After years of stops and starts during the economic downturn and recovery, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies have broken ground on Ballpark Village, a development on 10 acres next to Busch Stadium.
The $100-million first phase will include more than 100,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, including the 30,000-square-foot, three-level Cardinals Nation restaurant, museum and retail store; the Budweiser Brew House restaurant, and the Live! At Ballpark Village marketplace.
The project will be ready by opening day of the 2014 season, said Bill DeWitt Jr., chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The team opened the rebuilt $411 Busch Stadium in 2006. The first phase of Ballpark Village is on the site of the former Busch Memorial Stadium, which was demolished in late 2005.
Cardinals Nation will include a two-story restaurant, a store, the 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 the 20,000-square-foot, three-story Budweiser Brew House, also with a rooftop deck offering views into Busch Stadium.
"Live! At Ballpark Village," an indoor marketplace with a retractable canopy covering the event space will connect the Brewhouse and Cardinals Nation buildings.
Cordish and team officials expect the venues will attract 6 million visitor year-round. First-phase construction 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. The project could total as much as $700 million at build out.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay thanked the team and developer for staying committed to the project, despite difficult economic conditions, including challenging credit markets. To get the project underway, the team and Cordish made additional financial commitments to the project, including the purchase of all public infrastructure bonds.
"Ballpark Village will now fill a vacant space with businesses, workers and residents, adding to our ‘come early, stay late,’ environment," Slay said.
In the first phase alone, the project is projected to create nearly 1,000 construction jobs and nearly 500 permanent jobs, according to city, team and Cordish officials
US Bank is one of the financing partners of the project and the development team expects to make additional tenant announcements over the next year, with the first announcements slated for this week.