Category: Business News

Microsoft to Open St. Louis Location in Cortex District

Tech behemoth Microsoft recently announced it would be moving its offices from Creve Coeur to the newest expansion in the Central West End’s Cortex area.

The move is part of a $55 million,180,00- square-foot office and lab expansion in the innovation district. Microsoft will be bringing nearly 150 jobs to the development, approximately 60 current jobs and adding 90 new positions.

Such a tech giant making the move to an area associated with St. Louis’ start up culture and research is a great vote of confidence for the district.

Microsoft will be leasing 30,000 square feet in the development.

The St. Louis office will be regional headquarters for states like Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee, according to Ervin Flores, General Manager of Microsoft’s Mid-America District.

The new development will also include a Microsoft Technology Center, where customers can work with employees to design custom technology system. Microsoft currently runs around 40 of these centers around the world, moving St. Louis into some exclusive company.

One major draw to Microsoft was the ability for Microsoft employees to interact with start ups and researchers in the Cortex district. The Technology Center will also give the district’s start ups and tech companies the opportunity to test the newest and cutting edge products form Microsoft.

On hand for the announcement of the project were Outgoing St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Washing University will be the other anchor tenant, leasing 69,000 square feet of the development.

Techie Playground opens in Cortex District

Want to create the next great app, build the next great invention, create furniture or weld a new project? TechShop has opened a location in St. Louis’ Cortext District where you can do just that.

The workshop and fabrication studio chain opened in California nearly 10 years ago and has since expanded to Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, with a Brooklyn location opening soon.

Square, the ubiquitous credit card swipe/POS app and hardware for mobile phones and tablets got its start in a TechShop in California, where St. Louis born co-founder Jim McKelvey built his first prototypes of the swipe device.

“I think it’s fantastic for the St. Louis region because there are certain things that you need equipment to do and there’s a culture of experimentation there,” McKelvey said in a phone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “TechShop is a big playground for makers.”

Each TechShop offers a host of equipment and tools for bourgeoning entrepreneurs and inventors to use including large sanders, glass cuttors, automotive tools, electrical measurement tools, drill presses, table saws, DSLR cameras, 3D printers, plasma cutters, and more.

For access, a membership is required. Dues are $150/monthly and gives you access to all tools and instruction in the building, provided you pass safety and basic use classes for each tool.

TechShop isn’t just for members though. Nonmembers can take advantage of any of their classes for a fee. Classes available include metal working, CAD, woodshop, sewing and more.

No experience is required for TechShop classes and TechShop has even worked to create classes for date nights. Discounts are given to students and active military personal.

It’s safe to say St. Louis’ start up and maker community is excited for TechShop’s opening. The workshop is currently on track to reach its goal of 1,000 St. Louis area members before it even opens.

​SSM reveals first look at new SLU Hospital

SSM Health plans to break ground Aug. 31 on its new $550 million SSM HealthSaint Louis University Hospital, with a projected completion date of Sept. 1, 2020.

The health care system released renderings Wednesday providing the first look at the new hospital and ambulatory care center, which includes more than 800,000 square feet of space and 316 private patient rooms.

The design for the new facility, which will be located on 15 acres adjacent to the current hospital off Grand Boulevard between Rutger and Lasalle streets, includes a nine-story patient tower and a three-story ambulatory care center connected by a common space that will include amenities such as the cafeteria, gift shop and chapel.

The hospital will feature an expanded trauma center and emergency department, larger intensive care units and expanded patient parking. With patient rooms on the right and left hand sides of the hospital, the middle section will feature educational space, which hospital President Kate Becker said is key to the hospital’s mission.

“This new design supports our mission both of providing quality patient care and supporting education,” Becker said.

The plans also includes space for future growth. A green space east of the parking garage could be used for future office or retail expansion, the south side of the ambulatory care center was designed to allow for possible expansion, and the hospital includes space to add a possible second bed tower to the west of the new patient tower.

“We could actually double the size of the hospital,” Becker said.

Becker said no decisions have been made yet about the future of the existing Desloge Tower. She said space in the tower is still being used for academic purposes by Saint Louis University. “We’re talking to the university about their interest in continuing use of the hospital space, then we can make decisions about what happens to it,” she said.

Alberici Constructors Inc. is the construction manager for the project. Lawrence Group, in partnership with Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) and Frank Zilm and Associates Inc., is the architect.

Clayton officials to review big projects planned for busy intersections

Two high-profile downtown Clayton developments will get preliminary reviews Tuesday night at the city’s scheduled Plan Commission and Architectural Review Board meeting. Clayton officials will consider conceptual plans for a $70 million, 24-story luxury apartment high rise proposed for the northeast corner of Forsyth and Brentwood boulevards. Flaherty & Collins Properties, an Indianapolis-based multifamily developer, is proposing the development.

New Arch To Riverfront Ramps Are A Great Improvement

When I first moved to St. Louis in August 1990 the grand staircase down to our riverfront wasn’t complete — it was grass with steps only on the North & South edges. At some point the center steps were completed.But even as a young (20s) able-bodied person the steps were a pain. I recall one time, in the early 90s visiting the Arch grounds with my parents & grandfather — in their early 60s & mid-90s, respectively, The steps were a huge problem.

