Jan 25

The Scoop: James Beard Foundation declares Gioia’s Deli an American Classic

011216_gioias

The James Beard Foundation has announced the five recipients of its 2017 America’s Classics award, and one of St. Louis’ longtime favorites has landed on the list. Gioia’s Deli is the first St. Louis restaurant to receive the honor since the award’s inception in 1998.

“It’s a whirlwind. It’s been crazy,” said co-owner Alex Donley. He received news of the event late last year. “I was sitting in a movie theater with my daughter, and I got this call from New York. I just ignored it. I thought it was someone wanting money or something.”

Gioia’s Deli opened in 1918 and began life as a grocery store. The Gioia family sold the deli to the Donley family in 1980, when it began a second incarnation as a lunch spot famous for its Hot Salami sandwich. The Gioia’s food truck debuted in 2014, and a second location opened downtown, with the same menu as the original restaurant, last year.

To qualify for the award, restaurants have to have been in business for at least 10 years and be locally owned. The America’s Classic award honors restaurants that restaurants that “have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community,” according to the announcement from the James Beard Foundation.

“In an ever-changing culinary landscape, these honorees have created enduring restaurants and food establishments that have not only stood the test of time, but continue to bring people together in celebration of the unique flavors in America’s vast food scene,” Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, said in the announcement.

Donley said he’s ready for a bump in business once word of the award gets out. “We’re so excited,” he said. “We’re preparing for the storm and making sure the lines won’t be too long.”

The other awardees include La Taqueria in San Francisco; Sahadi’s in Brooklyn; Schultz’s Crab House in Essex, Maryland; and Bertha’s Kitchen in Charleston, South Carolina. Gioia’s Deli and the rest of this year’s winners will be recognized on Monday, May 1 at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala in Chicago.

Related Content
Sneak Peek: Gioia’s Deli Downtown

The Scoop: Gioia’s Deli to open second location downtown

92 years of hot salamis

By Matt Sorrell

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jan 25

Historic Gratiot School Transformation to 22 Apartments Moving Quickly

The historic Gratiot School at 1615 Hampton Avenue near Manchester Avenue is undergoing a conversion to apartments by Garcia Properties, which purchased the vacant school from the district for a reported $414,700. The building closed in 2013 after having served as home to the St. Louis Public School archives since 1992.

The 27,474 sf school dates from 1882 with additions in 1899 and 1919 and is quite a bit smaller than other former school buildings that have been converted to apartments in recent years. The building will accommodate 22 apartments. Having been used to store archives, the building was in decent condition when sold to Garcia. As of this post, new windows had been installed on the north side of the building (see image below).

Though the school appears rather cohesive architecturally, the center section predates the rest of the structure by several decades. From the National Register of Historic Places:

The east elevation is eleven bays wide, the two-story building has red brick masonry bearing walls laid in common bond resting on a raised, split-faced random ashlar limestone basement. The center section of the building is the original 1882 schoolhouse designed by H. William Kirchner.

The north and south wings of the east elevation are identical in form although they were constructed at two different times. Both wings were probably designed in concept by William B. Ittner c. 1899 although the plans for the southern addition bear Rockwell Milligan’s name. The northern wing was constructed in 1899 under Ittner’s direction. The southern wing was constructed in 1919 under the direction of Ittner’s successor Rockwell Milligan.

[Read Gratiot School National Register of Historic Places nomination]

Gratiot School c. 1882:

Gratiot School and floor plans c. 1935:

Photographs from late 2015 by Andrew Weil for the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form:

Images from Google Streetview and Google Earth:

Images from Paul Sableman via Flickr:

Image by 24th Ward alderman Scott Ogilvie (1/23/2017):

Jan 25

Dabble Is Here To Help You Play With Your Curiosity

“Dabble was founded on the idea that everyone has interests, skills and passions and we all long to connect,” says Dabble CEO and Chief Dabbler, Jay Swoboda. After all, it seems like most people today are too busy with work to cultivate after-hours interests (they’re lucky if they squeak in a trip to the gym), much less “dabble” with a few to find one they love—or just play with their curiosity.

