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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “economic development”

McKee Again

The Paul McKee effort on the north side of St. Louis appears to be going nowhere. I have been a fan of Mr. McKee and was impressed with his work at Winghaven in St. Charles County. I still believe him to be a sincere person.

The project he tried to undertake in St. Louis may have been too big for anyone to handle and he faced obstacles of community and political resistance. He certainly made his share of mistakes, especially in not engaging the community in a better manner. Nevertheless, he has not lived up to his commitment, has rehabbed almost no houses, and has needed the Geospatial Project buying out his properties to save him. Too bad. Written by Paul Dribin

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Economic Development Agencies in the St. Louis Region

The Business Journal published an important but superficial article this week on the plethora of development agencies in the St. Louis area, the large amount of dollars they spend, and the poor results they achieve. Sounds like a recipe for madness, but we go on our merry way. I give the Economic Development Council of St. Charles County some high marks, but that is the only agency I would give that mark to. The St. Louis County group is especially suspect. In the end, development agencies don’t bring business, overall government policies and the desire of business owners is what matters. Written by Paul Dribin

River Port in Lincoln County

Lincoln County is working hard to develop a new port on the Missouri River. Many people including me consider this to be a poor idea. First, we do not need another port. If successful, it will only steal business from other ports in the region. Second, it will be an environmental disaster. I don’t know who thinks of these things. Written by Paul Dribin

Soccer Stadium in St. Louis

For once the sports crowd seems to be going about developing a soccer stadium the right way. The Taylor and Kavanaugh families are putting their own money into it and relying on the city and state providing support through tax write offs. The bulk of the funding is private money.

What is interesting is that Kavanaugh was part of the previous team that sought large government handouts. It shows that voting no can work. Written by Paul Dribin

The Real Cause of Vacancies in St. Louis

At the suggestion of Todd Swanstrom, I read a book by his colleague titled Housing Dynamics in Northeast Ohio by Thomas E. Bier. The book written about the Cleveland area is also applicable to St. Louis and many other cities.

The argument in the book backed by data is that vacancies occur when there is an oversupply of housing in the region. This oversupply of housing occurs because developers are looking to profit by building more housing, and land is cheaper in the suburbs. The author points out that when there is an oversupply the oldest, most worn out housing loses all market desirability and becomes vacant. The problem is made worse because developers can more economically build in the suburbs and the infrastructure in the suburbs is stronger.

This plays out when we look at the north side of St. Louis. There will only be a turnaround if the city figures out how to streamline its development requirements, crime is controlled, and schools turn around. In addition a marketing campaign to young people around the company would help. We could offer free housing and lots of land. Written by Paul Dribin

Loop Trolley Debacle

The Loop Trolley in test runs has twice hit autos , knocking mirrors off of cars in minor accidents. Apologists say people did not park right. That is the point, we should not require perfection for the system to work. Written by Paul Dribin

Dysfunctional County Government

Is this dysfunctional or what. County Executive Steve Stenger an the County Council have each appointed a different board to the Port Authority. This authority is a cash cow and the two sides will battle it out in court. I don’t know the right answer, but this is ridiculous. Written by Paul Dribin

Loop Trolley: Update, the Good, Bad, Ugly and Beautiful

The trolley situation is still a mess. KWMU had a story which documented the large number of businesses which have gone out of business, at least partly due to the trolley construction. Also, The Riverfront Times published an article about the fact that the automatic ticket machines for the trolley are in before the trolley itself and these machines do not make change. An individual who needed change would need to send in the receipt through the mail and wait for change from the Trolley Association by mail. Overall, the whole thing still seems like a fiasco. One piece of good news, the Loop Business Association has hired Rachelle L’Ecuyer as Executive Director. She is top notch and has done a great job as Economic Development Director in Maplewood. I wonder how long it will take her to clash with Joe Edwards. Written by Paul Dribin

Positive Commercial Real Estate Trends in St. Louis

The commercial real estate trend in St. Louis is positive. This is from information gathered from a report from the St. Louis Business Journal. Cortex is accounting for a significant share of the success. The only damper is that wages have not increased and I believe the growth has had almost no effect on the north side. Written by Paul Dribin

Cortex

The Cortex Tech Development Corridor is a great success. My hats off to all involved. St. Louis is really growing as a tech center and positively utilizing the resources of our educational institutions.

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