Economy & Innovation

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

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis is a step closer to getting a $20 million loan to help it buy land at the proposed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site on the north side.

The Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee voted for the measure 5- 4 on Friday. Yet some committee members expressed concern about paying the area’s largest land owner, developer Paul McKee, for the property.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

A new bridge over the Missouri River is opening Monday morning, underscoring how much St. Louis and St. Charles Counties have grown together over the past three decades.

State and local officials gathered Thursday to cut a ceremonial ribbon on the new eastbound span of the I-64 Daniel Boone Bridge.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann told an audience of about 50 people that the bridge is the 7th river crossing built between the two counties in the last 37 years.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Developer Paul McKee of St. Louis is losing control of another project.

A federal judge has ordered that a receiver be put in charge of McKee’s Three Springs at Shiloh development in St. Clair County, Illinois.

The 193-acre development was supposed to include a mix of retail, office and residential buildings in Shiloh. The site has mostly sat empty.

File photo of Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:25 am June 25, 2015 with details of St. Louis area job cuts and comment from Mercy Health President and CEO 

Mercy Health says it has eliminated 126 positions in the St. Louis area.

The reductions are part of a previous announcement to cut nearly 350 jobs system-wide.

The Chesterfield-based health care provider has operations in several states including Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Caleres Logo
Courtesy of Caleres

When it comes to a successful company, having a significant brand is essential to generating business. It is often a key factor in setting one business apart from another.

After 137 years, the historic Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis changed its name to Caleres. With the help of Brian Collins, executive creative director and founder of Collins, a brand consultancy company, Caleres decided to rebrand itself with new ambitions in mind.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis is estimating it will cost $130 million to bring the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to the north side.

The figure was released Wednesday during a meeting of the Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee. That money would come primarily from city and state sources, although those were not made public.

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:30 pm June 24, 2015 with comments from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant

The chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Monsanto says the company is still committed to putting together a deal to acquire a European agricultural chemical manufacturer.

Interest in Syngenta remains high, but Hugh Grant has told analysts on Wednesday that Monsanto is keeping options option in case a deal is not reached.

"This isn’t something we’re gonna turn into an epic struggle," he stated during the company's quarterly earnings conference call.

Our previous story from June 23, 2015:

The chairman of Syngenta is laying out the general terms for any possible acquisition by St. Louis-based Monsanto.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The ride-sharing service UberX has yet to persuade local regulators why its drivers don’t need government background checks and drug tests to begin offering rides in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Metropolitan Taxicab Commissioners met Tuesday to consider the pros and cons of revising its vehicle-for-hire code to permit UberX and other such transportation network companies (TNC).

About two dozen people attended the meeting to show their support or opposition including representatives from the local taxi companies and independent entrepreneurs.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Several of Paul McKee’s properties within the proposed footprint of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency were sold at auction on Tuesday.

The company that put the 46 parcels on the auction block - Titan Fish Two - had the winning bid of $3.2 million. It’s the same company that filed suit against McKee’s Northside Regeneration in April, claiming it’s owed more than $17 million over defaulted loans.

(image from GEO St. Louis)

The city of St. Louis is considering taking out a loan of up to $20 million to help buy land for the proposed north city site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

bill, sponsored by 5th Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, outlines how the city would use three buildings as collateral for the loan. The bill was introduced to the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

(via Flickr/iChaz)

Regions Bank is now offering free financial counseling in north St. Louis County through a partnership with a national non-profit called Operation Hope.

Operation Hope counselor Bonita Williams says it will help anyone who asks improve their credit score, become more financially stable and work towards goals like buying a home or starting a business—no strings attached.

Supporters of a city minimum wage hike sit through a hearing of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ efforts to raise the minimum wage of $7.65 have sparked a host of questions. One of the biggest is whether St. Louis County would follow suit. It's a pressing concern because some businesses have said they would move to the county if the city approves Alderman Shane Cohn's bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has now provided a definitive answer to that question: No.

St. Louis Regional Chamber president Joe Reagan discusses the new 'Take Pride in St. Louis' campaign.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

A new media campaign launched by the nonprofit St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation on Thursday is encouraging St. Louisans to tell their "positive and authentic" stories about the region on social media.

The "Take Pride in St. Louis" campaign features a website where people can share their stories, as well as broadcast and print ads of St. Louis celebrities like Bob Costas, Joe Buck and Jackie Joyner-Kersee extolling the region's virtues.

Eleven businesses have been named recipients in the latest round of the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition.

The $50,000 grants are equity-free. The entrepreneurs will also receive support services from Arch Grants and its donors.

Executive Director Ginger Imster said this round includes a mix of tech, consumer products and even manufacturing.

"That is so essential to our regional economy," she said. "We want to always be seeding a diversified regional economy."

Of the 11 startups, Imster said 80 percent are minority or women-led: 

Paul McKee, NGA
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis wants the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to relocate to the north side of the city. In order to make it a viable option, the city is hustling to buy all 100 acres in the proposed footprint just north of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing project site.

Yet more than half of the property is owned by developer Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration, which received significant state tax subsidization to acquire the land.