Dabble, an “event marketing technology and interest discovery platform,” aims to change this by connecting “curiosity with passion in local communities,” says Swoboda. “We believe that learning doesn’t need to happen in a classroom, can be “fun” and that anyone can teach, learn or host.”

Erin Hopmann and Jess Lybeck founded the company in May 2011: As “young professionals in a big city, they found it hard to just “dabble” in their interests, try new things and meet new people rather than committing to often expensive, multi-session classes,” says Swoboda.

Jay Swoboda
Jay Swoboda, CEO of Dabble

Originally, both had quit their day jobs to launch a marketing and branding company that would focus on small businesses and entrepreneurs, Swoboda says. “One thing that seemed to be a common denominator was that everyone needed more customers, and that many talented people needed support sharing their passion and skills. Over and over, it seemed that events, classes and workshops were an incredible way to find new, loyal customers.” 

The founders drew on sites like Skillshare.com andLearnapalooza.com for early inspiration and began building the first website on WordPress for what would eventually become Dabble.” After attracting their first teacher partners they launched with 18 classes and bootstrapped for a year before raising funding and moving the platform to a Ruby on Rails site in late 2012,” says Swoboda. 

Hopmann and Lybeck built the company for three years “before handing the reins over to the new team when resources ran out,” says Swoboda. Today, he says “they remain some of our biggest cheerleaders.”

A Rollercoaster of a Ride 

Dabble’s ride hasn’t always been an easy one: It’s “grown and scaled back many times over its five-plus year existence to make ends meet,” says Swoboda.

Dabble laid off “just about everyone in September 2013,” says Swoboda. “The company was very close to going under, but the idea is just too good to die and has proven resilient against the odds.”

Dabble
A Dabbler takes a woodworking class

During that time, they launched a website that would deeply resonate with the startup community. “When Dabble was considering what to do in the fall of 2013, the founders launched a website that struggling entrepreneurs still read today called “30 Days of Honesty” that documented the founders’ journey as they struggled to keep Dabble alive,” says Swoboda. “The resulting response and surge of energy from the community as a result of their candor and transparency very likely saved Dabble.”

They’ve carried on that spirit in their current operations. “It is this same transparency and honesty that we embody every day in how we operate Dabble with our team and our community,” says Swoboda. “Running a startup is hard. Really hard—even with funding—but without funding it’s like having your kneecaps slammed with a sledgehammer if you’re not honest with yourself and your customers.”

Since 2013’s hard times, they’ve seen support come in from some significant sources: They won an Arch Grant in 2014 and followed it up with participation in Capital Innovators Spring 2015 cohort, which “was very instrumental in the rebirth and continued existence of Dabble.”

“Over the years, we’ve learned that even without funding and money in the bank, a good idea can survive,” says Swoboda. “We exist today because of the strength of our teachers and hosts and the willingness to keep working–despite a lack of financial resources–to provide a platform where over 75,000 people can explore their interests, try new things, meet new people and build their own brands by offering events on the platform.”

Even last year saw big changes: “Earlier in 2016, we had 10 staff members and our own office in the River North area of downtown Chicago. Now, we have four distributed full-time staff with over 28 part-time company ambassadors supporting 4,000-plus teachers and hosts who list on the platform in the US.”

No longer in the River North office, the team members work out of Soho House in Chicago, and they’ve created an office culture that’s lively and vibrant. “We make an effort to make each other crack up throughout the day through frequent GIFs and passive-aggressive fake support emails we take turns fighting the urge to send,” Swoboda says. 

They’re not the only ones in the learning/experience/events space, either:
“The event and experience ticketing space is pretty crowded with some big names like Eventbrite, Meetup, Ticketfly, Ticketmaster and even the relatively recent addition of Airbnb,” says Swoboda. “However, the local event ticketing and marketing space is a bit smaller, led by Chicago-based Groupon. Other competitors like Coursehorse, Vimbly and Zozi have partnered with larger companies or moved to SaaS platforms and don’t seem to directly compete.”

There’s one big competitor out West, though: San Francisco-based Verlocal. They launched a little more than two years ago, says Swoboda, and “raised a bit more funding out of the gates.” Since then, “they’ve grown aggressively to 15-plus US markets, expanded with a handmade marketplace and are pushing local services (hair, nails, etc.) and a social network.” But they’re not where Dabble is: Although they’ve grabbed a lot of the market, they still haven’t been able to crack into Chicago, Denver and St. Louis.

