Economic Development | St. Louis Public Radio

Economic Development

James Hillis uses geospatial technology to figure out where his company should plot more urban gardens to reduce food insecurity in north St. Louis. May 29, 2019
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Inside Good Life Growing’s newest urban garden, co-founder James Hillis is using an iPad to pull up maps of the city. The urban agriculture organization is trying to reduce food insecurity in north St. Louis, and mapping tools help him figure out where to plot new grow spaces.

Hillis’ maps look fairly simple, but they’re powered by Geographic Information Systems data that pulls in all kinds of factors about the local community.

Provided on 05-08-19
Evolution St. Louis

When consumers hear the words, “Made in the USA,” Jon Lewis wants them to think, “Made in St. Louis.”

That’s the broader mission of the construction of a new $5 million garment-manufacturing facility in St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood, which was announced at a media event on Thursday.

Lewis is the CEO of Evolution St. Louis, which he co-founded with fellow fashion veteran John Elmuccio. The 32,000-square-foot facility will bring in more than 50 jobs over the next three years.

Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, speaks on the Senate floor Tuesday about his economic development legislation. The Senate passed Hough's bill after a 28 hour filibuster.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A nearly 28-hour filibuster of what is usually a simple procedural step ended Tuesday night with a big win for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.

Over the objection of a group of six Republicans, the state Senate approved a major economic development package that extended a tax credit for General Motors, which is considering a $750 million expansion of its plant in Wentzville. Also included is a program to fund training for adults in “high-need” jobs, and a deal-closing fund that allows for up-front tax breaks to companies considering expansion.

A group known as Better Together is proposing a plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County. They're planning to get the measure on the 2020 ballot.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The Better Together plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County was polarizing, but there was one aspect that many acknowledged would have been a big win for the region — a single vision for economic development.

Now the question for many economic development leaders is how to move forward with that vision with Better Together being put on hiatus this week.

Experts say that under the status quo, the regional economy has lagged for more than a decade, in part because economic development groups have spun in circles using tax incentives to compete for the same business.

<p><strong>Better Together-Style Merger In Indianapolis Created Winners And Losers</strong></p> <p>Backers of the ambitious plan to merge governments in St. Louis and St. Louis County have pointed to the success of Indianapolis which completed its own mer
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Backers of the ambitious plan to merge governments in St. Louis and St. Louis County have pointed to the success of Indianapolis, which completed its own merger 50 years ago. Since then, Indianapolis has been a Midwest success story, with a gleaming downtown, a business boom and steady regional population growth.

But the success of Indiana's capital was made possible by political maneuvers that allowed Republicans to gain the upper hand in Unigov, Indianapolis' version of merged government. Critics say the city's success largely came at the expense of black residents and Democratic voters.

Lee Broughton is a former vice president of global marketing for the Enterprise brands. He also is the founder of a small brand strategy firm known as the Broughton Brand Company.
STL Made

A grassroots effort is underway to build up the St. Louis region and then expand that unified message of pride to other areas of the country. A key goal is to make the area more competitive when it comes to attracting jobs, students and keeping people here after they graduate.

Building boom can be measured in number of cranes in the sky.
Chris Stritzel City Scene

St. Louis has had a banner year for construction in 2018. The number of building permits issued was up in 17 of the city's 28 wards. The value of new projects totals more than $1 billion, and dozens of projects are on the drawing board, or ready to break ground, in 2019.

Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County will start building a new hospital and seeing expanded commercial air service in 2019.

Both moves will create construction jobs and are expected to help the local economy.

Emerging trends in real estate report presented Dec. 5, 2018 at COrtex
photo credit | ULI and PwC

Members of the St. Louis real estate industry are celebrating a banner year and looking forward to 2019.

Developers, investors, builders and housing advocates gathered today for a presentation of the 2019 Emerging Trends in Real Estate survey, published annually by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC US.

Opening of the Metrolink station in the Cortex Innovation Center marked the first time for a privately funded transit project.
Bi-State Development

John Nations is stepping down after eight years as president and CEO of Bi-State Development — the agency that operates the Metrolink public transit system among other regional services.

