Missouri Minute: Kansas governor OKs ‘border war’ truce; Bayer eyes meat substitutes

Good morning, MBA readers,

The governors of Missouri and Kansas have both signed measures to end the economic development fight between their states. Now, we’ll see if municipal officials along the state line are willing to bury the hatchet. Elsewhere, local leaders and businesses in Ferguson are excited about new investments coming to revitalize the city’s commercial zone. Meanwhile, St. Louis biotech startup Benson Hill continues to draw investor attention with its genetic modification technology. Scroll down for these stories and other top business news from around the state.

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Kansas governor signs ‘border war’ truce
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday signed an executive order to end her state’s economic “border war” with Missouri. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill addressing the issue in June. The detente now depends largely on cooperation by local governments in the Kansas City metro area. (Kansas City Star)

Sprint posts $111 million loss, but exceeds revenue estimates
Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint reported a net loss of $111 million for the quarter that ended June 30, down from net income of $176 million a year earlier. Quarterly revenue fell to roughly $8.1 billion from $8.4 billion, which still beat analyst expectations. (MarketWatch)

St. Louis County considers medical marijuana buffer zone
Some members of the St. Louis County Commission want to establish a 1,000-foot buffer between medical marijuana dispensaries and schools, churches and daycare centers. The county’s planning commission, however, recommends a 500-foot buffer instead. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Ferguson draws new investments
A group of local businesses and community leaders has announced new investments in the new WestFlo District, including a health care center and major infrastructure upgrades. The new development seeks to reshape the commercial corridor that was battered during protests in response to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis developer tackles Florida project
Clayton-based US Capital Development is partnering with USAA Real Estate to develop a distribution facility in Tampa, marking the company’s first project in the Florida market. The project is set to break ground later this month. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Work begins on $43 million North Kansas City development
Springfield-based O’Reilly Development has begun work on The Backyard, a 240-unit luxury apartment complex that will accompany the 58-acre One North project being built nearby. (Kansas City Business Journal)

$25 million investment fuels BacklotCars expansion
Kansas City startup BacklotCars will move into a newly remodeled 20,000-square-foot space after having raised $25 million in a funding round announced in April. The new location will allow the vehicle trading website to expand its team and attract top-tier talent, the startup said. (Startland News)

Lambert scores $5.3 million fed grants for runway rehab
The U.S. Department of Transportation will award $5.3 million in grants for taxiway rehabilitation at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The grants are part of a $478 million federal airport infrastructure program. (St. Louis Business Journal)

MU hospital data breach may have compromised patient information
University of Missouri Health Care says an “unauthorized individual” may have gained access to treatment and clinical information of up to 14,400 patients. Less than 1% of the patients may have had their Social Security number exposed. (Columbia Missourian)

Cape Girardeau expects low turnout for $40 million tax vote
Fewer than 2,500 voters are expected to turn out Tuesday to decide on extending a sales tax expected to generate $40 million of revenue for Cape Girardeau. The money would be used for a new city hall and an airport terminal, as well as other infrastructure improvements. (Southeast Missourian)

OSHA fines Lebanon manufacturer $413,000 for injuries
Missouri Cooperage Company of Lebanon has repeatedly exposed workers to amputation, noise and other health hazards at its barrel-making facility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said. (Springfield News-Leader)

MSU faces inquiry over alleged ticket quota
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt will investigate whistleblower claims of a parking ticket quota scheme at Missouri State University to pad the school’s revenue. (Springfield News-Leader)

UMSL names leader of new Anchor Institution Initiative
Karl Guenther, who has worked on other University of Missouri-St. Louis initiatives for eight years, will lead the school’s new Anchor Institution Initiative, which will focus on strengthening the neighborhoods around UMSL’s campus. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Say that again

“They are sourcing different types of crops and that also could create opportunity for us, being a company that is a plant-breeding company.”

That’s Bob Reiter, Bayer’s head of crop science research and development. At an investor event in St. Louis last week, Reiter revealed that the German pharmaceutical giant is watching the development of plant-based meat substitutes with great interest, Reuters reports. His remark was in response to an analyst who asked if the recent boom of meat alternatives will have any impact on Bayer’s business. Analysts say nearly 40% of consumers want to add more plant-based protein to their diet.

Go figure

$33 million
That’s how much St. Louis biotech startup Benson Hill has raised in a recent equity offering, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The new investment, an extension of an earlier $65 million Series C funding round, brings Benson Hill’s total capital raised to $133 million. Benson Hill has made a splash in the biotech and venture capital worlds with its CropOS technology, which was developed to help identify the most promising genetics for a targeted crop outcome. That earlier funding round, which closed last year, was led by GV, a venture arm of Google parent company Alphabet.

Hello, my name is

Matthew Whitaker
The former acting U.S. attorney general has joined the Kansas City law firm of Graves Garrett, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Whitaker was named acting attorney general when his boss Jeff Sessions resigned in November. Prior to working in the Trump administration, Whitaker served as a U.S. district attorney in Iowa for five years before running his own law firm in Des Moines. He previously teamed up with Graves Garrett on legal matters when he was managing partner at Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff.


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