Missouri Minute: Stifel to open Israel location; Loop Trolley takeover possible

Good morning, MBA readers,

“Everything will work out in the end.” It’s one of those nice adages we all cling to at some point or another, maybe after a breakup or a bad business deal. Now, it appears increasingly likely that the sentiment could prove true in the saga of the St. Louis Loop Trolley. The board of Bi-State Development, which operates the St. Louis region’s Metro bus and light rail transit service, has granted its CEO authority to negotiate a potential takeover of the trolley, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The streetcar started operating last November after years of delays, and it’s set to shut down at the end of this month in the face of financial distress. But Bi-State has a preliminary plan to get the trolley back on track. The organization’s CEO wants to make the streetcar more of a tourist attraction and tap into federal transportation grants, among other steps. A formal plan could be presented to Bi-State’s board in January or February. But, after Tuesday’s vote, it’s more conceivable that things will work out for the troubled trolley. For more about that story and the rest of the day’s business news, read on below.

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Stifel to sell Ziegler Capital Management
The St. Louis-based investment bank will sell the subsidiary, which it acquired in 2013, to Boston-based 1251 Capital. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, pending approval from Ziegler’s institutional and mutual fund clients. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Boeing deliveries halved in 2019
The company announced on Tuesday that it has delivered less than half as many planes this year as over the first 11 months of 2018 amid struggles surrounding the global grounding of the 737 MAX. (Reuters)

American Royal secures land for new $250 million home
The organization, which specializes in agricultural education and events, will develop its new headquarters on 115 acres in Kansas City, Kansas, with construction set to begin this summer. The announcement comes more than three years after the nonprofit initially revealed plans to move its headquarters from Kansas City’s West Bottoms. (Kansas City Business Journal)

State looks to expand use of AI
The Missouri Office of Administration has proposed a $16 million plan to install “chatbots” in the state’s call centers. The centers have an employee turnover rate of 80% and answered three out of every 10 calls at the height of tax season in 2017. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC mayor remaking incentive-granting boards
Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced entirely new boards for the Port Authority of Kansas City and the Enhanced Enterprise Zone on Tuesday. Lucas will serve on the boards of the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City and the 18th & Vine Development Policy Committee. (Kansas City Business Journal)

New $26 million KC pet shelter to open on New Year’s Day
The KC Pet Project’s new 54,000-square-foot headquarters, funded through a private-public partnership and approved by voters last year, will open on Jan. 1. (WDAF)

Freddie Mac requests receiver for T.E.H. Realty complex in St. Louis
The government-sponsored enterprise that secures loans is asking that an emergency receiver take over management of Southwest Crossing Apartments in St. Louis. The property is one of a number of troubled properties owned by an affiliate of T.E.H. Realty. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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Personal income grew across the vast majority of the U.S. last year, increasing in more than 97% of counties, according to annual income data recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. However, that growth was uneven, with metropolitan areas experiencing a 5.7% increase in personal income while nonmetropolitan areas saw a 4.8% increase. Income grew 4.4% in Missouri, below the national average of 4.9%.

Say that again

“Remember that the federal government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in St. Louis over several decades. So they’re one of our best partners. And what we want to do is compete for those dollars in the future. Reputation is important in trying to have structural capacity to finish projects.”

That’s Bi-State Development CEO Taulby Roach arguing for the transit agency’s takeover of the financially distressed Loop Trolley streetcar in St. Louis, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The Bi-State board on Tuesday voted 6-3 to give Roach authority to negotiate a possible takeover, though not without concerns. Commissioner Derrick Cox voted no, saying “I don’t believe this is a transit project.” The initial plan assumes an annual trolley budget of around $1.1 million, including $800,000 collected from a taxing district. A formal plan for the agency to operate the trolley could be ready by January or February, Roach said. The board would then have to approve the transfer of transit assets and operations.

Go figure

$4 million

That’s how much Eliah Drinkwitz will earn each year in guaranteed salary as the new University of Missouri football coach, making him the highest-paid MU employee, the Columbia Missourian reports. It’s quite a raise for Drinkwitz, who was making $750,000 a year as the head coach at Appalachian State. Drinkwitz’s salary is considerably more than that of his predecessor, Barry Odom, who earned $3.05 million a year. It’s tied for eighth among the salaries of the 14 football coaches in the Southeastern Conference.

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St. Louis-based investment bank Stifel announced Tuesday that it will open a new office in Tel Aviv, Israel, the firm’s first foothold in the country. Local investment banker Alain Dobkin, a 20-year industry veteran, will lead the office as managing director and Israel country head, Stifel said in a statement. Dobkin, who helped Citigroup develop its investment platform in the country, was most recently a managing partner at Israel-based Spring Hill Partners.

Hello, my name is


This Kansas City-based biotech startup is looking to transform the way bladder cancer is treated, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. CicloMed has expanded its clinical trial for Fosciclopirox, a cancer drug first discovered several years ago by University of Kansas researchers, to include patients with late-stage, muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The drug is set to become the first KU Cancer Center-invented cancer drug to go to market. It targets high-risk, nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer, which accounts for about 75% of bladder cancers.

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


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