Economy & Innovation

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

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A St. Louis-based social media technology company is moving into a much larger space as it prepares to add 300 jobs over the next five years. LockerDome's headquarters will remain downtown on Washington Avenue, but plans to be in the new space by the end of next year. It will be 18,000 square feet as opposed to the company's current 6,800 square-foot office.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at World Wide Technology groundbreaking
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

One of the St. Louis region's most prominent technology companies is hoping to use some workplace culture elements of some of the big players in Silicon Valley in its new headquarters in Maryland Heights. World Wide Technology plans to open the space for 1,000 workers in 2017. It will anchor a $95 million revitalization effort for Westport Plaza. Company officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. "It's just another day in kind of the evolution of World Wide," said Chief Executive...

United States Department of Agriculture | via Flickr

The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan. So how is it that the National Tree Christmas Association is based in Chesterfield? "There’s lots of office space," joked executive director Rick Dungey . The trade organization represents about 600 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 3,800 affiliated businesses. While Missouri ranks 26th in Christmas tree production, Dungey said their office's location doesn't much matter when...

File photo | Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Metro Transit is disputing a recent study that suggests its operations in the St. Louis area are financially unsustainable.

ChrisYunker | via Flickr

Unemployment in the St. Louis region is the lowest it’s been in years, but job growth is still below the national average. That’s according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ fourth quarter Burgundy Report on economic conditions , released Friday. The St. Louis zone, which includes eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, had an average unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in the third quarter. That’s the lowest it’s been since the second quarter of 2007. However, job growth remained...

With U.S. Steel set to start idling operations in Granite City next week, some Metro East leaders are calling on federal lawmakers to take a tougher stance on overseas steel producers selling on the U.S. market at unfairly low prices.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Developer Paul McKee will not be among the landowners taken to court by the city of St. Louis in an effort to lure a federal agency to the north side. The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority reached a deal with McKee’s company, Northside Regeneration, this week. That includes the option to buy more than 300 parcels of McKee’s land within the proposed site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. " We reached an agreement with Northside and final terms have been agreed," said St....

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

For some investors it’s about more than making money. Sustainable, Responsible and Impact (SRI) financial investments are becoming more common among both public and private investors. Madaket Growth, LLC, a St. Louis-based investment company, is capitalizing on that trend. Founder Christopher Desloge said they’re now starting the first SRI investment fund for qualified investors in St. Louis. (Those investors earn more than $200,000 a year and have assets of at least $1 million, excluding...

Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh discussed the year in business happenings in the area — from Cortex to coal to NGA — with the reporters who know the subject best.

Arcade Apartments, Arcade Building
(courtesy of Missouri History Museum, St. Louis)

Updated Friday, Dec. 11, 5 p.m. Developers say that construction is complete on the Arcade Apartments. Construction crews wrapped up their work last week and the first residents have moved in. Jeff Huggett, a developer at Dominuim, says more than 100 of the apartments have been reserved. In a statement, he says the Arcade Building project is the largest apartment renovation in St. Louis in decades. Our original story: The Arcade Building in downtown St. Louis is set to reopen in December for the first time since it closed in 1978.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

They weren’t fastballs, but there was a lot of pitching at Busch Stadium on Thursday. The founders of four sports startups threw their best stuff at investors gathered inside the ballpark. It was Stadia Ventures first demo day. The St. Louis-based accelerator offers 10-week mentorship for sports entrepreneurs and investments of up to $100,000. Co-founder Art Chou said it’s the right city for the sports innovation hub. " They always talk about the venture capital community in Boston or Silicon...

(Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio)

Developer Paul McKee owns the lion’s share of the land within the proposed north St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. As the secretive federal agency looks for a new home, the developer was instrumental in getting the city location on NGA’s short list. However, McKee was driving a hard bargain with the city for his land. He was among 19 property owners named in an aldermanic resolution to authorize eminent domain , the court process for forcing land sales. But it...

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This past June, 33 Veterans Court Technology Clinic students and supporters watched as seven of their colleagues took part in the clinic’s first formal graduation ceremony. The clinic is part of a special drug court in St. Louis that provides an alternative to incarceration for veterans. It provides job skills for participants in the program. “The Veterans Treatment Courts are an extremely valuable piece of the jurisdictional puzzle,” said Matthew Miller, a legal outreach coordinator with the...

Security guards at the Callaway nuclear power plant near Fulton warn they could go on strike if they don’t reach a contract agreement with Ameren Missouri. The United Government Security Officers of America Local 11 represents 91 security officers at Missouri’s only nuclear power plant. They’ve been on a month-to-month contract since rejecting an agreement with Ameren Missouri in July. The union’s lead negotiator, Jim Natale , said members are concerned with their working conditions and...

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

A formal rollout of a federal initiative that could help revitalize some of the poorest sections of north St. Louis County and city is expected next month.

