Missouri Minute: St. Louis may offer incentives for A-B factory; lawmakers voice frustration with GM

Good morning, MBA readers,

It’s only been a few weeks since General Motors resolved a 40-day labor strike, but the company is already back in Missouri headlines. Some state lawmakers are feeling buyer’s remorse after scrambling to put together $50 million in tax breaks for the company earlier this year. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that GM should retain more than half the jobs at its Wentzville plant — despite a new labor deal with the UAW — if it is to get millions in state incentives. Start your week by reading up on that story and the state’s other top business news.


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From our newsroom

Here are 9 Global Entrepreneurship Week events drawing big interest in KC
Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off Monday and features various events across Missouri, including over 200 in the Kansas City area. Coordinators of GEW in Kansas City provided a rundown of the events generating the most pre-registrations.

Missouri unemployment rate remains at 3.1% in October
The state’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 3.1% in October. The number grew one-tenth of a percentage point compared to October 2018 but remained the same as September 2019.


Stay alert

St. Louis may offer incentives to attract $100 million A-B food factory
An ordinance proposed Friday would give Anheuser-Busch roughly $5.5 million in tax incentives to put $100 million food production facility next to the company’s St. Louis brewery. The company said there would be more than 40 long-term jobs tied to the plan. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Smith & Wesson parent to spin off non-firearm business in Missouri
The Massachusetts-based parent company of Smith & Wesson plans to rebrand as two independent public companies, one of which would be based in Boone County. While Smith & Wesson Brands focuses on the company’s core firearm business, the Missouri-based American Outdoor Brands would focus on outdoor products and accessories for shooting. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis aldermen back $15 hourly pay for janitors
The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on Friday for a resolution urging civic and business leaders to commit to paying janitors and other workers at least $15 an hour. The endorsement follows a series of nationwide rallies by the Service Employees International Union, which is calling for the wage hike. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Work begins on Hard Rock Hotel near KC racetrack
Developer One10 Hotel HRKC and Kansas City-based Fogel-Anderson Construction started work on a long-planned Hard Rock Hotel in Edwardsville, Kansas. The 11-story hotel will have 241 rooms, a rooftop lounge and a 50,000-square-foot event center. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Buyer walks away from St. Louis AT&T tower deal
An unidentified buyer who had agreed to purchase the 1.4 million-square-foot office tower — the largest office building in the state by square footage — has terminated the contract, according to new filings. C-III Asset Management, the special servicer managing the bondholders’ investment in the building, is said to be considering its next move. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Developer to start first phase of $160 million St. Louis redevelopment
Universatile Development plans to begin construction this winter on 14 single-family homes in the Lafayette Square neighborhood, as the first part of a larger redevelopment in the area. The plan, which calls for redeveloping the corridor into hundreds of apartment units, has drawn consternation of some local residents on historic architectural grounds. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

County to launch own study to weigh St. Louis airport privatization
The St. Louis County Port Authority is set to discuss a draft request for proposals for firms to conduct a study privatizing St. Louis Lambert International Airport. If approved, the study, separate from the city’s own analysis, would seek to provide a “more transparent” look at the privatization question. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Columbia officials to discuss $20 million airport terminal project
The Columbia City Council is set to discuss the new $20 million terminal building at Columbia Regional Airport during its regular meeting Monday night. In July, the council hired Burns & McDonnell to start the engineering and architectural work for the 60,000-square-foot terminal. (Columbia Missourian)


Go figure

16th

That’s where St. Louis Lambert International Airport ranks out of 20 mid-sized U.S. airports, according to a new Wall Street Journal survey. Lambert earned its best marks for reliability, ranking No. 8 among the 20 medium-sized airports. Its worst ratings were in convenience, where it ranked 19th in its class.


Say that again

“We are giving millions to these corporations when we know at the exact same time that they’re going to be laying off Missouri workers.”

That’s Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, who says General Motors is coming up short on its promise of job retention in Missouri after lawmakers put together $50 million in tax breaks for the automaker, the Associated Press reports. Quade and lawmakers specifically expressed frustration that GM pledged to keep only 2,000 jobs in Wentzville as part of a new labor deal with the United Auto Workers; that’s less than half of the 4,300 workers the company currently employs in the St. Louis suburb. Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon, who is said to be in talks with the company, previously said employers are generally required to keep 88% of their workforce to qualify for job-retention incentives. For now, Dixon’s office has declined to disclose further details until its talks with GM are complete.


Hello, my name is

USAKO Group

This St. Louis investment and consulting group is bringing three South Korean startups to St. Louis as part of a pilot program to help companies expand in Korea and the U.S., the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The three companies — blockchain startups Sigmachain and ELYNET and manufacturing tech firm ILDO Corp. — will have a chance to meet and pitch to local investors. USAKO founder and CEO Han Ko said he personally wants to see the startups enter the local market, adding that such firms could reduce expenses by expanding in St. Louis, as opposed to more expensive cities like San Francisco.


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


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