The following is a
May 21, 2000, Sunday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
May 21, 2000, Sunday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
AMBITIOUS PLAN FOR DOWNTOWN CENTERS AROUND A NEW VERSION OF CHOUTEAU'S POND
Developers would like to revive Chouteau's Pond, created just after
Baron said his firm would take the lead in building parts of the plan, in addition to the work it is doing at Cupples Station. He said he's particularly interested in building housing to overlook the new lake, and in working with Cardinals owners who have already proposed a 12-acre
Lamping said the owners are also talking about possibly contributing their land to help make it happen.
September 10, 2000, Sunday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
34 YEARS AFTER IT OPENED, CAN BUSCH STADIUM KEEP UP WITH THE NEWER PARKS ? :;
THE OWNERS WANT A NEW STADIUM. MANY FANS WANT AN EXPLANATION.;
EXPLORING POSSIBILITIES FOR PROGRESS AND REFORM ACROSS THE METROPOLITAN AREA
December 17, 2000, Sunday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
CARDINALS ENVISION SHOPS, AQUARIUM BY NEW STADIUM
* An aquarium featuring walk-through tunnels in fish tanks and other aquatic exhibits.
* A partly underground baseball museum with about 15,000 square feet of space for the Cardinals owners' growing collection of baseball memorabilia. Some of it is now on display in about 5,000 square feet in the
* A 20-story apartment building with 110 apartments, many of them overlooking the new ballpark.
* Three mid-rise buildings, about seven stories tall, with retail and restaurants at the street level, offices above the retail and apartments and two-level townhouses above the offices. The buildings also might have rooftop seating, like apartments overlooking
* A landscaped, outdoor plaza just north of the new ballpark containing the entrance to the baseball museum, and partly surrounded by shops, restaurants and the mid-rise buildings. Architects for the new ballpark left a gap in the north wall of the ballpark so it opens onto the plaza, and people in the plaza can see into it.
* A two-level, underground parking garage with 1,900 spaces that would be built into the scooped-out foundation left by Busch. New development would rise on top of the garage.
March 18, 2001, Sunday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
WILL IT TAKE A VILLAGE TO BUILD THIS BALLPARK?
As the Cardinals press for the city, county and state to pay most of the cost of a new baseball stadium, they offer the lure of
he owners also still are looking to recruit private developers to build what's being called
Architect Eugene Mackey III, former president of the American Institute of Architects' local chapter, is also skeptical. He questions whether the Cardinals' owners can even get
* Three six-story buildings, each covering a block, containing retail businesses, restaurants and neighborhood services at street level, three levels of flexible office space above the retail space, and two levels of living units on the top floors that could be rental or for sale.
* A 21-story residential tower overlooking the new ballpark and other parts of downtown with townhouses facing
* An outdoor plaza across
* 1,896 parking spaces, most of them underground.
* An aquarium with fish tanks and marine-life exhibits, the likes of which St. Louis civic leaders and others have tried to lure here for at least 30 years.
April 25, 2001, Wednesday, THREE STAR EDITION
DEVELOPER ASKS HOLDEN TO BACK NEW BALLPARK;
LETTER SIGNALS INTENTION TO DEVELOP
On Tuesday, the Cardinals made public a letter from
"To ensure that the promise of
April 25, 2001, Wednesday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
OUT OF LEFT FIELD
Mr. Baron, president of McCormack Baron & Associates, is a developer who combines a proven track record with a positive vision for
His Cupples project would be adjacent to the
Mr. Baron's firm helped the Cardinals develop the village concept, but he had not signed on as a partner. That changed Monday when he faxed a letter to Gov. Bob Holden. "To ensure that the promise of
April 26, 2001, Thursday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
CARDS OFFICIAL, DEVELOPER TOUT THE VIABILITY OF BALLPARK VILLAGE;
BUT THEY SAY THEY NEED STATE AID, NEW PARK TO GET GOING
Although they don't have the money in hand or any guarantees, Cardinals President Mark Lamping and developer Richard Baron say they're confident the $ 380 million Ballpark Village development would rise alongside a new ballpark in downtown St. Louis, provided the ballpark gets built.
