Financial fallout in St. Louis, Mo.
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Kai Ryssdal: There’s a stretch of DelMar Boulevard here in St. Louis that gets right at the heart of credit in this economy. What can happen when you can get some? And what happens to a city when you can’t?
The Loop is six blocks long — west of downtown, right near Washington University. Three decades ago — years ago it was seedy, to be kind. Today there are 140 businesses in that six-block stretch.
One of the first of those businesses was a restaurant, Blueberry Hill, that developer Joe Edwards opened 36 years ago. It and most of the other businesses nearby haven’t been really been hit yet, but Edwards knows it’s coming.
Joe Edwards: We talk and we see it every day with our customers and hear their stories we are in trouble. Some are losing their homes, some are losing their jobs. Some just barely can get by.
Edwards has a new hotel in the works — just managed to nail down the financing for it before credit got tight. But the city, he says, hasn’t had such great timing.
Joe Edwards: If this economic downturn hadn’t happened, St. Louis was poised with so many projects to keep going. And then this economy where people can’t get credit much put a hold on many projects which is really sad.
You don’t have to look to far to find one of those projects. When the new baseball stadium opened here two years ago, they tore the old one down to build $650-million mixed-use development.
Our guide on this very short tour is development consultant Brad Beggs.
Brad Beggs: You have about six square blocks of area and it just a bunch a straw that they covered to protect grass seeds. But right now is just looks like a field full of straw.
Steve Bishop: We are standing along side of our Tums bottle line No.1, where we are producing assorted smoothies tums. This line is operated by three associates and it produces somewhere around 1500 cases per shift in a 10-hour shift.
That’s Steve Bishop, the perfect way to end this story about collective credit heartburn. He runs the only factory in the country where Tums are made — six billion of them every year.
In a city where the unemployment rate is 7.2 percent and a state where it’s the worst it’s been in 17 years, at least in part because Wall Street helped set American down the Road to Ruin.
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