Taulby Roach, a longtime transportation consultant for St. Clair County, is expected to succeed Nations as Bi-State’s next president and CEO, although the board has not made an official announcement.

SLDC launches town hall meetings on August 14, 2018
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Development Corporation has kicked off a campaign of town hall meetings aimed at improving its public image.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams on Tuesday told an audience at the LaunchCode headquarters on Delmar Boulevard, in the Fountain Park neighborhood, “We want to become more transparent.”

Gov. Mike Parson poses with organizers of the Best in Midwest and Talent for Tomorrow Summit on June 27 2018, where infrastructure and workforce development were top of the agenda.
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson outlined two priorities to drive the state’s economy during an appearance in St. Louis on Wednesday: workforce development and infrastructure.

The governor spoke at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center following an all-day summit convened to focus on the two issues. Parson urged the gathering of business and education officials from around the state to work together to prepare tomorrow’s workforce and to vote in November.

Members of the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress present a $900,000 check to provide job training opportunities for youth programs. The investment aims at improving public safety.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council will provide $900,000 dollars to several local organizations in an attempt to bolster public safety.

The announcement made Wednesday aims at increasing job training opportunities for at-risk youth in St. Louis. 

Five organizations will receive investments, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Better Family Life, Inc., STL Youth Jobs, The Little Bit Foundation and the North Side Community School. Each organization has programs aimed at young people for job training or education.

Mayor Lyda Krewson stands with community members at the announcement for the 2018 Clean Up campaign.  The program will kick off this month and will aim at cleaning up four neighborhoods in St. Louis.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

A volunteer effort to clean up north St. Louis neighborhoods is getting a big lift from local construction companies.

Better Family Life began the “Clean Sweep” program last summer to help pick up trash and help revitalize certain areas in the city and St. Louis County. The non-profit and the Regional Business Council announced on Tuesday this summer’s effort will include a dozen construction companies to knock down vacant buildings and pick up large debris.

BJC Healthcare is in middle of a large construction project employing a lot of workers.
file photo | Provided by BJC HealthCare

Developers seeking tax incentives from the city of St. Louis on public projects will soon need to show they’ve met thresholds for participation from minority- and female-owned contractors.

Pickup trucks and construction equipment crowd the lawn of the Illinois Executive Mansion and the block across the street.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, have raised the money for the $15 million mansion makeover, which is slated to be complete by the end of the summer. And the governor is eyeing the city-owned block, dubbed the “Y-block” for the YWCA that used to sit there, as an extension of that project.

Amazon shipping center in Edwardsville
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Retail giant Amazon will build its first Missouri distribution center in the St. Charles County town of St. Peters.

Amazon announced its plan to build the the 800,000-square-foot warehouse in a news release Wednesday. The company expects to hire about 1,500 workers.

Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the 2018 State of the State address in Jefferson City.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Gov. Eric Greitens talks often about growing jobs in Missouri.

It was one of the major themes in the Republican governor’s State of the State address last month. He told members of the state House and Senate that he would continue to focus on several areas to create jobs:

“Making sure that we have the right laws on the books to be fair to family businesses, and making strategic investments in education, infrastructure, and workforce development,” Greitens said.

Yet just a few days later, the governor proposed a roughly $68 million reduction for public colleges and universities. The suggested cuts to higher education for the second year in a row drew criticism almost immediately, including from Greiten’s own party.

Amazon is searching for a second corporate headquarters to go along with its operation in Seattle. The current headquarters campus in that city includes 33 buidlings covering 8.1 million square feet.
Amazon.com/pr

Updated Jan. 18 with Amazon decision — Amazon will not consider St. Louis as one of the 20 finalists for the company's new headquarters.

Amazon will consider Toronto, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta and Miami. Those cities beat 218 others for their finalist spots. The second headquarters will bring more than $5 billion in construction investment and more than 50,000 jobs to its eventual home city, according to a statement on Amazon's website.

