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Poll: Your Thoughts On The Latest Ballpark Village Announcement?

December 12, 2010 Downtown, Economy, Planning & Design 4 Comments
ABOVE: October 27,2006: Cardinal Senior VP Bill DeWitt III, and developers David Cordish & Chase Martin discussing the covered model of Ballpark Village.

On Friday December 3, 2010 some new news about the stalled Ballpark Village project was announced:

“Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said Friday that the long-awaited, $800 million Ballpark Village development has tenant agreements and private financing.
The first phase of the project, slated for two blocks that face the ballpark at a cost of $150 million, will have a new office tower and retail space.
St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp. has indicated it wants to take at least 175,000 square feet of office space at Ballpark Village. The financial services firm is currently based at 501 N. Broadway, and signed a three-year renewal on its lease there last year as Ballpark Village faced delays.”  Full Story

I’m personally glad to see they’ve decided to phase the project, rather than do it all at once.  A year ago I wrote:

As originally outlined, the project was to have nearly 800,000 total square feet and a total cost of $387 million.  The site between the garages was once again going to have Elm, thus being divided into six blocks.  That works out to $64.5 million per block – a substantial sum to raise.  The Cardinals and developer Cordish should abandon the mega project methodology by 1) creating the through street grid to form the six blocks 2) subdivide each of the six blocks into 3-10 parcels of land to be developed by them and/or sold to qualified buyers for them to build on the land.  Deed restrictions would not allow surface parking and would require minimum building heights (3-15 floors depending upon parcel).  Each block should have a minimum of two buildings.  Blank walls should be forbidden while numerous doors and windows required/encouraged.

As part of the site’s infrastructure, internal parking structures may be required to meet the total future need.  Streets, sidewalks and parking are built first and future buildings would surround the parking structures eventually.  With six blocks it would probably have 3-6 garages, ideally partially underground.  These garages could be built out in phases as lots are sold.

Other developers and investors could build within the site.  Say one group can finance $30 million for a single building, that is one more toward the goal.  Piece by piece the area would fill in.

Their phasing is different than I outlined but it still starts the ball rolling.  It also means we must watch how often their hand is out for tax incentives on top of those they already got for the stadium deal.

The poll this week asks your thoughts on the recent announcement.  The poll is in the upper right corner of the site.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    I actually think that three of the answers apply equally, I'll believe it when I see it, It is good to phase the project rather than try to do it all at once, and As long as they don't get more tax money I don't care.

  2. Tpekren says:

    Can't really disagree with you JZ71. However, I would take a more optimistic approach.

    First, Stifel is essentially telling everyone that they want Class A office space at BPV and by signing a two year extension on their current is letting everyong know that their willing to wait. Stifel Nichols must have given DeWitt a green light to throw their name around and probably has a major hand in securing financing. They could have easily declared a move as a certain law firm did. Where to? How about the second proposed centene tower in Clayton or pick up the Montgomery Banks proposal to build another Clayton tower, or any other development.

    Second, some tax revenue is better then none as things currently stand and have kept a lot of businesses from leaving downtown. They will get tax incentives so live with it because major employees leaving downtown and grass fields are much more damaging. The important issue is that Greene didn't sign off on the same deal that Cordish got in KC.

    Finally, Its going to happen in phase approach because the recession trumped fantasy land that Cordish was trying to sell everybody. Which for the area's sake is a lot better. Their influence over the project is probably waning and they most likely Stifel Nichols is making a push to move this project forward in a more sane manner. Its speculation on my part, but I would take a hometown growing/expanding business taking a lead over Cordish as a very good sign.

    • JZ71 says:

      I think we'll see both, Stifel anchoring the office component and Cordish doing their thing in the retail component. I agree, the economy threw everyone a curve, and that some taxes are better than none. My concerns are more macro – are we just “rearranging the deck chairs”, in both office and retail, and will Phase 1 be more or less “it” for the forseeable future? Phase 1 will gets the Cardinals off the deadline hook, but will likely result in no net absorption of downtown office space – vacancies will remain high, only now they'll be government-subsidized. What little that's left in Union Station (Hard Rock) will be lured to the new kid on the block. And, will surface parking remain more profitable than building anything on the remaining blocks? (Remember you're taking the prime blocks, next to the stadium, in Phase 1.) There will always be demand for sports bars around Busch; I just don't see significant demand for office space, especially from anyone who's tried to actually conduct business in the midst of gameday crowds, traffic and parking premiums.

  3. Angelo says:

    Ya know what Downtown needs? More office space! Hurray for those financial geniuses! I can't wait to see what they think of next!


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