Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 9, 2008 - How will Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders be impacted?

Existing shareholders of Fannie and Freddie would lose out as the Treasury is unlikely to support the two firms to benefit the existing shareholders. The current proposal does not wipe out existing equity, but government will get paid before the shareholders see any money. So for these shareholders to make money on their investment, the housing market has to recover drastically.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 8, 2008 -  The slow St. Louis area housing market won't immediately get better -- or worse -- with the federal government's takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but more loan money could eventually become available, say local analysts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008 - As they worked to fill the day's orders, the women of the One World Cafe punched out pita wheels and rolled coconut macaroons. The cafe is one of St. Louis' "social enterprises" -- businesses run by or through social service agencies and non-profits to further their mission while making money. In this case, the One World Cafe does catering jobs while teaching job skills to immigrant women and female ex-offenders.

Commentary: Diversity makes good business sense

Sep 1, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 1, 2008 - Many people think that diversity in the business world is solely a numbers game. It can be thought of that way, but a program that only looks at numbers usually fails. The first step is to define your terms. What do you mean by diversity? It is often helpful to have a broad definition, which can be broken down to focus on specific areas. For example, if you define diversity as “all the ways in which we differ,” you will need to then provide specifics that are relevant for your group.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 28, 2008 - As Grand Center has picked up steam, unveiling ever more outlets for the arts - particularly since the new millennium, thanks to the Contemporary Art Museum and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts - any naysayers or nitpickers have been largely silenced. Except that, to this day, what has seemed missing was no longer the grandeur of the endeavor, but a centering force behind it. There has never been a flagship building or venue to cohere the district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 22, 2008 - The deal hasn't been signed yet, but already beer industry experts are predicting that InBev's takeover of Anheuser-Busch will provoke more mergers and acquisitions in a rapidly consolidating industry.

"The targets are obvious," says Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer's Insights, of Nyack, N.Y., which conducts research and publishes reports about the industry. "It's a question of whether they can do it."

Architect J. Robert Green tore down walls to open the space in his bungalow. The kitchen, in which he's standing, is filled with his artwork. The deck and landscaping in the back gives that area a modern feel.
Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 22, 2008 - About 20 years after he remodeled his childhood home in Brentwood, architect J. Robert Green still enthusiastically shows off the property he inherited. He enjoys having visitors pull up to his modest, one-story brick bungalow and seeing their expectations of a quaint interior shattered after stepping inside.

Harmony is more than a product at Wicks Organ Co.

Aug 20, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 20, 2008 - To the 60 workers at Wicks Organ Co. in Highland, Ill., the shrill hum of the factory equals harmony, not just noise.

And the harmony is personal. Wicks employees refer to their co-workers as family members. The sounds that go with building a pipe organ from scratch represent vocational stability and homey working conditions. Sometimes, this stability lasts more than half a century.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 20, 2008 - Hotel developer Charles Drury and associates gave the public on Tuesday an early glimpse of their still-evolving proposal for two 16-story hotels overlooking Forest Park along Kingshighway, just south of the newly opened Kingshighway and Interstate 64 interchange.

The approximately $100 million hotel project would be the largest in terms of size and expense for Drury Development Corp. since the family-owned business built its first hotel in Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 1969.

Budget cuts hit year of Lincoln celebrations

Aug 20, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 20, 2008 - Illinois' ongoing budget problems have spilled over into the much-anticipated events to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday.

This summer, Gov. Rod Blagojevich slashed the budget for the state's historic sites by 50 percent, or $2.8 million. The cuts forced the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to lay off 80 seasonal workers and to trim the operating hours at five Springfield-area historic sites, said spokesman Dave Blanchette.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 18, 2008 - A new online "Foreclosure Resource Center" launched by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is aimed at financially troubled homeowners, but it also offers useful consumer advice for people who aren't in danger of losing their homes.

For example, a link titled "You May Be Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage" offers four scenarios that could prompt a borrower with a good credit history to refinance or shop around for a better deal on a loan. A section on bank-related complaints includes directions for filing complaints against financial institutions and answers to commonly asked questions about credit and loans.

Photo by Jeff Parker

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 15, 2008 - Yes indeed, I really am a member in good standing of the Vacuum Cleaner Collectors' Club (VCCC).

And, yes, I did just return to St. Louis from our five-day annual convention. This year it was in Canton, Ohio.

Commentary: Smoke 'em if you got the password

Aug 14, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 14, 2008 - They say people can get used to anything, and a smoking ban is no exception.

The Smoke Free Illinois Act has been in effect for eight months, and by all accounts the effects have been mixed. Casino operators claim a 17 percent loss in revenue since the ban went into effect, but, in general, concerns that the law would drive tavern keepers out of business have not panned out. The regulars have not picked up their smokes and fled to Missouri pubs, nor opted to drink at home alone. Instead, they have moved outdoors -- at least 15 feet outdoors, according to the new law. Metro East biergartens have turned into zigarettengartens, now virtually off-limits to patrons unwilling to breathe in great clouds of second-hand smoke.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 12, 2008 - Controversial securities marketed by Wachovia Corp.'s St. Louis-based brokerage unit could cost the banking giant $500 million in legal settlements.

The company has set aside $500 million, before taxes, in reserves to cover "active settlement negotiations" with state regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission over its selling of auction-rate securities, Wachovia said in a document filed with the SEC Monday just as the markets were closing.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 11, 2008 - Sure as the season itself, students heading back to college this fall will be seeking a record burden of loans to finance their studies. Before they crack a book, many are in for a rude lesson in economics: The sun has emphatically set on the good old days of easy money.

An enormous vacant lot has not inspired confidence that Ballpark Village will be the economic boost that was promised. 2008 300 pixels wide
Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 -  It's been a long and winding road to Ballpark Village, with still many miles to go. Eight years ago when the Cardinals owners first floated the idea of a new stadium, Ballpark Village was the carrot to win over a wary public. There was strong resistance to public assistance for a new stadium, and the Village offered the promise of a true economic boost to downtown.

After years of delays and frustrations, the owners announced a tentative new start, planting hope that the big dirt patch next to the stadium may prove fertile development ground after all.

Commentary: Making the case for mass transit

Aug 1, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 1, 2008 - On the final day of July, Metro held a “Transit Summit” at Washington University. While there was nearly unanimous support expressed for the St. Louis County Transit Tax measure to be considered at the November election, other items also received well deserved consideration.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 31, 2008 - There was no cake, but St. Louis area leaders celebrated MetroLink's 15th anniversary Thursday morning with a big birthday wish -- that voters approve in November a measure that would infuse the system with cash.

St. Louis companies look to go green with clean tech

Jul 31, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2008 - Tim Gray considers himself to be an environmentalist, one who believes that being "green" is good for business as well as for the environment.

"I think helping people to be more green, by saving them money, is a very powerful way to help change the country for the better," says Gray, who as chief executive of St. Louis-based Waste Remedies LLC helps his clients cut waste.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 31, 2008 - A marathon foreclosure counseling session this weekend hosted by Better Family Life, a St. Louis nonprofit, is expected to serve several hundred distressed homeowners in 24 hours, said Maurice Washington, director of the agency's housing program.

And in a sad sign of the times, Washington noted that the event might qualify for a Guinness World Record as the first marathon counseling session of its type.

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