Good morning, MBA readers,
A Missouri Senate committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would allow for the establishment of charter schools across the state (currently, they are only permitted in St. Louis and Kansas City). The Missouri House granted initial approval to a measure that would allow let transportation systems to be funded through public-private partnerships — but wouldn’t allow the use of eminent domain to amass the necessary land. Away from the legislative chambers of Jefferson City, Columbia continues to grapple with short-term rental regulations, Branson’s experiencing a building boom and a popular Kansas City conference has been postponed on account of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade. Whether you plan to play hooky to hit the streets of Kansas City for today’s #ChiefsParade (in which case, don’t forget to bundle up) or proceed with your Wednesday work as normal, you can get up to speed on the day’s top business news below.
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Hyperloop bill advances in Missouri House after eminent domain ban added
The House on Tuesday gave initial approval for a bill that would allow the high-speed, tube-based hyperloop transportation system to be financed through public-private partnerships. The bill would prohibit the use of eminent domain for the project, which is estimated to cost $10.4 billion. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Expanded charter school bill heads to Missouri Senate
A Senate committee has advanced a bill that would allow the establishment of charter schools in cities beyond St. Louis and Kansas City. Opponents worry the measure might leave public schools underfunded as more students go to charter schools. (Columbia Missourian)
Insurance broker acquires KC-area firm
Atlanta-based OneDigital has closed on its acquisition of Overland Park, Kansas-based Resources Investment Advisors, which has about $45 billion in assets under management. OneDigital said the deal will merge RIA under its brand and create “the first employee benefits and retirement-only broker in the small and medium-sized business space.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (InvestmentNews)
Edward Jones names 18 new partners
The St. Louis-based investment firm has named 55 new partners, including 18 in St. Louis and nine of them women. The company is owned by its 474 partners and other employees. (St. Louis Business Journal)
St. Louis janitors reach tentative contract agreement
Local union janitors have reached a tentative agreement for a new contract and are set to vote on the deal in the coming days. The union, Services Employees International Union Local 1, voted to authorize a labor strike if negotiations for better wages and benefits stall. (KSDK)
Waddell & Reed’s new KC headquarters to proceed, despite city staff concerns
The City Plan Commission on Tuesday gave conditional approval for the $140 million project, meaning the developer must continue to work with city staff to adjust its design throughout the planning process. City staffers have expressed concerns that Waddell & Reed’s current plan for the downtown building does not conform to city recommendations. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Pizza crust maker to add new facility, 100 jobs in St. Charles
Wisconsin-based TNT Crust announced Tuesday that it will open a new 100,000-square-foot facility in St. Charles, adding more than 100 new jobs. The company makes and distributes partially baked, self-rising flatbreads and pizza crusts. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Leggett & Platt reports earnings growth
The Carthage-based manufacturer has posted a 9% boost in yearly net income to almost $334 million. Company officials attributed the growth to Leggett & Platt’s first-quarter acquisition of Elite Comfort Solutions for $1.3 billion. Net sales for 2019 were up 9% to $1.1 billion, and cash flow from operations hit a record $668 million. (Springfield Business Journal)
Spencer Fane names new St. Louis managing partner
The Kansas City law firm has named Amy Mistler as its new managing partner in St. Louis, succeeding Frank Neuner, who remains a partner with the firm. Mistler, a partner at Spencer Fane since 2016, has previously worked at St. Louis law firms Gallop Johnson & Neuman and Bryan Cave. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Clayton firm to divest media tech business
Belden Inc. has reached a deal to sell its media technology business, Grass Valley, to Black Dragon Capital, a Florida-based private equity firm. The deal, first announced in October, is part of a larger cost-cutting plan and is expected to save Belden $40 million annually. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Building permit values surge in Branson
The city of Branson received more than $122 million worth of building permits in 2019, compared to $52.4 million in 2018. A bulk of the permits, valued at roughly $111 million, came from commercial projects like the Aquarium at the Boardwalk. (Springfield Business Journal)
Developer withdraws $60 million plan to replace St. Louis-area nursing home
Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US has withdrawn its proposal to replace a senior living facility in Town & Country. The 198,000-square-foot development called Clarendale of Town & Country was to replace a smaller facility currently occupied by NHC HealthCare Town & Country. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Pier 1 Imports to shutter majority of KC-area stores
The Texas-based home goods retailer expects to close five stores in the Kansas City area and finish liquidation sales in late February or March. The nationwide closure of 450 stores will leave the metro with two Pier 1 Imports stores. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Springfield psych hospital names new CEO
Lynn Lemke, who started last month at Perimeter Behavioral Hospital of Springfield, has been named the facility’s new CEO. He previously served as executive director of behavioral health at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville, Illinois, and executive director of behavioral health at Mercy Hospital Springfield. (Springfield Business Journal)
Chiefs’ victory parade pushes TEDxKC back four months
Organizers behind the sold-out return of TEDxKC have delayed the event until June after city officials announced a parade will take place Wednesday to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. In an email to speakers and partners, TEDxKC co-founder and curator Mike Lundgren said the backup plan was activated out of “an abundance of caution and pragmatism.” (Startland News)
Say that again
“A 4-year-old is a threat to a neighborhood, but a 3-year-old is not?”
That’s Peter Yronwode, an Airbnb host in Columbia, at a public comment session addressing proposed rules governing short-term rentals in the city, the Columbia Missourian reports. Yronwode’s comment references a proposed amendment provided by the city’s staff that wouldn’t count children younger than 3 years old as guests. The city has been trying to pass rules governing short-term rentals for the past two years. Although the City Council was scheduled to finally vote at Monday night’s meeting, the vote was ultimately delayed until next month. The city has been stuck trying to decide the proper level of regulation for short-term rentals, resulting in complicated amendments that citizens such as Yronwode consider government overreach.
That’s where Kansas City ranks on MovieMaker Magazine’s list of the best places in North America for filmmakers to live and work. The magazine cites Kansas City,’s eight equipment rental houses, nearly three dozen production facilities and 15 film festivals and calls it a “film-friendly city that brought you Robert Altman, Don Cheadle, Ellie Kemper, Janelle Monae, Dianne Wiest and Mickey Mouse.” Last year, Kansas City didn’t rank on the list, which is gathered based on factors such as surveys, tax incentives, recent productions and personal visits. Kevin Willmot, a University of Kansas film professor who co-wrote the screenplay for BlacKkKlansman,” told the magazine he has found “everything I have ever needed” in Kansas City.
Hello, my name is
The St. Louis-based biotech company has raised $25 million in Series D venture capital funding, which will support the commercialization of research technology that it plans to launch in June. The firm makes Ziva, a diagnostic system for researchers and drug companies that can assess biomarkers that indicate whether a blood or tissue sample has a disease or infection. Lead investors in the funding round included 3×5 Partners and Lightchain Capital, the family office of Scottrade founder Rodger Riney, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.