While there may not be baseball being played downtown right now, there was still plenty of excitement today as the St. Louis Cardinals announced plans to begin the $220 million, 550,000 square feet phase two of Ballpark Village.
“It’s a project that’s five times larger than the phase one Ballpark Village and has those elements that really create the village in the name,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Plans for phase two include a 29-story luxury high-rise residential tower with additional retail and restaurant space, plus a new Class-A office building–which would be the first to be built in downtown St. Louis since 1989.
“If you think about being in the ballpark and looking out, there’s that great view of the Arch above the scoreboards that are just in right center,” shared DeWitt. “In left center, you’ve got the existing Ballpark Village and if you’re high enough up, you can see the Old Courthouse. We’ve tried to split that difference, so we set the tower back a little bit off of Clark Street, which the first levels are the parking and retail are right up to Clark, but the tower sets back a little bit in because we want to be sensitive to the view corridors.”
The phase two apartment tower will be built of steel and glass and rent will be based on the floor, size, and views for each unit.
“Because of new construction and the sweet spot that we’re in, I won’t say top of the market–because you’re seeing some high end stuff in Clayton that will probably lead the market, but we won’t be far behind,” explained DeWitt. “But there will be something probably for everybody. There’s 300 units and a lot of different types of configurations.”
Per the team’s press release, only taxes generated by the Ballpark Village project itself, as well as private equity and debt investments by the development team, will be used to finance Ballpark Village.
“We have a development agreement that oversees or sort of encompasses the development for phase one and all future phases of this 10-acre site,” explained DeWitt of the proposed amendment for phase two. “It’s through MODESA, which is the legislation we used that allows for tax revenues, sales tax revenues, and some other taxes to be captured that would normally go to the city and the state. They’re captured for a period of time to help us fund the infrastructure piece of what we have to do. Some of the taxes go on to the city and the state immediately.”
And while the $220 million price tag is similar to the recent contract of a Jason Heyward or even Albert Pujols a couple seasons ago, this project does not have a negative effect on the St. Louis Cardinals payroll budget.
“It’s not like I sit with Mo and I’m like rooting against, no don’t sign Price because we’ve got to get phase two going,” mused DeWitt. “The project really has to stand on it’s own…there are multiple sources, whether it’s bank financing or the bonds that we’re selling that are part of it. There’s equity, obviously the Cardinals do write a check–and a big one. But it’s kind of a separate investment on the side is the way I would put it. It does not takeaway from our budgets for the baseball side of things.”
In fact, the hope is that the phase two project–and all of Ballpark Village actually help the baseball side.
“Over time it could enhance our ability to be more competitive on the payroll side,” pointed out DeWitt. “It’s going to take a while because you write a big check and make investment and those returns don’t happen for a number of years. But I would think over time if it goes well, it just means the company is that much more successful and can take occasional riskier position on payroll. But it’s hard to quantify that.”
Currently, phase one is still paying off the investment, but with the Cardinals essentially self-financing Busch Stadium III the ballpark is producing more revenue than the old facility.
“The taxes that we pay to the city now are on average $2 million more than they were in the old stadium,” shared DeWitt. “It’s been $10 million more for the state.”
photo credit: St. Louis Cardinals