ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies broke ground this morning on Ballpark Village, a mixed-use development on 10-acres adjacent to Busch Stadium. A group of team officials, project participants, and civic leaders commenced work on the $100 million first-phase of the development with the symbolic turning of dirt with commemorative shovels.
"We are excited to break ground on this project as we look forward to Opening Day 2014," said Bill DeWitt Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the St. Louis Cardinals. "Ballpark Village promises to be a great extension of the Cardinals brand, providing the best fans in the game with an unrivaled downtown experience every day of the year."
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on the exact spot that will be transformed into the vibrant heart of the district – a location that in just over a year’s time will house over 100,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space including Cardinals Nation, the Budweiser Brew House, and the Live! At Ballpark Village marketplace.
Cardinals Nation will be a first-of-its-kind venue in baseball totaling over 30,000 square feet on three levels. It will include a two story restaurant, a retail store, a Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, a special events space, and a 300-plus seat, ticketed rooftop deck with views into Busch Stadium. A second building will house a 20,000 square foot three-story Budweiser Brew House with a festive rooftop party deck also offering views into Busch Stadium.
The two signature structures will be joined by the Live! At Ballpark Village marketplace, an indoor marketplace with a retractable canopy covering the event space, designed to be a vibrant gathering space throughout the year for thousands of visitors.
"Ballpark Village will be a gold standard development in keeping with one of the great sports franchises and great fan bases in the world," said Blake Cordish, Vice President of Development for Cordish Companies. "We are eager to deliver a best-in-class development that captures the uniqueness of St. Louis and the Cardinals."
Ballpark Village will serve as an entertainment center for the region, attracting 6 million-plus visitors year-round. The $100 million first phase also includes all of the streets, parking and site infrastructure to support the future phases of the seven-block mixed-use project, allowing the city to market pad-ready sites ripe for development. The development team expects future phases of Ballpark Village to include additional retail and entertainment venues, as well as commercial office space and residential units.
"This is a great day for downtown St. Louis and our entire region," said Honorable Francis Slay, the Mayor of St. Louis. "Ballpark Village will now fill a vacant space with businesses, workers and residents, adding to our ‘come early, stay late,’ environment. We appreciate the Cardinals and Cordish weathering a struggling economy to bring Ballpark Village to life."
The development team remained committed to the project despite difficult economic conditions, including challenging credit markets. In order to the get the project underway, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies made additional financial commitments to the project, including committing to purchase all of the public infrastructure bonds.
"I am very grateful that our persistence has paid off," said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals. "I am thrilled to be moving into the construction phase of this project."
The project is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy with nearly a thousand construction jobs and nearly 500 permanent jobs expected to be created as part of the initial phase alone. The construction of additional phases of Ballpark Village should also have a positive impact on both the local economy and employment picture.
To assist with fostering a strong entrepreneurial economy, as well as more investment in the city, the development team made a $100,000 charitable donation to the Arch Grants effort to attract innovative start up development. The donation was made possible at closing thanks to the assistance of new market tax credits from US Bank, one of the financing partners of the project. The development team expects to make additional tenant announcements over the next year, with the first of those announcements slated for next Thursday.