Economy & Innovation

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

#FergusonRebuild, Cathy's Kitchen
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s Secretary of State has begun a new initiative to help businesses in the Ferguson area get back on their feet.

Jason Kander, a Democrat, is donating $25,000 from his campaign fund to kick off #FergusonRebuild. He said the campaign will also seek donations through the crowdfunding site, GoFundMe.com.

Geneva Moran moved into National Church Residences this summer. She said she's had a great experience, even though the facility was often mired in controversy.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday afternoon, residents of a newly-minted senior living facility in south St. Louis County were ready for a party.

After officially opening in June, officials with the South County Chamber of Commerce helped cut the ribbon on National Church Residences Telegraph Road.  Inside a room with shiny wooden floors and hip artwork and decor, the $5.2 million building was officially welcomed into the unincorporated St. Louis County township of Oakville.

Jerome Jenkins business, Ferguson
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

A private relief fund for businesses affected by the looting and violence in Ferguson will be announced Thursday.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander will be in Ferguson Thursday morning for the announcement of #FergusonRebuild. The initiative is in partnership with the Regional Business Council and North County Incorporated.

The non-governmental grants will help businesses in Ferguson, Dellwood and Jennings.

Swiish Bar and Grill
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The owners of Swiish Bar and Grill in Jennings didn’t suffer broken glass or looting during the unrest following Michael Brown’s death, but they still took a big loss.

That’s because state and local law enforcement ordered the business closed so that the police command center could be staged just outside the bar. Swiish Bar and Grill at 8021 West Florissant Ave., is just down the street from where protests were taking place in Ferguson. It remained closed for 17 days.

Eads Wide View Over the Mississippi
Metro Transit

The massive rehabilitation of the landmark Eads Bridge should be complete by early 2016. Officials say they are at the half-way point and the $40 million project remains on budget.

Crews have been blasting away at 140 years of paint and corrosion on the span over the Mississippi River linking St. Louis and East St. Louis.

"So much of it that I will tell you it looks brand new," said John Nations, president of the Bi-State Development Agency, which operates Metro Transit and is overseeing bridge maintenance.

former MetLife/Sigma site with 101 acres
courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

If you’ve got an opinion on where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency should move, or shouldn’t move, now is the time to speak up.

The secretive federal agency is looking at four sites around the St. Louis metropolitan area as it plans a move from its current historic campus south of downtown. A public comment period began this week and will run until January 19, including three public hearings.

(Courtesy Zimmerman Campaign)

The tax status of a high-end retirement home in Kirkwood is no longer in limbo. St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman announced Friday that he has reached a settlement with Ashfield Active Living & Wellness Communities, which owns Aberdeen Heights.

The assessor’s office and the retirement home operator have agreed that 78.8 percent of Aberdeen Heights will be taxed—netting about $1 million a year for schools, fire departments and public works.

Zimmerman said $700,000 to $800,000 of that will go to schools.

Sign painted on boarded-up window on South Grand
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Around 100 youth started new jobs this week as part of the Emerson funded, “Ferguson Forward Program.” Announced in September, "Ferguson Forward" will support early childhood education, business development, scholarships for students and youth job training.

Ameren's solar energy center in O'Fallon.
Ameren Missouri

 Updated 12/4/14

Ameren's solar energy center in O'Fallon is now in service. The 19-acre operation includes 19,000 solar panels and is currently generating six megawatts of power to the company's electrical grid.

Max Starkloff
Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum

In 1959, at age 21, Max Starkloff broke his neck in a car accident, becoming a quadriplegic.

“I think most people see disability as the worst thing that could ever happen to you and that it’s the end of your life,” said Colleen Starkloff, his widow and co-director of the Starkloff Disability Institute. “When I met Max, I realized it was the beginning of life.”

Max Starkloff, who died in 2010, became an advocate for people with disabilities.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis at Locust St. and N. Broadway, circa 1924-1925 just after the building went up.
Courtesy of the St. Louis Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis celebrates its centennial anniversary this year.

St. Louis was one of 12 Reserve Banks that opened for business on November 16, 1914. They were all part of the Federal Reserve System created when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law in December 1913.

The Fashions R Boutique was one of 13 businesses in Dellwood that burned down during Monday's riots following the announcement of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Echoing the mayor of neighboring city Ferguson, the mayor of Dellwood is adding his voice to the criticism of Gov. Jay Nixon and demanding answers in the aftermath of Monday's riots.

Mayor Reggie Jones said Dellwood was promised its business district would be protected by National Guard troopers, but he said "they failed to arrive."

While Ferguson has "gotten more attention," Jones said, his city saw the most damage and he wants to make sure his city also gets the resources it needs to recover. 

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has directed the city’s Affordable Housing Commission to set aside an additional $1 million for its Home Repair Program.

The commission has already authorized more than $2.4 million from its Housing Trust Fund  to assist nearly 900 income-qualified applicants to  keep their aging homes safe and livable. 

According to a statement from the mayor’s office, the additional allotment will be prioritized for nearly 1,900 homeowners to finish needed work.

roast turkey
M.Rehemtulla | Flickr

Missourians will spend more money on their Thanksgiving Day meals than the average American, according to data gathered by the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Based on this year's survey, it costs $50.52 in Missouri to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people, or $5.05 a person, that contains the following:

Businesses along South Florissant Road continued to board up windows Tuesday afternoon.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Business owners in Ferguson are asking why the Missouri National Guard didn’t do more to protect their property Monday night.

At least a dozen small businesses along West Florissant Avenue and South Florissant Road were looted and set on fire within hours of the grand jury’s announcement. That includes Sam’s Meat Market, the store that served as a backdrop for press conference last week where business owners pleaded for peaceful protests.

CityArchRiver says water features allow for play but can be turned on or off, opening up more room for other activities. The fountains will be lit and can change colors for events and celebrations.
CityArchRiver

If there’s a sports-related rally, a festival, even a gathering of protesters or an outdoor civic event in the city, chances are that it will happen in downtown’s Kiener Plaza. In the view of some, Kiener works just fine as it is.

But what if:

Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a "green energy" law passed by Missouri voters in 2008 are in court seeking to reinstate one of the statute's key provisions – rebates to individuals and companies that use solar panels to power their homes and businesses.

Proposition C requires for-profit utility companies to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by the year 2021, but it also bars utilities from raising their rates by more than 1 percent to comply with the voter-approved law. Rebates on solar panel use is one of the methods for increasing renewable energy in Missouri.

big data
Via Monsanto

Monsanto’s subsidiary Climate Corporation, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and several other agribusiness companies and farm groups have reached an agreement on big data.

The group had been meeting for months as more and more farmers begin to use data services to help them get the most of their fields. Climate Corporation, for example, uses figures about previous crop yields, soil information and weather data to help farmers make decisions about when to plant, fertilize and harvest.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Where are the women in St. Louis’ startup scene?

It’s a question many began asking following a 2011 American Express OPEN report that ranked St. Louis last among 25 top metropolitan areas for women entrepreneurs. That same year the Kauffman Foundation released a study on overcoming the gender gap within entrepreneurship.

(courtesy Startup Connection)

The St. Louis entrepreneurial community will be on display at this year's Startup Connection at Saint Louis University on Wednesday.

The business competition and resource fair will highlight 70 startups through its venture showcase, including a session where the entrepreneurs will give elevator pitches to compete for funding.

Nineteen of the startups are vying for three Startup Challenge Awards worth a total of  $100,000. The other 51 ventures will be competing for smaller awards.

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