It's not quite as large as originally proposed, but the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals are actually moving ahead with a Ballpark Village development adjoining Busch Stadium when financial times are bad and the credit markets tight says a lot about the ownership's perseverance. Here's the current plan.
The plan, as presented by reps of the Cards ownership and developer Cordish Co., calls for two of the seven blocks comprising the Ballpark Village site to be developed initially with a Cardinals Nation restaurant, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, a 12- or 13-story Class A office building, and retail space. The five remaining blocks would be used for surface parking.
This is considerably scaled back from the original plan for more office and retail space, as well as some residential. As such, it does fill the hole left by the demolition of the previous Busch Stadium as well as let the Cardinals fulfill the promise of additional development in the area.
It does raise some questions about how much subsidy should be spent on a project that brings no new tenants downtown. It's not confirmed, but the Post-Dispatch is reporting that Stifel Nicolas is targeted as the prime tenant for the Class A space. Stifel Nicolas is already a prime tenant in downtown St. Louis.
The Cards and Cordish are seeking $57 million in subsidies for the $155-million project. That's raising a red flag among some elected officials and business leaders, who wonder why so many government dollars are going toward a development that will in all likelihood bring no new major tenants to downtown St. Louis and in fact negatively impact an existing landlord to Stifel Nicolas. In any case, it should be interesting as the Cards and Cordish move forward on their requests for various state funding and bonding.
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