Good morning, MBA readers,
Clayco’s Bob Clark, who moved the headquarters of his design and construction firm to Chicago in 2013, has been in St. Louis this week with a few bones to pick about the area’s economic development infrastructure. His primary criticism was directed at the region’s various economic development agencies, which he says are inefficient, each with their own agenda. In a speech Tuesday morning, Clark pointed to some of these agencies — nine, by one count — as one possible reason why St. Louis was ranked just 46th on PwC’s list of U.S. markets to watch. During a panel discussion a day earlier, Clark opined that Chicago has 62 tower cranes compared to St. Louis’ single-digit count in part because “Their economic development people are in such lockstep.” Read on for more about the state of St. Louis economic development and the day’s other top stories.
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Creative Planning makes fourth acquisition this year
The Overland Park, Kansas-based wealth management firm acquired Milwaukee’s Hogan Financial Management, adding $300 million in assets under management. Creative Planning has added about $2.2 billion in assets through its four acquisitions this year. (Kansas City Business Journal)
KC-area development receives $200M in tax incentives
The Overland Park City Council approved $158.4 million in tax increment financing and $47 million in community improvement district financing for the Brookridge project, a $2 billion mixed-use redevelopment of a golf course property. (Shawnee Mission Post)
Judge rules maritime law doesn’t apply to duck boat case
A federal judge ruled the 1851 Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act doesn’t apply to the July 2018 sinking of a Duck Boat at Table Rock Lake that killed 17 passengers. The act would have capped damages at zero dollars. (Springfield News-Leader)
Despite attention, Loop Trolley only sold 1,000 tickets last month
Amid widespread coverage of its financial troubles, St. Louis’ Loop Trolley sold only 1,000 tickets in November, totaling around $2,000 in revenue. It sold 1,481 tickets in October, bringing in around $3,000. One government projection for the trolley from 2011 had predicted average monthly ridership of more than 33,000. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Thruline Marketing sells off units
The Lenexa, Kansas-based education marketing company has sold its agency-of-record business and its call center lead generation business to New Jersey-based EducationDynamics for an undisclosed amount. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Springfield architecture group names executive director
The American Group of Architects-Springfield hired Mica Moffett as executive director to take over duties previously contracted out to a third party. The advocacy group represents about 30 area firms. (Springfield Business Journal)
Greene County program awards $80,000 in diversity grants
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks issued seven grants through the Springfield-Greene County Diversity and Inclusion Program last week. The largest grant, for around $16,600, went to the Promo Fund, which helps advocate for LGBTQ issues. (Springfield Business Journal)
The American consumer is in a spending mood, if early holiday ecommerce figures are any indication. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday all brought new records for online spending, according to Adobe Analytics, and online revenue for the holiday shopping season as a whole is projected to eclipse previous highs.
Say that again
“It can’t just stand the way it is … we have to blow up the economic development agencies.”
That’s Clayco Chairman and CEO Bob Clark, who on Tuesday called for the consolidation of at least nine economic development agencies in the St. Louis region, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Clark’s comments came during a speech for Urban Land Institute St. Louis’ program on emerging trends in real estate. The program discussed a report from the Urban Land Institute and PwC that ranked St. Louis No. 46 on a list of U.S. markets “to watch.” Part of the problem, Clark said, is that St. Louis has too many organizations that each have their own agenda. “I don’t know why we have more than one,” he said. Clark compared St. Louis to other cities on the list, such as Nashville — ranked No. 5 — that have fewer organizations that “all say the same thing.”
That’s how many Missourians have been issued medical marijuana patient cards, more than the 19,000 estimated for the first year of the program, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. With the number growing by about 1,000 new patients a week since the end of June, the program is on pace to exceed the 22,500 enrollees initially projected by the end of 2021. About 7,000 of the patients have also been approved to grow their own marijuana. The state plans to license 348 medical marijuana business out of 2,163 applications.
Hello, my name is
This independent video game studio in St. Louis expects to debut its new game on Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass lineup for the first time in early 2020, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that allows users to pick and play from a curated list of titles. Butterscotch Shenanigans co-founder Sam Coster said being part of that lineup allows the studio to reach over 9.5 million subscribers. The studio’s new game Levelhead is its sixth published title since 2012. The company currently has five full-time employees and an office in the Cortex innovation district.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.