All that aside, Dabble occupies a unique position in its world: By focusing on class and experience ticketing and marketing, they occupy a niche that other companies orbit. “As a result we have the No. 1 spot on Google when it comes to anyone searching for ‘classes’ in Chicago, Denver and St. Louis without having to spend a dime on SEO/SEM,” says Swoboda.

Dabble
A Dabble cocktail course.

Passing the Torch

When Swoboda took over as Chief Dabbler in 2014, he was ready for a challenge. “Growing up without a lot of resources on a working Missouri farm as one of 13 kids will prepare you for just about anything,” he says. “I’ve been financially independent since I was 14 and had started six companies in the nonprofit sector and sustainability space before taking over Dabble in 2014. I’ve learned to be self-sufficient but also to really appreciate the lucky hand I’ve been given.”  

Despite their difficulties, Swoboda sees big things ahead for the company. “Dabble has come a long way over the past five years, but we’ve got a lot of things we can still do and improve upon. I’m incredibly encouraged that we’re growing so well (75% YTD over 2015) with such a limited geographical footprint and a lot of opportunity with our tech.

In December 2016, the company had just listed their 10,000th in-person class or experience, “which truly demonstrates the depth of skill and passion among our teacher network around the US.”

And more funding is coming through: “We raised $1.5 million in equity [in 2016] and $2.25 million to date and are raising a new round to keep growing our monthly revenue beyond the $50,000 per month average to keep growing our community to hit 100,000 users in early 2017,” says Swoboda.

Speaking of the users, who exactly are Dabblers? “It changes from city to city, but the overwhelming demographic of the Dabble user is a 25- to 40-year-old professional woman,” says Swoboda. “They love to explore their city, mix up their routine and even share their skills building their own businesses. Dabble is a tremendous resource for them and they support us in a huge way. They are our best ambassadors for Dabble and push us to continue to improve and bring new experiences to the community.”

What’s Next

If we can secure the resources to keep growing Dabble, we are pushing hard for an expansion across the US through some national partnerships as well as the organic demand for authentic and affordable local experiences,” he says. “We’re building a seamless and simple product for anyone looking to host and promote events anywhere that is more affordable than the competition and, more importantly, tied to data-driven marketing technology to actually market listed events driving revenue and loyal customers.” 

As far as all this means to its users: “I believe that Dabble can become the de facto site for monetizing your side hustle and finding cool things to try in your local community,” says Swoboda. “My search for someone to teach me how to build an oak cask and to learn to plaster led me to Dabble. What can it lead you to? There is so much knowledge in the world that is not being shared, and I would love for Dabble to be such a repository of skills and knowledge.

Dabble seeks to empower lifelong learning, and I believe such a vision can inspire millions of people to share their skills and break up their routine through one-time classes and experiences.”

Part of the platform is bringing the local aspect to a globalized world, where it seems like you can learn anything with a quick Google search. “There is inherently a very local network effect required for Dabble to flourish on a global scale, but through my travels and our team’s work, we’re making the world more local every day empowering human connection through Dabble experiences,” says Swoboda.

Jan 24

Getting a Move on: How Label Insight Found its Path to Growth in Downtown St. Louis

Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)

In December, 2013, Label Insight and T-REX parted ways. The company, after a year-long stint incubating at T-REX, had grown exponentially. It was clear that after raising millions of dollars and doubling the number of employees, Label Insight was ready to grow into its own space. But striking out on their own in no way meant dissolving the close ties they developed with T-REX–it would become quite the opposite.

The rate of growth Label Insight experienced had much to do with environment. Co-founder Dheeraj Patri shares credit with the community of which he had become a part. “Really it was the desire and commitment by Arch Grants and T-REX communities to get us more involved. The community really propped us up and forced us–to the best of their ability–to be as successful as we can [be],” he said. So to continue their rapid growth Label Insight had to do two things: move out and stay close.   

