Missouri Minute: Cortex expansion planned; Centene funds behavioral health startup

Good morning, MBA readers,

Justus or Lucas? That’s the big question today in Kansas City, where voters will elect either Jolie Justus or Quinton Lucas, both attorneys and sitting City Council members, as the city’s next mayor. Kansas Citians aren’t alone in facing big choices: Farmers in Missouri have been grappling with difficult planting decisions as a result of wet weather. Read on for these and other top Missouri business headlines on this Tuesday morning.

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From our newsroom

KC mayoral candidates, startup leaders address key business concerns
As Kansas City voters head to the polls Tuesday, both of the city’s mayoral candidates have courted the entrepreneurial community’s vote.

Wet weather delays planting, forces farmers into difficult decisions
Heavy rainfall this spring has prevented planting or at least made it difficult for farmers to begin planting. Those delays could reduce yields and revenue from corn, soybeans and other staples.

Columbia City Council approves climate action plan
The plan designed to help curtail the effects of climate change makes 150 recommendations in areas including energy, transportation and housing. It won approval from the Columbia City Council on Monday night.

Stay alert

Developer plans $115 million expansion in St. Louis Cortex
Chicago-based Ventas, which owns three other buildings in the Cortex District, expects the new 320,000-square-foot building will be completed by the end of 2021. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Stifel to buy Canadian capital markets unit for $70 million
The St. Louis-based investment bank has agreed to buy Toronto-based GMP Capital’s advisory and trading business in an all-cash transaction. Stifel shares rose 1.1 percent following the announcement Monday. (BNN Bloomberg)

Centene leads $60 million round for behavioral health startup
Centene’s investment is part of the Clayton-based Medicaid provider’s strategic partnership with New York-based Quartet, a startup that helps health care providers integrate mental health and primary care through its platform. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Two St. Louis construction firms combine after purchase
Waterhout Construction has sold to Tarlton Corp. for an undisclosed amount and will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the firm. Waterhout President and CEO Renee Bell will stay on as a construction consultant. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC Mavericks extend affiliation agreement with NHL club
The Mavericks will serve as a minor-league affiliate for the Calgary Flames in the 2019-2020 season, the third year for the hockey teams’ affiliation. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Missouri moves up medical marijuana application date
Patients and caregivers will be able to register for medical marijuana cards starting June 28, six days earlier than initially planned. (Springfield News-Leader)

Furniture store adds KC barbecue restaurant to its offerings
Shawnee, Kansas-based Blind Box BBQ will open a 7,000-square-foot restaurant inside the Nebraska Furniture Mart’s 1.1 million square-foot facility in Kansas City, Kansas. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“The new U.S. farm subsidy package will throw a dark shadow over efforts to negotiate fairer WTO rules.”

That’s what Jonathan Hepburn, an independent policy analyst in Geneva, told Bloomberg News when asked about $16 billion in farming subsidies authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month. The subsidies, which were enacted to offset hardships caused by international tariffs, were criticized Monday by the European Union, China and five other World Trade Organization members. Critics claim the subsidies violate the spirit of the World Trade Organization, which seeks to move governments away from potentially trade-distorting subsidy programs.

Go figure

$385 million
That’s the total price tag for two Missouri casinos and a third in West Virginia, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. New York’s VICI Properties will pay $278 million to buy the land and real estate assets of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, Lady Luck Casino Caruthersville and a third location in West Virginia. Century Casinos of Colorado will pay $107 million for the operating assets and lease the casinos from VICI once the deal closes early next year. Eldorado Resorts, the Nevada-based outfit that sold the properties, likely did so to clear the way for future acquisitions of its own, according to a report from JPMorgan Chase.

Hello, my name is

The group, comprised of local businesses seeking to rebrand the entertainment district in North Kansas City, is expected to receive its official business league designation in the next few weeks, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Chicken N Pickle is one of the businesses involved in the rebranding initiative. Some of its newer neighbors include several breweries and cafes.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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