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July 26, 2008
Cardinals revive "Ballpark Village" plan
The St. Louis Cardinals announced yet another plan for their long-delayed "Ballpark Village" project on the site of old Busch Stadium, which fell apart earlier this year when the planned anchor tenant, the Centene Corp., backed out. (The site is currently a muddy pit known locally as "Lake DeWitt," after team president Bill DeWitt.) The new plan calls for phased construction - i.e., they'll build a few buildings now, then more later, maybe, if there's money for it - with the first phase costing $320 million, the second about $280 million. The first phase is planned to include a mix of office, retail, and entertainment (or maybe hotel - reports vary) uses; the second, if it happens, could include some residential units. Neither has a specific timetable for completion.
The city and state previously approved about $116 million in subsidies for the project (mostly in tax-increment financing, where developers get their property and sales taxes kicked back to them); the Cards and their development partner will still get that, plus another $7.9 million if they include a hotel. The St. Louis Business Journal reports that "the project must still receive approval from the Board of Estimate & Apportionment, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and the State of Missouri." Before voting, they might want to consider the experience of other cities that have okayed subsidies for "phased construction" projects.