A Data-Driven Mission

Label Insight, now growing by leaps and bounds, focuses on deeply understanding the makeup of all Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs). This includes everything from food to shampoo. “We look at ourselves as a cloud product label data refinery platform,” co-founder Dheeraj Patri says. “And what we do is we take this datum and we digitize it. By looking at patterns in this data, we are able to understand deeply what is actually in a product.”

Photo courtesy of Label Insight

This is significant because Label Insight’s customers are in the industry. Their work is not to dictate to any entity what to or to not do. It has no regulatory ambition. However, Label Insight uncovers facts and discloses them, letting the data speak. “Our purpose is really about transparency,” says Patri. “And our mission centers around transparency–to provide transparency through data, that is our core mission.” Through the work, Label Insight started with a mission and has taken off.

At a Crossroads

Label Insight wasn’t always a multi-located, 70+ employee company that creates strategic alliances with big names such as the FDA and Nielsen. Long before Label Insight came to be, Anton Xavier, Dagan Xavier, and Dheeraj Patri were looking for a solution. The Xavier brothers’ father experienced a health scare and wanted to alter his diet. But the incident and their attempts to help made the friends keenly aware of how inscrutable product labels are. That provided the impetus for the trio’s business venture. The goal was transparency. From there, the company set out to gather, log, analyze and digitize data.

This began in 2008 and though the work was compelling, the business hadn’t taken off. The three worked in various parts of the globe and gathered periodically as they built out the company. Patri, being the only member in the US, was not tied to any particular city, so when the opportunity came, he and his family moved to St. Louis.

“The reason we came to St. Louis is really because my wife got a job opportunity here. We were at a crossroads where I really wasn’t making money in the business, and I either needed to get a “real” job, or maybe we move to St. Louis. And why not? She’s from St. Louis. It’s a great place. We have children too, and we would have support from her parents as well because they continue to live here,” he said.

Little did Patri know that working from his in-laws’ St. Louis basement had in fact positioned him and the Label Insight company well. “In early 2012, my business partner Anton Xavier sent me an email from an article talking about this startup business competition,” Patri says. “They were giving out $50,000 equity free. Our perspective was, ‘Well, it’s in St. Louis. Why don’t we do that?” We applied, but we had no belief we’d actually win.’ Yet, they did.

Turning Point

Label Insight, then named Food Essentials, was part of Arch Grants’ inaugural class in 2012. This was a pivotal moment for the company. Winning included not just the $50,000 grant, but also access to resources, networking, publicity and affordable office space at T-REX. It was an infusion of money and resources, but being a part of Arch Grants also gave Patri and his partners some harder to quantify advantages.

“Most important, even though capital is very welcome, is the [sense that] you are actually doing something meaningful. That confidence you get from someone actually awarding you something like that is huge. It made us be more aggressive as well as believe in ourselves more. It was a turning point in our company because of that,” he said.

That June, Label Insight began working out of T-REX, in its original location in the Macy’s Building (also known as the Railway Exchange) Downtown. Patri worked from the space by himself, since the Xaviers weren’t living in the U.S. at the time. But he was not alone. T-REX intentionally creates an environment that facilitates interactions among its tenants and the startup community.

Those connections, cultivated organically and set up strategically, had an exponential impact on Label Insight. At T-REX, Patri explains, they began to gain an “understanding [that] there are other people who are in the same boat as us. [The space was] creating an ability to go down and walk across the hallway to talk to, maybe not the same companies, but similar stage companies and really bond and understand and help each other out. On top of that, there was a lot of publicity and outreach to the business community in Downtown St. Louis,” Patri says.

Label Insight team

The Label Insight team in its office in the Curlee Building across 10th Street from T-REX.

Label Insight team

Label Insight Label Insight
Label Insight Label Insight
Label Insight

Label Insight team at the company’s office in Downtown St. Louis

Label Insight

With a boost from Arch Grants, T-REX, and the startup community as a whole, Label Insight began to grow. By 2013 they had joined Capital Innovators, had closed an early seed round led by Cultivation Capital, and continued to raise funds.

Not Goodbye, See You Later

But Label Insight’s funds weren’t the only things that were growing. Operationally, they were gearing up. They knew their time working out of T-REX was nearing an end, once they hit more than 10 employees. The timing, once again, was favorable. T-REX had plans to relocate to the Washington Avenue loft district to the Lammert Building, which it acquired in 2013. Rather than move twice, Label Insight coordinated to move a few weeks ahead of the organization, officially parting ways. But they didn’t move far.