America's Central Port

The forecast for 2016 in Madison County and the St. Louis region’s newly-created freight district includes 9,600 feet of rail track, 1 million cubic yards of dirt and 8,000 cubic yards of concrete — and the sound of barge horns. The South Harbor at America’s Central Port was recently christened and is set to open in 2016 — with an expected increase in commodities flow by 25 percent . That’s part of an effort by business leaders in the St. Louis metropolitan area to meet the needs or...

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Cyber security has become a major initiative of the Pentagon. As part of that initiative, Scott Air Force Base has a new cyberspace operations group that will eventually include 300 new jobs. The 688 th Cyberspace Wing activated the group on Tuesday. Colonel Roger Vrooman also became the new commander of the group during Tuesday's activation ceremony. He later told members of the media that he worries about cyber attacks that aren’t detected. " That’s why we’re standing up this group, and...

Monsanto, a global agricultural company headquartered in St. Louis, says it is taking a leadership role as the sector deals with climate change. Monsanto plans to make all operations carbon neutral by 2021. Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant says essentially the company wants all of its systems to store, offset or sequester as much carbon as they release. “When the beginning and the end match up and you are at net-neutrality, that’s the definition of a good day, I think.” The company’s plan...

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The coal industry continues to adjust to economic realities. Peabody Energy has announced a deal to sell assets in Colorado and New Mexico, while Arch Coal is suggesting that a bankruptcy filing may be in order. Tracking the sector can be a challenge, so we have put together a snapshot of some major players and their ties to the St. Louis region.

Courtesy of the Illinois Farm Bureau

Hopefully you got your fill of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. It may be your last until next fall. Canned pumpkin supplies are expected to run out after the holiday. This year’s yield was down by about half in Illinois, where 90 percent of the crop for canned pumpkin is produced.

Provided | Arch Grants

The St. Louis business incubator founded to attract and keep entrepreneurs in the region seems to be delivering on its premise. The majority of Arch Grant recipients are staying in St. Louis after the year-long requirement that is a condition of the $50,000 grant.

One of the buildings of U.S. Steel's campus in Granite City, where production has been idled since around the end of 2015.
File photo | Davd Schaper|NPR

Updated at 1 p.m., November 24, 2015, to include comments from a union representative: Dave Dowling, the sub district director for the United Steelworkers union, says he doesn't expect to know the date of the plant's idling for about two weeks.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

An 86-mile stretch of levees along the Mississippi River was a source of hand-wringing from Alton to Columbia, Illinois, back in 2007. Now local officials speak with pride about the work to improve the levee system.

The teen area of the newly renovated Indian Trails library branch, which is reopening on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015.
Provided | St. Louis County Library

Some St. Louis County library patrons may soon have to temporarily switch branches. The library system is in the process of opening or re-opening six locations while closing another five for renovations.

East St. Louis officials gather for a press conference in the mayor's office Nov. 20, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

East St. Louis officials are looking to the state and the banks to avoid having to ask city employees to work without pay in January. At a news conference convened by the mayor Friday evening, City Manager Alvin Parks said “there is a distinct possibility” of payless paydays after Dec. 30.

(Maria Altman|St. Louis Public Radio)

When the Starbucks in Ferguson opens in the spring, it will be more than a new coffee place. Getting a Starbucks is a big deal for the small city that saw several businesses go up in flames in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in 2014. " There’s probably that belief in some people’s minds that people would be hesitant to make an investment along West Florissant or an investment in north county," said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles. "The fact that Starbucks has stepped up to do that, we’re...

Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 1:45 p.m., Nov. 16 with revised Illinois proposal - Metro East officials are sweetening their offer to attract a federal spy agency and its roughly 3,000 workers. St. Clair County officials said Monday that they are adding 200 acres to its proposal for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Athrasher | Flickr

St. Louis area banks are becoming more accessible to low-income and minority neighborhoods. That’s according to a new report released by the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance. In a survey of 23 banks, the alliance found that St. Louis banks have added at least seven branches in low-income or minority neighborhoods in the past three years. The banks have also made at least $2.4 billion in development loans and investments since 2012, earmarked for people and communities that don’t have much money.

Arch Grants Blue logo
Provided | Arch Grants

Eleven more startups are receiving Arch Grants Thursday. In exchange for locating in St. Louis, the businesses will receive $50,000 and a year of support in areas ranging from accounting to marketing. Some companies receiving the grants are already located in St. Louis, such as the recent Washington University and Saint Louis University graduates behind Chrona Sleep. Other companies are relocating, including two international companies.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“How do you define development?” questioned Richard Baron, the Chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based for-profit community developer McCormack Baron Salazar, on Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air.” “It’s often perceived as being a project of restoring the Kiel, building a new stadium, doing a new mall,” Baron told host Don Marsh. “… But the basic infrastructure of the city in terms of the school system, public infrastructure and transportation systems, those kinds of things are not often thought...

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