Economy & Innovation

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

Emily Koplar - Wai Ming
Provided by St. Louis Fashion Incubator

Updated 11:48 a.m., Aug. 25 with inaugural class announcement -  A local designer is part of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator's first class. Emily Koplar is one of six people chosen to go through the two-year program aimed at supporting the businesses and boosting the city's fashion-related economy. She is founder of the Wai Ming women’s clothing line. Other members of the inaugural class are from the New York City area, Dallas and Chicago.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated at 4 p.m. Aug. 23 with new comments from St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams.

The head of the St. Louis Development Corporation said he will work to keep a business that must move to make way for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new campus, in business.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams told St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday that he wants to see Adrienne Harris' adult day care successfully moved into a new building. 

Forest Park Forever president and executive director Lesley Hoffarth said public input will help guide future changes and upgrades at the city's most well-known green space.
Flickr |ChrisYunker

A new MetroLink station and improved bike lanes are among nine possible long-range strategies being considered to transform how people get around St. Louis’ Forest Park.

St. Louis officials and Forest Park Forever, a nonprofit group, reviewed the results of public input over the course of nine months, including 1,300 responses to an online survey and comments from open house meetings. They publicly presented the refined list of suggested improvements during an open house Thursday.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or one of its many predecessors, has been in St. Louis for more than 70 years and has about 3,000 employees in the city.

Earlier this summer the federal spy agency announced it had chosen a north St. Louis site for its new $1.75 billion campus.

St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman sat down with NGA director Robert Cardillo to talk about his vision for the new facility. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

A red, white and blue light rail car stops at a MetroLink station.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

The St. Louis Parking Commission is putting up $2 million to study a possible north-south MetroLink expansion. Members voted unanimously Thursday to spend funds from the Parking Division’s unrestricted reserves to re-examine the 17-mile route that would connect St. Louis’ downtown to north and south St. Louis County.

The  $100 million complex has about 1,000 employees responsible for keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network safe.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

There's a new, $100 million dollar building at Scott Air Force Base that is keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network out of trouble.

Military and political dignitaries gathered on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the 164,000- square-foot complex that houses the Defense Information Systems Agency's Global Operations Command. It’s the largest cyber operations center in the United States.

Betsy Cohen, Anna Crosslin and Alaa Alderie joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the economic impact of immigrants on the state of Missouri.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Today, there are 224,430 foreign-born people living in Missouri. Some 14,000 of those immigrants are self-employed and immigrant-owned businesses that generated over $250 million in business income in 2014.

Those are some of the findings in a new report published by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a pro-immigration advocacy group launched by Michael Bloomberg to influence policymakers toward immigration reform.

Goalie masks and homeplate
Provided by St. Louis Blues

Following the selection of five St. Louis area players in the first round of this year's National Hockey League draft, officials with the Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL are convinced an outdoor game in January will help build on the sport's already solid footing in the region.

League Commissioner Gary Bettman stopped in St. Louis Tuesday to promote the Jan. 2, 2017, contest between the Blues and Blackhawks at Busch Stadium.

The St. Louis Aquarium's main attraction will be  a 385,000-gallon shark tank.
Lawrence Group

Developers are planning to build a $45 million aquarium is Union Station near downtown St. Louis and they say it will feature one of the largest collections of sharks in the Midwest.

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways | http://bit.ly/29OOZKM

The year is 2091 and you have a business trip to make to Kansas City. You wake up in the morning, ask the speaker in your wall for a car to be brought to your door to take you there. A car arrives, no driver, naturally, and you set up camp in the back seat with your laptop to prepare for a big meeting. The car, dodging traffic reported along Forest Park Parkway, hops onto I-70 and into a line of other driver-less cars along a solar-paneled highway.

Echo Bluff State Park
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Echo Bluff State Park is officially open.

Gov. Jay Nixon cut the ribbon Saturday on Missouri's newest park, which is being promoted as a hub from which visitors can explore the state's Ozark region.

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Updated 11:40 a.m., July 29 with SABMiller board recommendation and China approval - The board of brewer SABMiller says it intends to "recommend" that shareholders accept  Anheuser-Busch InBev's revised takeover offer, clearing the way for a shareholder vote on the mega-deal. The decision comes only hours after AB InBev's cleared the last regulatory hurdle for the 79 billion pound deal.

Paul Sabelman | Flickr

Property owners filled the courtroom in the old St. Louis Civil Courts Building on Thursday.

It had taken a long time to get to this day.

Several of the residents who lived or owned property within the site of what will be the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility fought to get more money. Others were simply tied up with title issues or liens.

"I’ve been waiting for this day and dreading it," Adrienne Harris said.

Harris runs an adult daycare business out of 2525 Benton St., in the home her mother bought more than 40 years ago.

Pokémon Go has had St. Louisans out and about exploring St. Louis. Where have you been that you did not expect to go?
Sadie Hernandez | Flickr | http://bit.ly/2a4fmhe

Pokémon Go has become an unequivocal sensation in the past couple of weeks across the world and right here in St. Louis. On the negative side, it has been associated with some crime.

A group of STL Lunch regulars eat their turkey, bacon and cheese sandwiches at Hickey Park.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

It's one of the hottest days of summer and Rodney McGruder Brown is loading 32 paper lunch bags into a friend's car in the Tower Grove area. Each bag contains one of the many turkey, bacon, lettuce and blue cheese sandwiches he spent the morning assembling. Water, juice boxes and zip-close bags full of fresh strawberries and grapes go in alongside the sandwiches.