Thriving as a company meant a lot of change for Label Insight, but one thing they were dedicated to keeping constant was community. They sought out real estate that would be proximal to T-REX and found it in the Curlee Building. After each moved, T-REX and Label Insight were next door neighbors, the ideal kind who gather together and look out for each others’ best interests.

Label InsightLabel Insight’s team in 2016. | Photo via LabelInsight.com

Now Label Insight is established, and they are in a position to give back and make a greater impact within the local startup scene. Currently, Patri and the company is asking, “How can the startup ecosystem allow, especially engineers and the technical people, to come down and see what we’re up to and to use that as a way to attract talent? How can we get them to stay in St. Louis instead of them going to the coasts or Chicago and realize there’s a great ecosystem in downtown that they can be apart of that’s growing?”

The answer to Patri’s questions: plan for growth.

In the near term, the company plans to begin sponsoring events held at T-REX. Hosting and gathering entrepreneurial minded and talented people at T-REX, Patri hopes will showcase all the promising opportunities and existing culture the area has, thereby stoking more growth and retention for St. Louis. Increased awareness and and influx of talent in the community will benefit the entire region, and will, of course, benefit Label Insight as well. They have their sights set on expanding and are continuing to grow the St. Louis office. “We’re hiring and we’re hiring locally, which definitely means in St. Louis. We think of St. Louis as our home, where we really got our big break. If there are smart people, send them our way,” he said.

You can’t get much more transparent than that, even for a company with it at the heart of its mission. To learn more about Label Insights opportunities and mission, find them on the web here.  

Jan 24

Adarza BioSystems Closes on $17 Million – What’s Next for the Life Science Startup

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

On January 19, startup Adarza BioSystems, Inc,  based in St. Louis and Rochester, New York, closed on $17 Million in Series C financing and announced that new president Bryan Witherbee is replacing retiring CEO Dr. Rand Henke. This funding round is led by St. Louis-based later-stage life science fund, 3×5 RiverVest Fund II, LP out of RiverVest Venture Partners. Less than a year ago, Adarza closed on $5 Million in Series B financing led by Cultivation Capital Life Science Fund, Lewis and Clark Ventures and the Venture Capital Unit of Siemens. Local investment and the availability of premium talent in science and engineering brought Adarza BioSystems to St. Louis and continues to contribute to its growth.

What Adarza Does

Adarza BioSystems, Inc. is a label-free platform technology that enables the simultaneous detection of hundreds of analytes in a single drop of fluid. New president Brian Witherbee explains the meaning of “label-free” in this context. He says, “Our technology provides a way to accurately measure different proteins in your sample (blood, cultured media, sputum, etc.) in its native form as it exists in nature. Other competing technologies need to have non-native forms of the proteins modified (labeled) with a chemical in order for them to be accurately measured. By not modifying the protein of interest our AIR technology is both sensitive and accurate.”

Adarza’s approach is better for patients and improves the quality of testing outcomes. Witherbee continued, “Our tool allows the researcher to take one sample and 400 different measurements. As we’re entering this realm where we are starting to understand the biology around cancer, having a tool like this where you can multiplex and get a good overview of what is going on in a human system gives more options to the clinician to be able to successfully treat it with drugs and other therapies.

About the technology

Adarza’s AIR (Arrayed Imaging Reflectometry) Platform distinguishes their approach from their competitors because it separates each analyte, removing the risk of cross-reactivity. Witherbee said, “One of the things that is unique about our tool is that with some of the other technologies there is opportunity that you could get mixed results, because of cross-reactivity where as with the Adarza AIR there is 0% cross-reactivity.” Cross-reactivity results in inconclusive results due to unintentional mixing of the analytes.

The AIR Platform process begins with the application of the sample to a silicone chip and incubating it. A rinse and dry step results in an image produced by suppressing background illumination in order to reveal hidden detail on the chip. Within minutes, the image reveals its first results for analysis.

