Cardinals Unveil Latest Ballpark Village Plan
The Cardinals unveiled their latest plan for Ballpark Village on Monday. It is smaller than the last one, but one that the Cardinals say is more likely to succeed.
The baseball team and its development partners showed off a 100,000-square foot retail and entertainment complex to be built north of Busch Stadium, anchored by a team Hall of Fame and big outdoor event space. On the rest of the 10-acre site, they will lay the groundwork for future development.
Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III stressed that this version is fully-financed, largely pre-leased, and attainable despite the weak economy.
“I’m excited about this,” he said. “I think our package is coming together at the right time.”
The plan includes a large building north of Busch Stadium on Clark Street. One part would hold a Cardinals Hall of Fame and themed restaurant. The rest would house restaurants, bars and other “entertainment concepts” around an open-air event space called Live Plaza. That space, which would have a retractable roof, could hold up to 150 events a year, not counting Cardinals home game-days, and serve as “a central living room for downtown,” DeWitt said.
The space is more than 80 percent spoken for, DeWitt said, though he wouldn’t name tenants yet beyond the Cardinals.
The Cardinals and co-developer Cordish Co. plan to foot most of the $100 million bill themselves. They will also buy $18 million in bonds that will be paid off with city and state taxes on the site — bonds the team had struggled to sell in earlier efforts.
“That removes a great bit of uncertainty,” DeWitt said.
The Cardinals also would build streets and sewer connections through the rest of the of the 10-acre site, but leave it as surface parking lots for now. The hope, said DeWitt, is that the site work, plus the Live Plaza, would make the site more attractive for future phases.
City officials said they were glad to see the plan. The project has always been designed to be built in phases, said Rodney Crim, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corp., and this is a good start. The Cardinals have always intended to make Ballpark Village work, he said.
“They made a commitment to do it,” he said. “And they have not wavered.”
If approvals come quickly, DeWitt said, construction could start this fall, with an opening slated for spring of 2014.