ST. LOUIS -- Just hours after the Missouri Development Finance Board approved the public financing portion for the construction of the Ballpark Village, Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III announced that the first phase of the new development is expected to be completed by Opening Day 2014.
During a news conference at Busch Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, DeWitt III and Chase Martin, the development director of Cordish Companies, which has partnered with the organization in this project, announced that the groundbreaking on Ballpark Village is tentatively scheduled for mid-November.
"It's been a challenge," DeWitt III said when asked about finally seeing the finish line after several years of unsuccessful attempts to jumpstart the project.
"I've never had anything in my career where it's taken that long and I've had so much invested emotionally and time wise into something. For me personally, it's a great day. It is a big deal for me because it's something I've worked pretty significantly on for periods during this whole time. Having it finally moving forward is a great relief for me."
Now that the Ballpark Village has cleared most of the hurdles associated with locking down public financial approval, Cordish Companies will expedite the design work on the complex.
The development will eventually span seven blocks over 10 acres just to the north of Busch Stadium. Ballpark Village will be built in phases, though the infrastructure to support all future development will be put in place before above-ground construction begins.
After that infrastructure work is complete, work will begin on phase one of the development. That is expected to being in early spring 2013.
This first phase will include a venue called Cardinals Nation, which will include a two-story restaurant, a Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum and a seating deck overlooking the stadium. Anheuser-Busch is also a part of this phase one work, as it will finance a venue with a rooftop party deck that will also offer views into the stadium.
In between the two buildings will be the "Live at Ballpark Village!" outdoor event space.
Martin said that another four to five tenants will be a part of this first phase development. Those tenants will be announced at a later date.
Additional phases of Ballpark Village will follow based on demand and market conditions. Martin said that several other potential tenants have already expressed interest in being a part of the expansion. Those tenants include those looking to use the space for retail, professional offices and residential areas.
"Today was a big day for us," DeWitt III said. "There are still a few things we need to do between now and breaking ground, but we're very excited about where we are."