Missouri Minute: Blackstone to buy St. Louis warehouses; KCI loses transatlantic flight

Good morning, MBA readers,

Fall is here, so it’s time to say out with the old and in with the new. As brick-and-mortar retail continues to decline — Forever 21 announced bankruptcy this weekend — warehouse space remains among the hottest real estate on the market, driven in part by demand from e-commerce companies. On Monday, Blackstone Group purchased some 60 million square feet of warehouse space, including more than 1 million square feet in St. Louis. Meanwhile at WeWork, where investors recently ousted the company’s founding CEO, a new figure familiar to Kansas Citians will look to help right the ship. Read on for those stories and more of what’s new in Missouri business.

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Logistics company crosses state line into Missouri
Freight company Avenue Logistics will move an office from Overland Park, Kansas, to the former Interstate Securities Building in the Crossroads Art District in Kansas City, Missouri. The building is one of a handful in the area being redeveloped by 3D Development. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Blackstone to purchase St. Louis warehouses
Blackstone Group Inc., the largest alternative investment company in the world, will purchase 60 million square feet of warehouse space from Colony Capital, which has about 1.4 million square feet of warehouse space in St. Louis, in an attempt to capitalize on the boom in e-commerce sales. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis investment bank expands offerings, makes hires
St. Louis-based independent broker-dealer Stern Brothers & Co. will expand into equity markets and hire three new experts in its New York office. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Forever 21 files for bankruptcy
Los Angeles-based fast fashion retailer Forever 21, which lists eight Missouri stores on its website, announced it’s filing for bankruptcy protection. The fashion chain owns some 500 stores in the U.S. and plans to close around 178 in the coming months. (Associated Press)

KCI loses first transatlantic flight
Icelandair will discontinue service to Kansas City International Airport after two summers of offering direct flights between KCI and Reykjavik, Iceland. The airline cited “commercial reasons” for canceling the airport’s first nonstop transatlantic flight. (KCUR)

Boulevard to release two new craft cocktail flavors
Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Co. will add two new craft cocktail flavors — Rye Whiskey Mule and Bourbon Smash — to its Fling Craft Cocktail line. The new offerings will hit shelves Oct. 10. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Landscaping company owner sentenced for tax fraud
A Parkville-based landscaping company owner will face 15 months of prison time for diverting more than $1.4 million in income from his company, The Blade LLC, into his personal account, and under-reporting business income. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Hello, my name is

Marcelo Claure
The former Sprint CEO has been tapped by SoftBank to help clean up WeWork, the coworking company that withdrew its initial public offering last week following the resignation of its former CEO Adam Neumann. WeWork has faced a number of issues over the past few months with investors, who cite concerns about the company’s governance and long-term outlook, Bloomberg reports. SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate that is Sprint’s largest shareholder, is also the largest investor in WeWork.

Say that again

“We still don’t have the Post Office, we still don’t have a bank, we still don’t have a gas station. And until a couple weeks ago, we still didn’t have a place to eat.”

That’s Angi Grossnickle, owner of Clarksville Antique Center, a 45,000-square-foot business located on the Mississippi River floodplain about 75 miles northeast of St. Louis. The shop — along with most of the town of Clarksville — was devastated during this year’s flood events, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Grossnickle said she understands why a number of businesses fold after major flooding. Citizens in river towns statewide are still dealing with the aftermath of this year’s flooding as they try to figure out flood insurance payments, FEMA grants and the possibility of high-risk property federal buyouts.

Go figure

$28 million
That’s the size of the seven-year contract Clayton-based Olin Corp. was awarded last week to operate the U.S. Army’s biggest small-caliber ammunition production facility, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Starting next October, Olin’s Winchester division will operate and manage the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, which employs about 2,000 civilians.

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


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