank, founded by Chinyere E. Oteh. She said that timebanking provides wider access to goods and services for community members.

Sam Johnson, left, assists a visitor at the food pantry he manages for St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Church, in north St. Louis.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

With Thanksgiving approaching, food and generosity are on people’s minds. That can be both a blessing and a challenge for St. Louis area food pantries.

Between the numerous food drives and the holiday spirit, the regions’ two main charitable food distribution centers receive a lot of donations in November and December.

Doug Byrum poses for a portrait with his wife, Ruth Ann, at their Mitchell, Illinois, home on Nov. 7, 2016. Byrum is one of 2,000 U.S. Steel employees who has been without work for nearly a year.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Discussions are underway this week at the Illinois Statehouse about whether to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off steelworkers in the Metro East. A bill to lengthen the benefit period to a full-year instead of the current 26 weeks has been passed by a legislative committee.  

Provided by the Cardinals

The next phase of Ballpark Village would change the look of downtown St. Louis.

The Cardinals, along with development partner Cordish, plan to build a 29-story apartment building at the corner of Clark Avenue and Broadway Avenue, just north of Busch Stadium.

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