Missouri Minute: KC officials propose tiny homes to fight homelessness; St. Louis County halts evictions

Hello, MBA readers,

This week has brought a pair of welcome developments for groups combating homelessness in the state’s two largest metro areas. In Kansas City, officials unveiled a plan to alleviate housing issues through investment in tiny homes. Mayor Quinton Lucas and other officials are working toward the creation of a 150-bed community of tiny homes where social services can be offered as well. It’s the latest step in a recent push by the city, which earlier this month approved a measure to provide hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness. Across the state in St. Louis County, the county council voted to suspend evictions through June. The moratorium contradicts a judge’s ruling that the county could resume evictions earlier this month. County Executive Sam Page and housing advocates hailed the move as a way to keep families safe during the pandemic. All of that housing news comes against the backdrop of rising rents in both areas, especially Kansas City. A new report from ApartmentGuide shows that Kansas City saw a 33.5% increase in rental rates for one-bedroom apartments from last March to this March. That was the the biggest one-year jump among the 100 largest cities in the country, according to the report. The spike was attributed to new developments that are pricier and a housing market that is forcing more people toward renting.

Stay alert

Kansas City officials propose tiny homes to combat homelessness
As part of heightened efforts to address homelessness recently, the city has released plans to build a 150-home village. (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis County halts evictions
The county council approved a measure to temporarily suspend evictions until June 30. (KSDK)

St. Louis spending plan would cut police budget
The proposal would eliminate 98 vacant officer positions and move about $4 million from the police to social programs. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ascent partners with Dallas firm data centers
The St. Louis data center operator has forged a new partnership with a division of Dallas-based real estate firm Lincoln Property to combine data center operations. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Duke Realty to exit St. Louis market
The Indianapolis-based company will sell its St. Louis holdings, which consist of 5.2 million square feet of industrial property, and look toward more in-demand markets. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Thompson Street portfolio company adds another acquisition
Len the Plumber, a portfolio company of St. Louis private equity firm Thompson Street Capital partners, acquired Maryland-based plumbing and heating business Larry & Sons, marking Len’s second acquisition in a month. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Greyhound reduces Springfield presence
The Dallas-based bus line will sell its building and move to a smaller location. (Springfield Business Journal)

St. Louis Alamo Drafthouse to open despite bankruptcy
Although the cinema chain filed for bankruptcy last month, a franchisee will open a new location in the City Foundry development next spring. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hy-Vee to accept walk-in COVID-19 vaccine patients
The supermarket and pharmacy operator, which has 30 locations across the state, will now no longer require people to schedule appointments for vaccinations. (Columbia Missourian)

Say that again

“With the word ‘innovation,’ everyone automatically matches it up with product and developing a product for a customer. But there’s tons of innovation from the services perspective.”

That’s Yoni Malchi, managing director and head of artificial intelligence research and development at World Wide Technology. The Maryland Heights-based technology services company is part of a movement among St. Louis companies to invest more money in innovation, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. It’s part of a widespread, decades-long shift: According to a Harvard Business Review report, spending on research and development was about 7% of company expenses in 2017, up from less than 1% in the late 1970s. World Wide Technology has established an Advanced Technology Center to conduct technology testing and research. Experts say such investments help companies keep up with customers’ demands and preferences, which are constantly evolving.

Go figure


Rates for one-bedroom apartments in Kansas City increased 33.5% between March 2020 and this March, according to a new report from ApartmentGuide, an apartment marketing website. That was the biggest jump in any of the 100 largest markets in the country, according to the report. Two-bedroom rates in Kansas City increased 21.4% over the course of the year. St. Louis saw an increase of 1.6% for one-bedroom rates and 0.2% for two-bedroom rates. The rates were determined by using a weighted formula of average prices that was meant to correct for seasonality and provide a more accurate representation of price availability.

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The startup accelerator run by Springfield’s efactory will host its fifth cohort of companies after the program took a year off because of COVID-19. The program will begin on July 19. It provides $30,000 in exchange for 8% equity, plus mentorship, office space, and networking and funding opportunities. The program has been redesigned to feature a mix of virtual and in-person events. Startups can apply throughout the month of May.


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