Monday, March 29, 2010

St. Louis And Pittsburgh

First note, I'm sticking with the series about competitive St. Louis for today and tomorrow. Second note is that anyone concerned about shrinking cities should watch the two online videos about the turnaround in Pittsburgh. Also via Chris Briem, astounding changes in Tioga County:

Edward Trask, a retired nonprofit executive who grew up near Mansfield, is arranging $18 million in financing for a restaurant, a motel, and permanent housing for gas workers on his family's 160-acre farm.

Tioga County is experiencing its first population increase in a century, he said.

"There are so many opportunities to make money from this," said Trask, who lives near Harrisburg. "This is such a shock to the system."

For sure, plenty of strange-but-true migration tales out there right now.

Related to the two videos and yesterday's post, St. Louis as desirable destination:

Right now, St. Louis is not on the list.

You know, the list of cities where things happen. Those magnets for smart, creative people, where talent, innovation and capital generate new ideas, new companies, new industries. Places such as Seattle; Raleigh, N.C.; Austin, Texas; and Boston. Places where the new economy is being built.

"We're not really on the radar in terms of hip and happening places," said Jeff Vines, an area entrepreneur.

Before I remark on that passage, a comment on the first article in the series:

When I told friends I was moving to STL for school, every single person wrinkled their nose and asked why. I have never received a compliment on my decision to move here.

I can assure you that my passion for Pittsburgh generates a similar reaction. What Rust Belt cities are on the radar in terms of hip and happening places? I'd offer up Minneapolis as a city that has morphed during my twentysomething years, around the same time Grunge Seattle got big (as well as Slacker Austin).

My guess is that Pittsburgh is going to emerge from this recession like both Seattle and Minneapolis did in the early 1990s. Keep in mind that the economic landscape now will look a lot different from dotcom boom. I'm not expecting another talent migration rush. That would seem to suit Good Enough Pittsburgh.

As for St. Louis, time to lay the groundwork for the next economic reset. I hope locals will take the Post-Dispatch series to heart, in a constructive fashion. Also, I have no idea what might be already in the pipeline for this region. I'm not aware of any St. Louis buzz, but I'm not looking for it either.

1 comment:

Daron said...

St. Louis could generate buzz over the National Park Services competition to reconnect the arch to the city, the plan to remove a highway downtown by a group called City to River, and the idea that downtown could be a nice place to live. This should all come together in the next five years.

There's also something called NorthSide which is a very large TIF funded project by a private developer to put in two job centers adjacent to downtown. Most people doubt the success of this, but are trying to not be too negative.

There's an emerging cultural arts district in the center of the city connected to a university and a retail street with a complete streets overhaul and a new bridge connecting it all to light rail below and BRT above.

There's a nexus of sorts of various biotech related venture and angel capital, incubators, mentoring groups, and start-up types. St. Louis does pull in a lot of biologists. The expansion of the Danforth Plant Science Center and their adjoining office parks and the integration of Express Scripts into the campus of a university is supposed to bear fruit in time. Washington University's medical school has been pulling in grant money like crazy and they've been hiring lots of people.

I've heard a few stories of medical devices and other expensive and technical start-up companies moving to St. Louis to get their start, but I'm sure every city can claim that.

that's the main stuff, I think is in the pipe.

I've yet to see much come of it, but this this interesting place called the CORTEX District that seems to have some promise,

It's part of a bigger Missouri strategy,