Visitors to the Arch grounds yesterday enjoy the sun on the grand stairs

This weekend I visited the Arch grounds twice — along on Saturday and with my husband on Sunday. Both days I did all four of the new ramps connecting the upper Arch grounds to Lenore K Sullivan Blvd on the riverfront.

Looking South from the North outlook area,a new ramp on the right and the North steps on the left. The steps are closed currently because they’re in poor condition.

At the bottom of that ramp

Moving toward the river you can begin to see how much longer the ramp is vs the steps

The North steps, mirrored to the South

The two South ramps each feature a longer flat section with s bench. — excellent for those who may need to sit and rest

Looking North from the South lookout area

I saw many people using the new ramps both days, but nobody else in a wheelchair. Users were all ages, some were biking, others walking their dogs, some pushing baby strollers, most just out with family and/or friends.

The Arch & grounds were designed at a time when the disabled were institutionalized — not independent members of the community. Ramps just weren’t done back then.  Today, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, those of us who are disabled are better able to live independent lives.

These four ramps, plus the connection next to the Eads Bridge, make getting to/from the riverfront a pleasure.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Consider Ranked-Choice Voting?

Please vote below

When you have two candidates running for office it is easy to understand the winner — the person who receives more than 50% of the vote — even if by just one vote.

I’m looking at the March 7th Democratic primary ballot with 7 choices for mayor and 6 choices for alderman in my ward — it’s highly unlikely the winner of either race will get more than 35% of the vote. In other cities, this would require a runoff vote among the top candidates until one receives a majority of the votes.

In lieu of holding runoff  elections some cities use instant runoff voting — candidates are ranked by voters to pick a winner with a majority of votes. This voting method has pros & cons:


  1. No need for expensive runoff elections.
  2. Politicians tend to adopt a more civil tone in campaigns.
  3. Enough with the strategy games.
  4. Majority wins.


  1. Many cities do not have the proper equipment to count the ballots.
  2. It’s confusing.
  3. Elections for multiple positions become complex.
  4. Voters need to know their stuff.

What do you think, should we try it? Vote in the poll below.

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson


Here’s what you missed at the 40 Under 40 Awards event

Each year, the St. Louis Business Journal recognizes the accomplishments of local professionals with its 40 Under 40 Awards. This year’s winners were honored at an awards event Thursday at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel. The event kicked off with a networking reception and was followed by dinner and opening remarks from Elizabeth Stroble, president of Webster University. Business Journal Publisher Patricia Miller and Managing Editor Vince Brennan presented the awards to this year’s winners.

What is the most well-funded startup in Missouri?

Varsity Tutors, the local education technology startup that provides online tutoring and test prep, is the most well-funded tech startup in the state of Missouri over the last two years, according to research from CB Insights. The Clayton-based company, led by CEO and founder Chuck Cohn, raised $57 million in late 2015 from a group of investors that included musician and TV personality Adam Levine as well as former Answers CEO David Karandish. The CB Insights list excluded funding from debt as…

St. Louis’ Easton & Franklin Avenues Became Dr. Martin Luther King Drive 45 Years Ago Today

Last month, on the Martin Luther King holiday, I posted my 13th look at the street named after the slain civil rights leader — see Annual Look At Changes Along St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive. From a STL250 Facebook post that has since been deleted:

This Day in St. Louis History, February 17, 1972:
Martin Luther King Boulevard is dedicated

A Board of Aldermen bill was passed that changed the name of Easton Avenue and portions of Franklin Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard. Alderman C.B. Broussard was a primary sponsor, and he announced that the change was part of a nationwide organized drive to rename street[s[ in honor of the murdered civil rights figure. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968 while standing on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Just days after his murder, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

By 1972 St. Louis was aware the 1960s was its second decade in a row with major losses in population. In the two decades since the St. Louis population peaked in the 1950 census, the city lost more than a quarter of its residents. The biggest reduction, however, happened during the 1970s. By the 1980 census St. Louis had again lost more than a quarter of the population — in a single decade.

As the white middle class fled North St. Louis for North St. Louis County, commercial streets like Easton & Franklin Avenues were already in decline before 1972.

One building symbolizes this change better than any other. Demolition of existing 2-story buildings began on February  29, 1948 — the new JC Penny store opened the following year. By 1967 the store was so crowded a warehouse was added to the West (since demolished). Less than a decade later, the store closed on September 11, 1976.


The former JC Penny store (1949-1976) on MLK in the Wellston Loop in the modern style with an urban form, rather than style of its red brick neighbors that are 20-40 years older.

Click image to view the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

As residents fled to North County retailers followed them. New shopping areas like Northland (1955), River Roads (1962), Northwest Plaza (1965),  and Jamestown Mall (1973) opened to serve the new suburban middle class. Franklin & Easton Avenues would have declined even it not renamed.

Can this corridor be revived? To the point of being the honor it was intended? I have my doubts. Perhaps we should do something different to causally honor Dr. King’s legacy and return the street name to Easton & Franklin Avenues?

— Steve Patterson


Larry Rice launches campaign for mayor’s office

Larry Rice, who operates the New Life Evangelistic Center downtown, is entering the race for mayor of St. Louis. Rice announced he will run as a independent candidate in the April 4 general election. “I believe that too many people in St. Louis are suffering,” Rice said in a statement on his website announcing the candidacy. “I want to see the priorities of those in power in St. Louis change from building sporting stadiums to building a higher standard of living for all St. Louisans.” Rice told…