The Backstory

Adarza BioSystems was founded in 2008 by Dr. Benjamin Miller, Professor of Dermatology,  at University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.  Miller serves as Chairman of Adarza BioSystems’ Scientific Board. Witherbee said, ” Miller has been the driving force to a lot of the early observations and development of the technology. Rand Henke, retired CEO, started working with the technology and over the years the intellectual property was licensed to Adarza.”

Rochester is a likely place to have started an immunoassay imaging company. As the home of Eastman Kodak Company and Xerox, there are many people in the area with scientific knowledge about imaging. Witherbee said, “This technology got developed out of a place where imaging technology has been in development for a long time. There is a lot of entrepreneurial effort around imaging. The work that has come out of High Tech Rochester has pushed and helped enable some of these technologies.”

Why move to St. Louis?

Adarza BioSystems moved to O’Fallon, MO in January 2015 as a result of Series A funding. They found BioGenerator, an accelerator focused on cultivating a thriving biosciences sector in St. Louis. As they worked to assemble Series B funding, they found a lot of support in the area.  Witherbee said, “We are here because of a lot of efforts by different investment groups–at first Cultivation Capital, Lewis & Clark Ventures and BioGenerator and now RiverVest–all local community investors looking to further invest into St. Louis. They are helping to move those companies along and provide their experience in terms of tools and connections as well as obviously the financing.”

St. Louis offers substantial assets in the area of scientific human resources as well.  Witherbee said, “One of the nice things about being located here in St. Louis is that there is a wealth of great scientists and engineers here. There have been a lot of scientists here over the years with Monsanto, and Pfizer was here for a long time, so there are a lot of scientists here that have drug discovery experience. That’s exciting for Adarza because we’ll be able to tap into that experience.” Today, Adarza has about 20 employees.

What’s next?

Closing on Series C funding is clearly a step in a great direction for Adarza Biosystems. According to the press release, proceeds from the financing will be used to further expand production capacity in its St. Peters, MO manufacturing facility and fund final development and commercialization of Adarza’s first immunoassay product consumable and instrument platform. The company is also continuing to explore how to commercialize their product. Witherbee said, “We’re still trying to get to the voice of the customer. We want to know what is tough in utilizing these technologies for researchers and how we can make the experience easier. We are still doing the development, which makes it a critical time for us to listen.”

Witherbee sees his new role as taking Adarza’s product to the next level. He said, “Adarza has done a great job of understanding and developing this unique and exciting technology. Now I need to help focus the company on delivering a commercial technology.”

Jan 24

The Scoop: Kakao wins third Good Food Award

The Scoop: Kakao wins third Good Food Award

January 24th 02:01pm, 2017

012417_kakao

The annual Good Food Awards were announced Jan. 20, and area chocolatier Kakao Chocolate has earned top honors in the confections category with its Norton Pâtés du Vin, a fruit gel made with Augusta Winery’s Norton.

The Good Food Awards are given each year to producers who “push their industries towards craftsmanship and sustainability while enhancing our agricultural landscape and building strong communities,” according to the nonprofit’s website.

Owner Brian Pelletier said this award, Kakao’s third in four years, is especially meaningful. “That was really important to me, personally, because it told everyone that this isn’t a cake walk, that every year it gets tougher, that we have to keep our game up,” he said.

Pelletier said he was also proud to win with a Missouri Norton. “We do everything we can do locally to support the economy, but also because there’s great stuff around here,” he said. “I’m in California right now for the award in the middle of wine country, and to be able to say there’s a lot of great wine in Missouri is really fun.”

Other Missouri winners include Patric Chocolate of Columbia, Springfield’s Askinosie Chocolate and Kansas City Canning Co.

Related Content
The Scoop: Two specialty food businesses launch in St. Louis area

Big Kids in a Candy Shop: How St. Louis chocolatiers are raising the bar

By Sam Flaster

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jan 24

Mosque, Single-Family Homes Approved in St. Louis City Historic Districts

St. Louis City is home to an immense treasure trove of historic districts, landmarks, and architecture. There are city landmarks, national register listings, national historic districts, local historic districts, and more. It’s a lot to keep track of (National designations are important primarily because they confer access to tax credits). Local districts are the only ones to confer any real protection against alteration or demolition.

