Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

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

Boeing’s new facility will start production of composite parts for the 777X commercial jet in January.

The company held a ribbon cutting for a new 424,000-square-foot plant on Thursday. Eventually Boeing expects to hire about 700 employees for production on the 777X in St. Louis.

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration

Developer Paul McKee is asking for $2.8 million in tax increment financing for a grocery store and gas station, as well as a one percent sales tax to help pay the TIF back.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee approved both proposals on 4-3 votes on Wednesday.

"A Nice Place to Visit" by Aaron Cowan, book cover
Temple University Press

The year is 1950. Automobiles, highways and the age of urbanization are upon us. People across the country are flocking from densely populated industrial cities to the white-washed glamour of the suburbs. Manufacturers, called by more lenient tax codes, start moving in the same direction — or out of the country entirely. Discriminatory housing policies keep African-Americans from following suit.

Most cities in the post-war industrial “Rust Belt,” including St. Louis, have already seen their highest population numbers in the 20th century. City leaders, in a panic over lost tax base in those cities, turn their sights on another form of income, now made possible with the advent of jet air travel: tourism.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

It’s hard to overstate how big of a deal the National Ploughing Championships are in Ireland.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny attended the annual event last month near Tullamore, along with about 300,000 people for what is considered the largest ag showcase in Europe.

The U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, was also there, wearing a business suit, green tie, and wellies, the rubber boots everyone wears to "the Ploughing."

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Updated on Monday, Oct. 10, 4:30 p.m., with news that the deal has been finalized - The multi-billion dollar deal to create the world's largest brewer is complete. Anheuser-Busch InBev has wrapped up its takeover of SABMiller.

Changes are not expected at the company's Missouri facilities. AB-InBev has three plants in the state — the St. Louis brewery — which is the North American headquarters for the company, a can plant in Arnold and a packaging materials facility in Bridgeton. AB-InBev officials say the brewer has roughly 4,300 workers in Missouri. Those jobs and plants are expected to be safe — at least for the time being. That's because AB InBev agreed to sell the Miller brands to MolsonCoors so the SABMiller deal could gain regulatory approval. The company says offloading labels like Miller Lite means there won't be any overlap, so significant adjustments to U.S. operations are not necessary.

Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones says though Ferguson is getting more attention, his city suffered more damage in Monday's riots, and he wants to make sure it gets the resources to rebuild that it needs. Nov. 28, 2014 file photo.
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Dellwood auto parts store is back in business after it was damaged two years ago during violence that broke out during protests in neighboring Ferguson, marking another sign of progress for the city.

Monsanto
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Losing a corporate headquarters is generally not considered good news.

Yet the announcement that Creve Coeur-based Monsanto is likely to be acquired by Bayer is being viewed by many in the startup community as a positive.

Nathaniel Thompson, 4, plays with his father Duane Thompson on the jungle gym at Trojan Park in Wellston Sat. October 8, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

People who live in and around Wellston have a new place to gather, play and exercise.

Trojan Park is now open to the public in the north St. Louis County town.  It features a playground, exercise equipment, butterfly gardens and the city’s first full-length basketball court.

Renovating the Eads Bridge involved sandblasting nine coats off old paint off and replacing more than a million pounds of steel.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The historic Eads Bridge is now fit to carry MetroLink and motor traffic over the Mississippi River until at least the year 2091 with the completion of a four-year, $48 million rehabilitation project.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of St. Louis-based Monsanto says completing the $66 billion deal with Bayer is one of his company's main goals for 2017. Hugh Grant has also given analysts reasons why he thinks the takeover by the German company will be cleared by regulators. He spoke Wednesday during Monsanto's quarterly earnings call.

Rodney Norman, Charles Bryson and Kevin McKinney discussed "Neighborhoods United For Change" on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt |St. Louis Public Radio

Rodney Norman is an active resident of the West End neighborhood, which is bounded by Delmar, Skinker, Page and Union on St. Louis’ north side. Recently, he and a group of his neighbors traveled seven miles to the city’s south side to visit the Tower Grove East neighborhood, bounded by Gravois, Grand, Nebraska and Shenandoah. Seven miles doesn’t sound extensive, but when it comes to St. Louis, that distance might as well be 100 miles.

Abby Cohen is a co-founder of Sparo Labs. She will be on the trip to Boston with other St. Louis startup leaders.
(Photo courtesy of Sparo Labs)

Members of the startup community in St. Louis are trying to strengthen links to Boston. A group of about 20 startup leaders will leave Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Tuesday evening for two days of meetings in Massachusetts.

students celebrate graduation day with flags
Facebook|Mosaic Project

The foreign-born population in the St. Louis area grew by about 9 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to census data collected in the American Community Survey.

During that time, the number of immigrants grew to 129,559. St. Louis attracted the highest percentage increase of the nation's top 20 metropolitan areas, beating out New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Maria Altman.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Maria Altman returned earlier this week from a 10-day reporting trip with a delegation from BioSTL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center as they traveled to Ireland and Israel, seeking new markets and business opportunities for the St. Louis region.

Her trip was funded by donations from the Silk Foundation and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines,” Altman joined host Don Marsh to discuss what she reported on and learned during the part of the trip that took her to Israel.

Rendering of Centene's expansion proposal in Clayton
Provided by Centene

Updated 12:05 p.m., Sept. 28 with Board of Aldermen approvals - Members of the Clayton Board of Aldermen have approved elements of a massive expansion plan by Centene.  Rezoning and a special development plan for the multi-million dollar project were passed Wednesday night. Individual phases of the project still need to go through an approval process.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

On a Sunday morning in Tel Aviv the streets are bustling. It’s the first day of the work week for Israelis.

