Economy & Innovation

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

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis soon could begin using the eminent domain process against land owners within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on the city's north side.

Members of the aldermanic Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee voted 8-1 on Wednesday for a resolution that listed 37 property owners who could be forced to sell their land to the city. The resolution is  expected to go before the full board on Friday.

A row of small flats in Glasgow Village, an unincorporated community in north St. Louis County.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Owners of rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County will have to register with the county — and potentially face closer governmental scrutiny.

But critics say they’re planning to go to court over legislation that they contend is overly burdensome against poor and minority tenants.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

International accounting firm KPMG looked at cities all over the United States and landed on St. Louis for its information tech expansion.

The company already has an office in downtown St. Louis with 270 employees. Over the next three years, it plans to add 175 IT positions, the company announced at a press conference today.

Karen Vangyia, the managing partner of the local office, said St. Louis is one of the fastest growing markets for technology jobs. She pointed to computer science programs at several local universities and the availability of professionals.

(Flickr/Laurence Livermore)

BioSTL has grabbed a $500,000 grant from the Small Business Administration.

It was one of just three Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative grants the SBA is giving out nationally and is meant to spur small business growth.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Mississippi River basin got its first-ever report card from the America’s Watershed Initiative ... and it was nothing to write home about.

The overall grade is D+.

After rejecting a number of earlier offers, British-based beer company SABMiller accepted in principle a 69 billion British pound ($106 billion) offer from Budweiser brewer Anheuser Busch InBev.

If Tuesday's agreement is finalized, the new beer company will be the largest in the world and control two top U.S. brands in Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft, according to The Associated Press.

Fashions R Boutique owner Juanita Morris sets out merchandise in her new Florissant location, after her original store burned in the riots following the Darren Wilson grand jury decision in November 2014.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

When riots broke out in Ferguson and Dellwood last year following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown-Darren Wilson case, Juanita Morris' business of 28 years burned to the ground.

In one night, Morris lost the building that housed Fashions R Boutique and almost all of her inventory. But she vowed to rebuild, even in the face of what she called “some dark days.”

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District

A study of four possible sites for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s relocation is out, and the city of St.Louis is very much in the running.

(You can read the 468 page report here.)

The NGA is planning to move from its current location south of downtown St. Louis and build a new $1.6 billion facility.

Saturday evening at a Schnucks in Des Peres.
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

The retail grocery industry in the St. Louis region and throughout the country is more competitive than ever.

Local chains that have been around for decades are adapting to customer expectations as they face increasing pressure from big-name national stores and even discount outlets.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

If you don’t know Robert Reich from his term as the 22nd U.S. Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration, perhaps you’ve heard his commentaries on “Marketplace.” The economist and scholar has written fifteen books on the state of the American economy and recently released his sixteenth, “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.”

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto announced Wednesday it would shed 2,600 employees in the next 18 to 24 months as the company deals with declining seed sales.

The seed giant reported a $495 million loss, or about $1.06 per share, for its fiscal fourth quarter.

It’s not clear how many jobs will be affected at its Creve Coeur-based headquarters. The cuts represent about 12 percent of Monsanto’s workforce, and spokeswoman Sara Miller said they will take place globally across all functions.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The coal industry has hit hard times.

This summer several coal companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, is not immune. The coal giant’s share price has fallen nearly 97 percent in the last five years. The company recently did a reverse stock split, bundling 15 shares into one in order to avoid share prices going below $1.

Peabody Energy spokesman Vic Svec said as a commodity business, they’re used to the volatility.

(courtesy Cortex/Chris Cross)

A little more West Coast is moving into St. Louis.

The music streaming company Pandora opened an office inside Cortex, St. Louis’ innovation district, on Monday.

"Pandora came looking for us," said Dougan Sherwood, co-founder and managing director of CIC St. Louis, which is housed in the @4240 building.

Sherwood said officials with Pandora, which is based in Oakland, Calif., wanted to replicate the culture they have at their headquarters.

Brian Rohlfing is co-founder of Watchdog Creative, the company behind the Stop Harassing Me Now app.
Watchdog Creative | provided

A new anti-bullying app available on Google Play is the brain child of a handful of St. Louis dads. The Stop Harassing Me Now app, which is also designed to combat domestic violence, records flagged calls and texts and stores them in a secure database in case they are needed as evidence.

Left: Audience members at an Ameren employee diversity festival clap when Ameren's $2.5 million donation is announced on Sat. Oct. 3, 2015 in St. Louis. Right: Rev. Earl Nance Jr. of Heat Up St. Louis shakes hands with Ameren CEO Warner Baxter.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

​Updated at 10 a.m. Oct. 4 with more detail on recipients - Ameren Corporation has pledged $2.5 million dollars to programs that support the Ferguson Commission’s priorities to reduce poverty and improve educational opportunities in St. Louis. The commission’s other priorities include justice and racial equity.