The relevant point here is that if you want to demolish, renovate, or build in a local historic district you’re going to land at the city’s Cultural Resources Office and seek the approval of the appointed Preservation Board. The board has a good track record of protecting the historic integrity of buildings and neighborhoods. In real life, this means the board often reaffirms simple rules, such as, that no, you cannot install a Home Depot door on your 1895 Benton Park home.

And on big decisions (see The People v. SLU regarding the Pevely Dairy complex) politics can sometimes carry the day. Still,  common sense typically rules the outcomes each month. This week, two single-family homes (Lafayette Square and Benton Park historic districts) and a mosque (McKinley Heights historic district) were approved by the board.

_______________________________

1212 Dolman Street – Lafayette Square Local Historic District

The Proposal:
This single-family house, on the east side of Dolman Street, follows a Historic Model Example as required by the Lafayette Square Standards. However, the design includes a large side porch, based generally upon a similar porch that was approved by the Preservation Board for another new house constructed at 1722 Carroll Street in 2015.

_______________________________

2843 South 18th Street – Benton Park Local Historic District

The Proposal:
The applicant proposes to construct one single-family residence at 2843 South 18th Street, in the Benton Park Local and National Register District.

_______________________________

2623 Allen Avenue – McKinley Heights Local Historic District

The Proposal:
This is a preliminary review application to construct a new mosque with parking.

Jan 23

100 Apartments, Retail, Planned for 6300 Clayton Avenue in Dogtown

A proposal for the long-vacant lumber yard would bring 100 market-rate apartments and 15,000 sf of retail space to the center of the city’s Dogtown neighborhood. The $20M proposal by Pearl Companies of Indianapolis appears similar to its Trail Side project along the Cultural Trail in that city.

The Pearl project attempts to address parking concerns with 123 underground spaces to serve the 89 1BD and 11 2BD units. Proposed commercial is shown as an 11K sf and 4,500sf spaces fronting Clayton Avenue. At five stories, the project will require a variance to proceed. A half-block on either side of the site (Google Maps) sits a four-story mixed-use infill project and a five-story parking garage now owned by the St. Louis Zoo.

In St. Louis, this means the developer will seek the endorsement of the neighborhood association and alderman. Although a 2013 proposal for 63 apartments on the site was approved by the neighborhood, conditions placed on the project regarding parking and building materials led the developer to choose not to proceed.

The new proposal will be presented to the Clayton-Tamm Community Association January 26. Pearl Companies has the site under contract and will be seeking support for tax abatement as well.

  {Trail Side in Indianapolis by Pearl Companies – 69 apartments over parking, with 20K sf of retail space fronting the Indianapolis Cultural Trail}

The 2013 proposal for 6300 Clayton Avenue:

Jan 20

The Scoop: Katie’s Pizza & Pasta to open Town & Country location

The Scoop: Katie’s Pizza & Pasta to open Town & Country location

January 20th 04:01pm, 2017

070815_katies_gregrannells

Katie and Ted Collier, owners of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta, will take their popular concept west. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, the duo will open a second Katie’s location at 14173 Clayton Road in Town & Country.

Katie Collier said the space, which once housed Einstein Bros. Bagels and the adjacent storefront, will undergo a complete gut rehab. The end result will be approximately 1,000 square feet larger than the Rock Hill location with seating for around 100 inside and 40 seats on the soon-to-be-built patio.

The Colliers spent two years searching for just the right spot. Collier said there were many reasons the Town & Country location was attractive, including plenty of parking, a lack of other pizza and pasta places and a thriving restaurant community.

“The area has a lot of great restaurants that do really well,” she said. “We thought we would be a good complement to them.”

The restaurant will have the same seasonal focus and share the same menu as the Rock Hill location. Collier said she hopes for a late spring or early summer opening.

Editor’s Note: This post originally incorrectly reported the new location’s address. It was updated at 10:15 a.m. Jan. 23 to correct the error. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Pizzeoli owner to open Pizza Head on South Grand

The Scoop: Salt & Smoke to open second location in Southampton

The Scoop: Half & Half to open second location in Webster Groves 

By Matt Sorrell

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 18

Introducing STLTechMap: A New Interactive Ecosystem Map for St. Louis

Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

Ever since EQ published our ecosystem map as a printed infographic a couple of years ago, we have received great feedback. People have told us they hang it on their office walls for reference and print and share it in meetings or presentations. Seeing the response to our map and ITEN’s map, it’s not surprising to us that the Kauffman Foundation has said that mapping your startup ecosystem is a strategy to strengthen it.

