Missouri Minute: Warren takes aim at Ascension-Google partnership; $350M KC project advances

Good morning, MBA readers,

Today’s headlines feature a heavy dose of real estate and development. Storefront retailers across the state continue to struggle. But that’s not stopping a seemingly constant stream of approvals for big development projects in the state’s metro areas. 3D Development just received initial approval from Kansas City officials for a $350 million mixed-use project in the city’s Crossroads Arts District. On the other side of the state, the city of St. Louis granted $54 million in bonds to a developer who plans to expand Hotel Saint Louis by more than 80 rooms. And, according to a new report, that brisk pace of development in Kansas City may need to increase if the city wants to satisfy demand for Class A office space. Read on to get the details on those stories and the day’s other top business news.


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Now hear this

Speaking Startup: Women in data science unite; retailers ready for the rush
This week’s podcast features a conversation with Linda Landon and Hope Snyder of RLadies-MidMO, a group in Columbia working to create more diversity among data scientists. The show also includes a discussion with Nickie Davis, executive director of The District in downtown Columbia, who discussed how local retailers are looking to compete during the holiday shopping season.


Stay alert

GM sues Fiat Chrysler, alleging bribes to union amid contract talks
General Motors on Wednesday filed a racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler, alleging the rival carmaker bribed United Auto Workers officials to corrupt its bargaining process and to gain a cost advantage. The union’s executive board voted Wednesday afternoon to begin the process of removing President Gary Jones from his position as he faces a federal corruption investigation. (Reuters, CNBC)

Presidential hopeful takes aim at Ascension-Google partnership
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, wrote to Google on Wednesday to question its access to Ascension’s health records. Google said in a statement that it will answer questions about the data sharing project and claimed its work with the St. Louis-based health care provider adheres to industry regulations. (Reuters)

Developer plans $350 million mixed-use project in KC
Kansas City officials have given early approvals for 3D Development, the group behind the $95 million repurposing of The Kansas City Star’s former headquarters, to build multiple structures on about 11 acres in the Crossroads Arts District. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis company buys closed Ameren plant in Illinois
Environmental Liability Transfer, which buys and cleans up environmentally contaminated lands, has acquired the closed Meredosia Power Station from an Ameren subsidiary for an undisclosed amount. ELT, which will decommission, remediate and redevelop the 75-acre plant, expects to finish the process in two years. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC’s Westlake Ace acquires New York chain
The Lenexa, Kansas subsidiary of The Ace Hardware Corp. has acquired Haggerty Ace Hardware, a home improvement chain in New York that has three stores. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Midas proposes $47 million Marriott in Clayton
St. Louis-based Midas Hospitality plans to begin work on a 168-room Residence Inn by Marriott in the third quarter of 2020 and finish by 2021, co-founder and CEO David Robert said. A city board is expected to review the project Dec. 2. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Millions in incentives approved to renovate downtown St. Louis building
The St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has approved up to $54 million in bonds for Restoration St. Louis to transform the Chemical Building into an extension of its Hotel Saint Louis next door. The project would create 84 hotel rooms, 72 apartments and some retail space. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Developer plans $12.4 million apartment near St. Louis riverfront
Advantes Group is doubling down on Laclede’s Landing in St. Louis with plans to turn two historic buildings into 76 apartments and commercial space. It would be the second major project in the riverfront neighborhood for Advantes, which recently completed its Peper Lofts project. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis emergency cleaning business acquired by Texas firm
Catastrophe Cleaning & Restoration Company has been acquired by Fort Worth, Texas-based Interstate Restoration. The 50-person firm helps restore businesses and homes after damage from fire, smoke, flooding and other disasters. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC company to launch ‘stork drone’ for gender reveals
Kansas City-based Drones on Demand has announced drone video service for a new purpose: gender reveals. Beginning next year, the company will offer a “stork drone” for couples to announce their pregnancy. (KSHB)


Show me

Consumer spending in Missouri grew 4% last year, but that lagged the average increase seen across the rest of the country. Personal spending per capita in Missouri was $40,060 for the year, with consumers in the state spending nearly $7,300 apiece on health care.


Say that again

“The biggest cost here is missed opportunity.”

That’s Michael Mayer, the managing director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Kansas City office, which released a report this week outlining that a lack of Class A office space for large out-of-town businesses is costing downtown Kansas City potential earnings, according to the Kansas City Business Journal. The area offers a number of 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot rentals but few over 75,000 square feet of contiguous space. Mayer said the market is shifting, and tenants are more willing now than they may have been in the past to pay for high-end office space.


Hello, my name is

Make48

The Kansas City-based reality TV competition for inventors will journey back to the Midwest to film its fourth season, Startland News reports. Filming of the show, which has aired on PBS for the past three seasons, will take place in March 2020 at Union Station in Kansas City, CEO Tom Gray said.


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


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