BioSTL’s man in Israel, Uri Attir, has set up meetings with five startups companies. The first is at Hebrew University’s agriculture school in Rehovot, a southern suburb of the city.

In a small university conference room, a plant science professor and his three-member team present their business. The audience consists of three members of the non-profit BioSTL and a representative from the Danforth Plant Science Center.

David Skaggs, Marc Bowers and Tracie Gildehaus.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

One quarter of the St. Louis region’s economy is made up by manufacturing and the vast majority of those manufacturers are small, privately-held companies, said Marc Bowers, the leader of St. Louis Makes, a non-profit trade group for manufacturers.  That’s a multi-billion dollar segment of the economy.

A view of the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

In a glass-encased room under a white tent, ag tech startups took to a stage in a pitch competition on Tuesday. It was just a small part of the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland, what is now the largest ag trade show in Europe.

The competition between startups in that small room, not tractors out in the fields, was the reason two St. Louis organizations made the trip to Tullamore, Ireland this week. Both BioSTL and the Yield Lab are looking to plug into the Irish ag tech startup community.

"It turns out that Ireland is jam-packed with innovation," said Donn Rubin, CEO and president of BioSTL.

Todd Swanstrom, Jorg Ploger and Sandra Moore.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis looks to the future, it is worth a peek into the not-too-distant past to understand how other cities have overcome declining population and aging infrastructure. Researchers recently studied efforts to revitalize older industrial cities in Europe — and local officials are looking at the lessons that they might learn to design urban strategies for St. Louis.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition winner will be open a restaurant at this location at St. Louis Avenue and North 14th Street in St. Louis' Old North area, seen in this file photo.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis contest is offering an unusual prize: a nearly fully-equipped restaurant.

Three local organizations are holding a competition in which the winner gets two years of free rent at a restaurant space catty-cornered from Crown Candy Kitchen, on St. Louis Avenue in the Old North area. The prize is a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas, a ventilation system and even the kitchen sink. The package is worth up to $100,000.

The Yield Lab, a St. Louis-based food and ag tech accelerator, is planning to expand into Galway, Ireland.

The incubator launched in 2014, investing $100,000 in startups and providing mentorship over a nine-month program. Managing director Thad Simons said part of the reason to create Yield Lab Galway is to gain access to both European startups and markets.

(courtesy Monsanto and Bayer)

Bayer and Monsanto executives are working to calm nerves in St. Louis regarding the planned $66 billion acquisition.

In Wednesday's announcement, Bayer said it will keep the combined company’s seeds and traits business in St. Louis, as well as its North American headquarters.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:25 a.m., Sept. 14 with CEO comments -  The head of Monsanto is assuring St. Louis residents about the company's commitment to the region, following the announcement that the agribusiness giant is being acquired by Germany-based Bayer. Hugh Grant told reporters the combination is good news for the region and points to the fact that it will be the global center for the combined company's seeds and traits operations.

Boeing and Saab unveil its T-X model, with touch-screen capabilities, two tails and doors that open downwards.
Eli Chen

Boeing unveiled a fighter jet model at the company's St. Louis factory today in its bid to replace the U.S. Air Force's aging pilot trainer aircraft. 

Boeing and Swedish automaker Saab collaborated for nearly three years on the T-X model, which is designed to train Air Force pilots. The company did not disclose the plane's cost, but it is marketed as being more affordable and flexible than older models.

Since the 1960s, the Air Force has trained more than 60,000 pilots on Northrop Grumman's T-38 Talon, which also has been used to train NASA's astronauts. Boeing is competing with Northrop, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee owns quite a bit of land within the Old North neighborhood on St. Louis’ north side.

But a deal between McKee, the Old North Restoration Group, and the city’s land bank could soon change that.

Earlier this summer the Old North Restoration Group asked an aldermanic committee that McKee release about 65 parcels to the neighborhood before receiving tax incentives for a grocery store and gas station.

Within days McKee and the neighborhood group met.

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center)

Women are getting more involved in ag tech.

It’s evident at the Ag Innovation Showcase, a conference of agricultural innovators, scientists and investors that takes place annually at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Jake Rosenfeld is a sociology professor at Washington University who studies labor movements in the U.S.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the mid-1950s, one out of every three people working in private enterprise in the United States was in a union. Today, only 6-7 percent of private sector workers still pay their dues. What changed over that period of time?

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 7:18 a.m., Sept. 6 with revised Bayer offer - St. Louis-based Monsanto is evaluating another takeover proposal from a German company. Bayer announced early Tuesday morning that is has increased its offer by roughly 2 percent. It’s a more than $65 billion proposal.

A customer speaks to a teller at St. Louis Community Credit Union's Gateway Branch on Friday, Sept. 1, 2016 in northwest St. Louis.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Triple A Fish House on Union Boulevard in northwest St. Louis has a new neighbor: the Gateway Branch of the St. Louis Community Credit Union.

“I’m so grateful that they’re there,” said Allison Carson, who’s been selling “the best fish and tripe in St. Louis” at the same location south of Natural Bridge Avenue for 14 years.

“They are for the community. They give us loans with a low-interest rate.”

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

St. Louis County will be chipping in to study a possible light rail expansion that would run south from Ferguson through downtown St. Louis to the Meramec River.

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