While it felt great to provide the map as a resource, however, we knew that if it were to truly serve as such, it needed to become something dramatically different.

St. Louis Startup Ecosystem Map

Our printed posters were immediately outdated when, the week after we printed copies, another new accelerator launched, already rendering the map out of date. While our printed maps provided a nice birds-eye view of the community, it couldn’t by its very nature allow users to filter content or read more about specific organizations, much less contribute content themselves. Additionally, the finite space of our printed map could in no way accommodate the central part of our tech community—the startups themselves!

In short, our map needed to more truly reflect the nature of our startup ecosystem itself: always evolving and interactive, with an opportunity for everyone to contribute. 

And now it’s here!

Today we introduce STLTechMap.com.

STL Tech Map

Our goal with STLTechMap is to provide easy access to navigating St. Louis’ high-tech scene. Want to peruse programs and networks you can become involved with to push your idea forward? Looking for a list of startups in various industries in St. Louis? Whether you’re a startup CEO, an investor, an out-of-town visitor, an ESO leader or job seeker, let the map be your guide to understanding St. Louis’ startup community and finding the resources you need.

EQ’s Role

EQ has kicked off the content for the map by adding over 250 pins across 14 categories, from Incubators and Accelerators to Co-working and Startups. Thanks to the sponsorship from Cortex Innovation Community, EQ has been able to dedicate hours and resources to getting the map set up and launched–and we will continue adding new pins and moderating user-generated content. We will also send quarterly requests for updates to organizations and apply other methods to ensure the content is as up-to-date as possible.

But We Need Your Help, Too

  • This map is crowdsourced, so encourage startups and other organizations to add themselves to the map. Startups need only have an STL office to make it onto the map.
  • If you are a startup founder, ESO leader or communications manager of an organization already on the map, “claim” your pin to update your information, add photos and post job listings (more on this below).
  • Promote the map to your networks to help tell St. Louis’ startup story. Unlike many cities, St. Louis has multiple innovation districts, and this map tells a visual story about our region.

Why Claim Your Organization on the Map?

Organizations that “Claim” their listing can not only keep their profiles up to date; they can also add job listings for free. Users (read: passive and active job seekers interested in the startup community) can navigate to the Jobs section of the map and see the job listings there. This will temporarily replace EQ’s TEQJobs board. We’d like to see if users utilize this free resource, and if having it integrated into the map helps with engagement by both companies and job seekers.

By claiming your listing, you can also post events to your organization’s page (note: this is a separate events listing from EQ’s main calendar; we will maintain both calendars for a period of time to compare engagement).

We hope you utilize the map–and share widely with your networks–to help the ecosystem continue to grow in 2017.

For question on how to perform certain functions, see below. Otherwise, enjoy the map and we look forward to feedback along the way!

-EQ


STLTechMap “How To” FAQs:

How to add a company or organization to the map:

To add a new company, click “ADD TO MAP.” You’ll be prompted to sign in or create a free account to be able to add listings. You do not need to be the owner or manager of the company to pin a company. EQ moderates all new pin additions. The organization’s owner or communications manager can then “claim” their listing to keep it updated.

How to update an existing pin on the map:

Navigate to the pin’s description page and click “Claim Place.” You’ll be prompted to sign in or create a free account. EQ moderates all requests to claim pins. Please allow up to 24 hours for these approvals (though we aim to do these much more quickly).

How to share a listing on social media:

Navigate to the pin’s description page and click the small “Share” button on the right of the description. You can then choose to share on social media or via email and other channels.

What if my organization is already on the map but I see the information is out of date?

Claim your pin (see above) to update the information, or forward it to someone in your organization who is empowered to do so.

Where to send other feedback on the map: editors@eqstl.com. Please allow up to 48 hours for a response.

Map data compiled by Olive Elwell and Kelly Hamilton