Fast food workers prepare to march around a McDonalds restaurant, taking part in a massive one day fast food industry strike demanding higher wages in St. Louis on December 5, 2013.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Allan Katz has a pretty good idea of what St. Louisans should expect when the debate over raising the minimum wage begins in earnest.

National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, NGA
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis officials are working hard to convince the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to stay in the city. But property owners in the blocks being offered as a site for the NGA have mixed feelings.

Artist rendering of the proposed Loop Trolley stop in front of the Delmar MetroLink Station.
courtesy Loop Trollety Transportation Development District / Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

Traffic on three blocks of Delmar Blvd. is being diverted to the road’s westbound lanes beginning Monday in order to start laying tracks for the Loop Trolley.

While construction is underway between Kingsland Ave. and Melville Ave. there will be no street parking on that stretch of Delmar.

Low-income customers' dollars will get twice the value on money spent on fruits and vegetables at several local farmers markets.
Courtesy SNAP 2 It! Program, via St. Louis Farmers Market Association

A new program at several local farmers markets will give low-income customers double the value for money spent on fruits and vegetables.

Mary Jo Gorman, lead managing partner of Prosper Capital (left) and Cindy Teasdale McGowan (right), founder of Makaboo Personalized Gifts and a lead mentor with Prosper.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has hosted a healthy, burgeoning startup community for some years and the strong showing of small tech businesses has drawn particular attention, leading some to call St. Louis the “next Silicon Valley.” With a healthy network in place to support new companies, community leaders and entrepreneurs are now working to increase diversity within St. Louis’ startup culture.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Peabody Energy is cutting about 250 corporate and regional positions.

The St. Louis-based company’s President and CEO Glenn Kellow made the announcement on Monday. The company expects to save $40- 45 million annually after the cuts go into effect.

"While we regret the impact that these actions have on employees, their families and communities, today’s announcement represents another necessary step to drive the company lower on the cost curve," said Kellow in a statement.

Harley Spiller's coin collection
Alex Heuer

Do you know whose portrait appears on the $10,000 bill? Or, how about the $100,000 bill?

Although they’re no longer produced by the Federal Reserve, President Woodrow Wilson’s face is on the $100,000 bill and it was only circulated internally within the federal government.

St. Louis-based World Wide Technology has acquired local software company Asynchrony.

WWT is a systems integrator that has 3,500 employees and had nearly $7 billion in revenue last year. Asynchrony, which is based in downtown St. Louis, has about 250 employees and will do about $40 million in revenue this year.

WWT Chief Financial Officer Tom Strunk says over the last five years his company has been investing to help simplify customers’ technology infrastructure.

Chris Krehmeyer
Provided by Beyond Housing

If you ask many St. Louisans what they like about the region, many will cite that its cost of living is a big plus. Housing in St. Louis is generally believed to be affordable — but not for all.

Build STL Hackathon organizer Jonathon Leek loads up a project presentation on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at the 555 Building downtown.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Put coders and data experts together in a room, add in a desire to make St. Louis a better place, and hold for 48 hours. What do you get? Five altruistic apps and websites that are closer to becoming a reality.

OpenDataSTL, a tech-savvy group with a mission to make data more accessible, put on their second annual “Make St. Louis Better” hackathon this weekend at the 555 Building in downtown St. Louis.

Hazelwood Logistics Center, Paul McKee
(MARIA ALTMAN, ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO/MAPBOX, OPENSTREETMAP)

Paul McKee’s Hazelwood Logistics Center now belongs to a Kansas City company.

NP Hazelwood 140 held an auction Friday of all of Hazelwood Logistics Center’s assets and land, then entered the only bid of $9.2 million.

St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt says the Contractor Loan Fund is a potential game-changer for diversity in St. Louis construction at a news conference announcing the fund Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at Cortex.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Minority and women contractors who can’t get traditional loans to expand their business in St. Louis have a new resource at their disposal: the Contractors Loan Fund.

Certified minority and women-owned business enterprises will be able to apply for a loan of up to $1 million from the fund, which has a pool of $10 million.

A major closure off the Poplar Street Bridge will affect downtown traffic.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation

Some drivers headed into downtown St. Louis are in for a complicated route beginning this weekend.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is closing the westbound Poplar Street Bridge ramp leading to Interstate 55/44 south for a month, starting Thursday night.

Paul McKee pays property taxes, Paul McKee, property taxes
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee has paid his tax bill to the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio reported in April that McKee's company, Northside Regeneration, had failed to pay more than $750,000 in real estate property taxes for 2013 and 2014. The company owns more than 2,000 parcels on the city's north side.

Missouri Technology Corporation, startups
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon is thanking state lawmakers... at least for the funds they appropriated for the Missouri Technology Corporation.

The Democrat was in St. Louis Wednesday touting the nearly $16 million the Republican-controlled legislature included for MTC in the budget passed last week. MTC provides early-stage capital to both entrepreneurs and startups.

"When MTC gives an investment everyone knows that it’s smart and effective, and the legislature going along with us to make more resources available is important," Nixon said.

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