Ameren announced the funding Saturday during an employee festival celebrating diversity.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Five public schools in Missouri will have their cyber security measures reviewed as part of an initiative announced Wednesday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

She told reporters that more than 250 K-12 schools nationwide have suffered data breaches over the past 10 years. One of those was the Park Hill district in Platte County, near Kansas City, which is among the five being audited.

(U.S. Federal Reserve Board)

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen made opening remarks Wednesday at the Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Yellen’s speech did not touch on monetary policy.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Tomorrow’s long-awaited opening of Ikea has some “St. Louis on the Air” Twitter followers already prepping for a lengthened commute. 

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Ikea's newest blue and yellow box store that opens Wednesday on Vandeventer Avenue in St. Louis is the biggest sign yet of a building boom that’s transforming what was once a relatively sparse neighborhood into a bustling part of town.

As of right now, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger effectively has a five-person coalition on the St. Louis County Council — including its two Republican members.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council could hold a final vote tomorrow on legislation requiring landlords of rental properties in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses. The stated intent is to ensure proper maintenance of the buildings.

But the bill is receiving pushback from landlords and some housing advocates who contend the measure is too burdensome -- and could produce unintended consequences, including potential for discrimination.

A sign greets visitors to the main entrance of the Ikea store at Vandeventer Avenue and Forest Park Avenue opening 9 a.m. Sept. 30. The 380,000 square-foot store is the Swedish company's 41st U.S. location.
Nassim Benchaabane

The city of St. Louis may use its power of eminent domain against developer Paul McKee and 18 other land owners in its bid to retain the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

A resolution will be introduced to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday to allow the legal process to begin.

houses for sale, housing market
(Flickr, Tom Caswell)

A new economic report offers some good news for St. Louis... and some just okay news.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis released its third-quarter St. Louis Burgundy Book on Tuesday. While the housing market in St. Louis is on a definite upswing, the labor market lags behind the U.S. labor market.

Wayne Crosslin | International Institute of St. Louis

The immigrant population in the St. Louis region has been declining in recent years.

The U.S. Census released 2014 numbers on Thursday. In St. Louis’ metropolitan statistical area it showed an estimated loss of about 10,000 foreign-born residents between 2011 and 2014.

Flickr | DIGITIZEDCHAOS

St. Charles County remains the fastest growing county in the St. Louis region, according to U.S. census data released Thursday.

New numbers from the 2014 American Community Survey show that the population of St. Charles County has grown by about 5 percent since 2010, from an estimated 361,602 to an estimated 379,493.

Demographics analyst and Saint Louis University professor Ness Sandoval points to the county’s relatively low cost of living as the cause of the growth.

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center)

GMOs -- genetically modified organisms -- are not exactly a controversial subject at the Ag Innovation Showcase.

The three-day annual event is the place where the agriculture industry comes together to talk about new trends and startups to present to potential investors.

Yet this week at the seventh annual showcase at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, there was also discussion around how people outside of agriculture view the technology. The auditorium was packed for a panel discussion called "Transparency Without Prejudice--Bridging the GMO Divide."

Anheuser-Busch InBev Logo
AB InBev

Analysts are predicting a portion of SABMiller would likely have to be divested if a deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev comes to fruition.

The world’s two largest brewers are exploring the possibility of a combined company, which some industry observers believe would be valued around $250 billion.

From left to right: Dan Lovings, Phillip Johnson, and Andy Krumsieg.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Crumbling homes, missing bricks, dangerous streets, and crushing poverty — these details make up the overwhelming narrative of north St. Louis often offered by national media, local media and popular perception.

But Dan Lovings, a longtime St. Louis resident, moved to north St. Louis with the intention of owning and putting money into a house there. He meant to build a good home, increase property values, and join and contribute to the neighborhood. But to do so, he found, would require some individual initiative.

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.)

The Ag Innovation Showcase began on Monday at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. In its seventh year, the three-day event includes panel discussions on trends in agriculture and technology and gives startups a chance to find investors and partners. 

This year, 19 early stage companies will present to possible investors. Those companies are focused on precision agriculture, renewables and sustainables, biological solutions and farming innovations.

Flickr | DIGITIZEDCHAOS

Hanging on to more international students they graduate from university could help large companies grow in St. Louis, but an obstacle course of legal and cultural hurdles often stand in the way.

That’s a key takeaway from a new report from researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an organization that aims to make the region the fastest growing metro area for immigrants by 2020.

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