On the other side of town, 17-year-old Mya Petty and a crew of children have set up a folding table at Hickey Park in the Baden neighborhood. They drape a checkered cloth over it and tape up a colorful sign advertising free food for kids who otherwise might not have much to eat during the summer.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

The head of St. Louis-based Centene is shooting down speculation it will bid on any units being unloaded by larger companies that are considering a merger. There have been reports the St. Louis-based health insurer is interested in trying to acquire units that would have to be divested by the potential combinations of  Aetna  and Humana or Anthem and Cigna.

Brenda Nelson plays a card game with friends on Mullanphy Street during the street's last annual block party on Saturday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the third Saturday of July neighbors and former residents gathered in the 2300 block of Mullanphy Street in north St. Louis.

That’s when the annual block party always takes place.

But this would be the last one.

courtesy NewLeaf Symbiotics

NewLeaf Symbiotics is growing fast.

Formed in 2012, the startup has nearly 40 employees and has hired four executives in the last year.

The latest executive to come on board is Dr. Janne Kerovuo, the head of Monsanto’s Microbial Discovery Strategy since 2013. He’ll now be NewLeaf’s Vice President for Research and Discovery.

(From the Economic Development Incentives report from the PFM Group.)

Each month the commissioners of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis hear request after request from developers and even residents for tax abatements that usually last five to 10 years. 

It's just one of the tools the city uses to spur economic development, but St. Louis officials are taking a look at how those tax incentives are distributed. 

A slide from a presentation during an April 2015  fair housing conference shows how Section 8 vouchers are concentrated in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County, and that most voucher holders are black.
courtesy Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Housing officials have spent months educating renters and landlords about a new St. Louis ordinance — one designed to protects those using government rental vouchers.

But, according to the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, some landlords are still ignoring the rule and denying homes to people who get the government's help to pay their bills.

A crew member with Matt's Health Woods & Wildlife plants hybrid poplar trees in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood of St. Louis. Fresh Coast Capital is leasing 42 parcels from the city for an urban tree farm. July 13, 2016
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

A small crew spent Wednesday morning planting poplar trees on several parcels of vacant land in St. Louis’ Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.

A company called Fresh Coast Capital is leasing 42 parcels from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority for $1 a year. The city will receive about 2 percent of the revenue when the company harvests and seels the hybrid poplar trees in 10 to 12 years.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is touting progress in the city's efforts to employ teenagers and young adults over the summer.

STL Youth Jobs launched nearly four years ago as a collaboration between the city and civic partners to offer paid positions and training opportunities for at-risk youth.

trolley missouri history museum
Rachel Heidenry | 2009

Construction of the Loop Trolley is causing roads to close at the edge of St. Louis and University City.

The intersection of DeBaliviere and Forest Park Parkway is now closed. Traffic will be rerouted around Forest Park for the next three weeks.

courtesy of Northside Regeneration

Developer Paul McKee is finally using the Tax Increment Financing approved years ago by the city of St. Louis.

The Board of Aldermen approved a bill on Friday to release $2.8 million in TIF for infrastructure around a proposed grocery store and gas station McKee announced in March. It’s the first time McKee has sought to use any of the $390 million TIF first approved in 2009 for his massive Northside Regeneration project.

Rolanda Robinson (right) and a friend grill hot dogs for protesters on August 20 in Ferguson.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Missourians will spend a bit more money to cook out this Fourth of July holiday than they did last year, but it's still less than the national average, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau.

In general, a cookout in the Show-Me State costs $50.50, which is 61 cents more than it cost a year ago. Diane Olson, director of promotion and education programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, says the national average comes in at $56.06.

Anheuser-Busch complex
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Shareholders of brewer SABMiller might want more out of the proposed takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev because of England's vote to leave the European Union. Edward Jones' equity research analyst Brittany Weissman says that is a remote possibility as the acquisition closes in on regulatory approval in the U.S. and a few other countries.

Jack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Holdings, died Saturday, July 2, 2016.
Provided by Enterprise Holdings

Updated Saturday, July 2 — Jack Crawford Taylor, who transformed a tiny car rental business into one of the world's largest rental car companies, died Saturday. The Enterprise Holdings founder was 94.

Taylor died after a short illness, according to a release from Enterprise. He is being widely hailed for his business acumen, making the company he founded in 1957 into a powerhouse that includes Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. He also is being remembered for his financial contributions in St. Louis, where Enterprise is among the largest companies.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill Wednesday tightening laws around a popular economic development tool.

The law is aimed at the St. Louis region, naming St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jefferson County. It limits the power of municipalities to approve tax increment financing if a county-wide TIF board rejects it.

Nixon signed the bill at a meeting of the regional East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which did a report on the issue.

MISO control room
Provided by MISO

A battle over power is shaping up in Illinois. It involves lawmakers, but unlike with the state budget crisis they are not playing a central role. This fight involves electricity plants, regulated and unregulated energy companies and the nonprofits that act as air traffic controllers for the electric grid.

iPhone displaying UberX partner app.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio / Uber, MTC

Thousands of UberX drivers continue giving rides in St. Louis and St. Louis County despite efforts by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission to ticket them for doing so.

The MTC announced last March it would begin citing the ride-hailing company’s drivers for failing to have a vehicle-for-hire license, which requires a fingerprint background check under state law. So far, MTC enforcement agents have issued about 18 citations, said Executive Director Ron Klein.

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