Krewson: St. Louis putting together proposal to bring Amazon here

Sep 7, 2017
Amazon shipping center in Edwardsville
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says the region is planning to make a “competitive bid” to bring Amazon’s second headquarters here.

The company said Thursday that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees. It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be "a full equal" of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

The Fashion Incubator takes up 7,500 square-feet of a Washington Avenue building on what used to be known as Shoe Street USA.
File photo | Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Aug. 28 with resignation of Fashion Fund's executive director - The St. Louis Fashion Fund is looking for a new executive director. Eric Johnson has resigned after roughly a year-and-a-half on the job. A statement from the nonprofit says Johnson is leaving to pursue other entrepreneurial opportunities.

A bartender pours a beer at Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern on June 27, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The popularity of craft beer is helping urban neighborhoods throughout the country that had been written off, including some in the shadow of beer giant Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. Those who are heavily-involved in the city's beer scene hold up Urban Chestnut's foray into The Grove and Schlafly's opening in Maplewood as prime examples of how a brewery can become a key element of a community and lead to a revival.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 15 with comments from Gov. Greitens — Governor Eric Greitens says the Missouri Partnership will be funded.

The business recruiting arm of the state was expected to get $2.25 million in state funding, but Missouri legislators eliminated the line item completely in the budget for next fiscal year.

Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 15 with city's rejection of petition - A group of Clayton citizens is dealing with a setback in its effort to bring a massive expansion project directly to voters. The city has rejected a petition essentially calling for the more than $770-million Centene headquarters expansion to be put on the ballot.

Eric Friendman, the president of Friedman Group Realtors, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss an upcoming conference on "smart growth."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the idea of “smart growth” in the St. Louis region with organizers of an upcoming conference called the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

The conference was started in 1995 by the Environmental Protection Agency but has grown to include many other partners. This year, it will take place in St. Louis from Feb. 2-4. 

Members of the public and the city's Ways and Means committee listen as Nahuel Fefer, an economic policy assistant to Mayor Francis Slay, answers questions about a proposed sales tax increase on January 11, 2017
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The committee that handles budget issues for the city of St. Louis went to Cherokee Street Wednesday night to hear from members of the public about a proposed half-cent increase in the sales tax to fund economic development. 

Aldermen want to put the measure before voters in April. If approved, the tax would generate an additional $20 million a year.

The two dozen speakers were generally supportive of using some of the sales tax revenue to fund a partial north-south expansion of MetroLink. It's what else is, and isn't, in the bill that caused concern.

The proposed office building would be on the west end of Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals

Updated Dec. 19 with Greitens opposition to public stadium funding - The St. Louis Board of Aldermen considered millions of dollars in economic development incentives Friday, sending some to Mayor Francis Slay while setting others up for approval in the New Year.

At a meeting that stretched over three hours, aldermen gave final approval to $56 million in incentives for the second phase of Ballpark Village and to an agreement with Saint Louis University that gives the school control over the development around its planned new hospital.

provided | Cardinals

A St. Louis aldermanic committee approved a $56 million tax incentive package for Phase II of the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village on Wednesday in a meeting that also delved into larger economic development issues in the city.

Brian Ungles of Cushman & Wakefield announces expansion on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Hannah Westerman St. Louis Public Radio

Six hundred jobs are coming to St. Louis over the next four years.

Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield on Friday announced the company’s $17.4 million expansion. The firm has signed a lease for a new 90,000-square-foot office in Town and Country.

The firm already employs 900 people in the St. Louis area. Cushman & Wakefield have been in St. Louis for 90 years.

Brian Ungles, market leader for the company, said St. Louis is a great location for growth.

Emily Koplar - Wai Ming
Provided by St. Louis Fashion Incubator

Updated 11:48 a.m., Aug. 25 with inaugural class announcement -  A local designer is part of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator's first class. Emily Koplar is one of six people chosen to go through the two-year program aimed at supporting the businesses and boosting the city's fashion-related economy. She is founder of the Wai Ming women’s clothing line. Other members of the inaugural class are from the New York City area, Dallas and Chicago.

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