Hello, MBA readers,
With the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package approved and stimulus dollars making their way into the economy, state and local governments are expecting a sizable boost. The city of St. Louis plans to receive about $500 million, which Mayor Lyda Krewson said could be “transformative” to the area. In Jefferson City, the state budget for the current fiscal year has fared better than initially projected when COVID-19 struck last year. Gov. Mike Parson recently released the last funds he had withheld at the onset of the pandemic, and lawmakers are mulling proposals for how to use unspent state funds. In Kansas City, plans are underway as one of the area’s largest employers has announced a fall return to the office. H&R Block recently said it will bring workers back to its downtown headquarters in September, which is welcome news for downtown vendors but will look different than before the pandemic for the company’s employees.
St. Louis region to receive up to $700 million of latest federal aid
Mayor Lyda Krewson called the funds coming to the St. Louis region through the latest COVID-19 relief package “transformative.” The city of St. Louis, which has a budget of about $1.1 billion, will receive an estimated $500 million after receiving $35 million in CARES Act funds. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
State budget fares better than feared amid pandemic
Missouri’s current fiscal year has been better than was projected last spring when COVID-19 first hit. With the last chunk of restricted budget released, lawmakers are contemplating one-time expenditures. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
VC firm halfway toward $50 million, Midwest-focused fund
Nebraska-based Dundee Venture Capital, which expanded to St. Louis last year, has raised more than half of the $50 million planned for its next fund to invest in seed-stage startups. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Aegion suitor increases buyout offer after unsolicited bid
New York-based private equity firm New Mountain Capital has agreed to boost its acquisition price for the Chesterfield-based infrastructure company to $27 per share, or $995 million. That’s up from $26 per share, or $963 million, after Aegion got an unsolicited bid from another firm. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
EDZ Systems introduces tool to help manage attorney compensation
The Kansas City-area software company plans to release a tool next month to help law firms measure attorneys’ profitability and manage their compensation. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Lewis & Clark AgriFood names new managing director
The St. Louis investment firm, an offshoot of Lewis & Clark Partners, named Tim Hassler to its three-person team of managing directors. (St. Louis Business Journal)
St. Louis entrepreneur celebrates third startup sale
The acquisition of 7-year-old software company TopOpps by Silicon Valley firm Xactly marks the third time Jim Emberlin has sold a tech startup he founded. Previously, he started and sold Host Analytics and GainSight. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Say that again
“It’s like the first day of school. People are going to lay out their outfits and get dolled up. It’s going to be like prom day. It’s just been so long since we’ve seen each other.”
That’s Nathaniel Newbill, who works for H&R Block in Kansas City, speaking about the excitement he feels over returning to work in the company’s downtown office building, The Kansas City Star reports. The tax services provider recently announced plans to return to the office three days a week in the fall, allowing employees to work virtually on Mondays and Fridays. The return of H&R Block employees to their downtown office is expected to have ripple effects on other downtown businesses, which have missed the revenue they receive from the office workers. Many other downtown businesses continue to have most of their employees work remotely, and have not yet announced plans for a return to the physical workspace.
The average age of American farmers is nearly 60, KCUR reports. Farmers are aging as many younger individuals interested in purchasing farmland are saddled with student loan debt and unable to afford the investment. The American Farmland Trust has estimated that one-third of all farmland will change ownership before 2035, due to the aging population of farmers. Although about 80% of the members of the National Young Farmers Coalition have college degrees, less than half owned all of their land, leaving them in uncertain circumstances should their leases not be renewed.
Phase 1B Tier 3 activates TODAY! This tier protects those who keep the essential functions of society running.
View the full list of eligible functions at https://t.co/WuQH357IRg
— Mo Health & Sr Srvcs (@HealthyLivingMo) March 15, 2021
More than half a million Missourians were granted eligibility to receive COVID-19 vaccines on Monday as the state transitioned into the next tier of its vaccination administration plan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Among the people who are now eligible are K-12 educators, who have long awaited vaccine eligibility in order to increase protection against the virus while conducting in-person classes. However, in some parts of the state, an abundance of people who were part of the previous group made eligible for vaccination are still awaiting their doses. Some vaccination sites have said they will continue to treat those individuals before moving to the newest group.
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Developer Fernando Cepeda’s real estate group, Neighborhood Properties, has acquired nearly three dozen properties in St. Louis since 2016, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. It has built a portfolio worth $25 million by acquiring troubled properties, largely in north and south St. Louis. The group’s latest and largest endeavor is an $80 million renovation of Jesuit Hall, which will bring 300 new apartments to the the city’s Grand Center neighborhood.