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Fighting Loneliness on Remote Teams

Remote work offers many benefits, but the lack of community – compared to in-person environments – can cause some workers to feel isolated and lonely. These feelings can impact job performance, somet… [+475 chars]

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New Apartments Pitched for Kingshighway and I-64 Seek Big Tax Break

Earlier this year, a nonprofit research center determined that in just the past six years, the tax breaks given to developers have cost St. Louis city and county public schools more than $260 million. While the tax increment financing, or TIF, districts granted by the city have become less common in recent years, many developers have shifted to tax abatements instead. NorthPoint Development, a Kansas City-based commercial real estate developer, recently applied to the St. Louis Development Corporation for tax abatement on a property halfway between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Grove district. According to city records, the abatement request is for 20 years, at 90 percent abatement for the first 10 years, and 50 percent in years 11 through 20. The developer plans for a modern-style complex with apartment unit options ranging from studios to two bedrooms at the infamous block of 1070-1092 South Kingshighway Boulevard and 4575 Oakland Avenue, where dust still settles on what many city residents consider an egregious case of demolition by neglect. Asked about their plans for the site, a spokesperson for NorthPoint Development said in a statement, “In alignment with city regulations and our commitment to safety, we secured an emergency demolition permit and began demolition of the condemned buildings on the site last month. We are currently working through the development approval process with the City of St. Louis and Forest Park Southeast as we work towards our goal of constructing a multi-family community.” The Riverfront Times requested a follow-up interview to further discuss the development, but did not hear back from NorthPoint Development. In order to obtain information regarding developer proposals, a citizen must submit a Sunshine Request through the public records center on the city website.The city has not updated its publicly available data set of tax abated parcels since 2018. Gadfly Gerry Connolly, who closely tracks development issues, sought and obtained the records in this case and shared them with the RFT. A Developer Portal exists for developers to apply for tax incentives and track the incentives process, but the public does not have access to a similar portal. The proposed tax break faces a four to six week approval process. First, the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority will review the project for initial approval of a blighting study and redevelopment plan. If approved by the LCRA, someone on the Board of Aldermen could introduce a board bill at the aldermanic session that begins on April 17. The goal of tax abatements is to incentivize development in blighted or severely underdeveloped areas. According to the Economic Justice Action Plan, the city’s economic development guide, the area near the intersection of Kingshighway and I-64 is categorized so that future development “should be geared toward supporting workforce development, small business development and encouraging affordable housing.” The developer has not stated how they plan to directly address the need for affordable housing in the area. According to 2020 census data, the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood increased in population by 19 percent since 2010, but suffered a 33 percent decrease in Black population. NorthPoint will host its next Apartments Community Engagement Meeting with an open house on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to noon at Saint Louis University High School’s Currigan Room, 4970 Oakland Avenue.

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Ben Poremba Opens New Location of AO&Co. at Contemporary Art Museum

Ben Poremba’s Bengelina Hospitality Group opened a second location of AO&Co. at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) at 3750 Washington Boulevard in Grand Center in early March. The new AO&Co. serves coffees from Quarrelsome Coffee, loose leaf teas from Firepot Tea, and a menu of salads and sandwiches featuring items from Poremba’s other restaurants, including Olio and Deli Divine. Poremba says the idea to bring AO&Co. to CAM came about partly thanks to his business partners’ long-term involvement with the museum. “There was always a synergy between us and the museum with visiting artists and that sort of thing, we’ve always encouraged creatives to come to Olio and Elaia and all of our other spots,” he says. “We’ve always kind of joked around about we should be doing this, we should put a little cafe in there, it just took some time to realize what we want to do there.” Given the museum setting, it’s not surprising that this AO&Co. is strictly a cafe. The original AO&Co., which opened in Botanical Heights in 2019, features a market selling a variety of fine foods, drinks and cigars in addition to its cafe service. At CAM, AO&Co. has taken over the museum’s former cafe space and made some limited cosmetic adjustments. “We wanted to bring a little pop of color, we’ve changed all the furniture, we brought in some new equipment, we rearranged the counter and cut the height of it, we changed the top of it,” Poremba says. The coffee program at the CAM location includes drip coffee and espresso drinks, as well as three pour-over coffee options featuring Guatemalan, Honduran and Costa Rican beans from Quarrelsome Coffee. The drink menu also includes canned cold brew from Sump Coffee, as well as a range of loose leaf teas from Firepot Tea, sister brand to Kaldi’s Coffee. Poremba says he’s been impressed by Quarrelsome’s innovative use of anaerobic fermentation techniques in processing its coffee beans, and he’s keen to showcase the Central West End-based roastery’s coffees at CAM. “We feel like they are a great partner for that space, just because of the quality of their coffee and the cutting-edge stuff that they do,” he says. “I love the coffee shop, I love their stuff, I like the people, but beyond that I’m just interested in what they’re doing … That’s the stuff that excites me about this industry, being a veteran and being at it for 25 years opening and closing restaurants, and I’m still learning and I’m still getting excited about things that are happening around us.” AO&Co. is open when the museum is open, but food service ends at 3 p.m. For the food menu, Poremba draws on a number of items that have proven their worth elsewhere. “We thought about light breakfast fare and light lunch fare that includes some things from both AO&Co. and some favorites from our company,” he says. The breakfast menu includes yogurt parfait, a couple of egg-based breakfast sandwiches, Deli Divine bagels served either with schmear or lox, and a selection of pastries: a smoked cheddar scone, croissants, blueberry muffins, and chocolate and sea salt cookies. Lunch is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a number of items inspired by or borrowed from Poremba’s other restaurants, such as the egg salad tartine, bruschetta, and hummus King of Kings, all from Olio. There are easily shareable appetizers like the caponata or burrata plates, served with baguette, and there are salads: Choose between the little gem, wedge and tomato cucumber. Several sandwiches finish off the menu, including a prosciutto, fig and brie sandwich, ham and gruyere, tomato mozzarella, and Vito the Mooch (mortadella, sopressa and mozzarella on foccacia). AO&Co. is open during CAM’s opening hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. This story was originally published by Sauce Magazine. Slideshow At St. Louis’ Deli Divine, Nosh on Top Jewish-American Deli Fare Click to View 13 slides Related Esca Brings Coastal Mediterranean Cuisine to the Delmar Maker District: The new bar and grill is the latest from Ben Poremba’s Bengelina Hospitality Group Related Benevolent King in Maplewood to Rebrand as a Japanese Restaurant: It’s the latest shakeup in owner Ben Poremba’s ever-evolving empire Subscribe to Riverfront Times newsletters. Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS Feed

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New Jewish Theatre’s All My Sons Shows the Play’s Searing Power

Playwright Arthur Miller is considered one of the 20th century’s great American dramatists, and the pointed and heartbreaking All My Sons is arguably his most profound work. Set just after the end of World War II, the drama examines culpability and the true cost of war while raising questions about our collective responsibility to each other. The New Jewish Theatre’s riveting production captures all the tension and searing pain of the story with a naturalistic approach that finds understated grace in an untenable truth. Joe and Kate Keller are parents to two sons: Chris, who returned from the war with only psychological scars, and Larry, who went missing in action three years ago and is presumed deceased. Well, by everyone except Kate, who, with every fiber in her body, holds onto the belief that Larry will walk down the street and into their yard any day now. It’s a belief that she needs to cling to in order to keep from crumbling under the weight of her husband’s secret. Joe, a man with an amiable demeanor and fixed perspective, runs a small manufacturing plant in town that provided parts for airplanes during the war — and perhaps did not always behave honorably in that work. Son Chris begrudgingly works with him; he’s also invited Larry’s longtime girlfriend, Ann Deever, to stay with the family for a visit. They’ve become close and he intends to propose to her. That is, if family secrets, his mother’s insistence that Ann is waiting for Larry and the unexpected arrival of Ann’s brother George don’t force them apart. The characters are believably flawed and hope unravels with each revelation — some startling, some simply and painfully real. Jayson Heil captivates as the sensitive, emotionally aware Chris. He’s seen enough of war and holds plenty of questions about his father’s culpability, but he still manages to love both of his parents and want to protect them, as long as it doesn’t ruin his chance at happiness with Ann. Kristen Joy Lintveldt is charming and acquiescing as Ann; she’s clearly in love with Chris. Kind and considerate, she gently counters the whims of those around her until she’s pushed into a corner, revealing her steely resolve and determined, if slightly desperate, nature. Heil and Lintveldt create chemistry that makes you want to cheer for them despite the circumstances. Greg Johnston is stubborn, pragmatic and committed to his version of truth as Joe Keller, making his final scene all the more startling and effective. Amy Loui is both tragic and ethereal as the tenderhearted Kate Keller; the reason for her insistence on Larry’s survival is a revelatory and nuanced collapse that resonates with anguish. Joel Moses is appealingly torn as George Deever, his affection for the Keller family conflicting with his father’s truth. Joshua Mayfield and Zahria Moore give Dr. Jim Bayliss and his wife Sue authentic depth of character that adds much to the supporting roles, and Riley Capp, Summer Baer and Shane Rose capably round out the cast, adding a much-needed touch of levity. Gary Wayne Barker directs with confidence that ensures every moment, each change of emotion and circumstance, is genuine and earned. Strong technical choices and intentional action tie the show together, resulting in a memorable play that resonates with themes distant from today, yet still relevant. You may want to bring a tissue with you, but you don’t want to miss the effective and compelling All My Sons at New Jewish Theatre. Written by Arthur Miller. Directed by Gary Wayne Barker. Presented by New Jewish Theatre at the Wool Theatre (2 Millstone Campus Drive) through Sunday, April 7. Showtime varies by day, and tickets are $27 to $58. More information at jccstl.com. Related Movie Music and Jacey’s Jazz Joint Artfully Blend Cabaret and Theater: The Midnight Company continues their exploration of a new genre Related Stephen Sondheim’s Company Gets a Gender-Shifting Update at the Fox: Great songs, strong performances and inventive staging outshine a dated story Related Shakespeare in the Park Will Be Just As You Like It This Summer: The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival is also mounting The Tempest Subscribe to Riverfront Times newsletters. Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS Feed

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