"There are no guarantees, because the state hasn't made any guarantees to us yet," Lamping said Wednesday.
"But I am 100 percent confident
April 28, 2001, Saturday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
STADIUM PLANS WITH BROAD REACH HAVE BEEN HIT AND MISS
"I think the community is missing the point that it's more than just a ballpark," said Paul J. McKee Jr. this week; he is a local developer who wants to work with the Cardinals. "It's a revitalization project of the first degree."
* 110,000 square feet of retail space.
* 25,000 square feet of restaurant space.
* 450,000 square feet of office space.
* 400 housing units.
* An aquarium.
A study the Cardinals commissioned on the economic impact of the stadium and
That means the full economic impact of the proposed $ 382 million investment in the village is at least aRichard Ward, the firm's president, agrees that the biggest
payoff for the state would be the creation of
But given the long-range nature of the development, Ward said, the Cardinals will be hard-pressed to give the Legislature many concrete details on that phase of the project in the next few weeks.
April 28, 2001, Saturday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
HOLDEN'S NEGATIVE RESPONSE TO CARDINALS' BALLPARK PLAN PUZZLES TEAM OFFICIALS
Richard C.D. Fleming, president of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, said Holden's call to craft a stronger redevelopment plan in the next few weeks is "not at all realistic."
He said lawmakers should authorize the Greater St. Louis Sports Authority, which would own the proposed ballpark, to create the "tools" that would make the
April 29, 2001, Sunday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
CARDINALS SHOULD GET NEW STADIUM BECAUSE THE TEAM HELPS TO KEEP DOWNTOWN ALIVE
The details, in terms of who will pay for what and how much, still must be worked out. But the talks should continue. Holden should continue meeting with the Cardinals. Mayor Francis Slay should continue meeting as well, to make sure that the city gets the best deal it can get out of the negotiations. And St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall deserves praise for his agreement that the stadium should remain downtown, where all the expressways meet.
There are plenty of doubters and naysayers. But, hey, that's
May 1, 2001, Tuesday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
HOLDEN, SLAY WORK ON JOINT COUNTEROFFER TO CARDINALS;
THEY ARE TRYING TO DRAW UP STADIUM PLAN BEFORE SESSION ENDS;
CARDS OFFICIAL IS OPTIMISTIC
Slay said Saturday's City Hall meeting grew out of a mutual decision with Holden "to try to put together something that will address the Cardinals' needs, address the governor's and our budgetary concerns" and be more specific about a nearby
May 10, 2001, Thursday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
HOLDEN IS HOLDING OUT ON STADIUM DEAL FOR MORE DETAILS ON DOWNTOWN PLAN
Lawmakers pushing state aid for a new Cardinals ballpark continue waiting for Gov. Bob Holden's signal to move forward, with less than two weeks left in the legislative session.
May 30, 2001 Wednesday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDS OFFER MORE FUNDING FOR BALLPARK;
GOVERNMENT, TEAM OFFICIALS REPORT PROGRESS IN TALKS
What the owners are offering
The Cardinals owners have agreed to the following concessions to help get financing for their new ballpark:
* A new financing plan that would cost the state less money
* Profit-sharing with state and local governments if owners sell the team
June 20, 2001 Wednesday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDS REACH A DEAL ON STADIUM : WITH 40 PCT. SHARE AND
TEAM OWNERS WILL CONTRIBUTE AT LEAST $138 MILLION;
CARDINALS WILL SIGN 35-YEAR LEASE AT NEW BALLPARK
By agreeing to cover about 40 percent of the cost of a new downtown ballpark and to oversee $300 million in related development projects, the Cardinals have accepted one of the priciest stadium deals in Major League Baseball.
June 20, 2001 Wednesday Five Star Lift Edition
POLITICIANS KEEP CARDS FROM GETTING DEAL ALL THEIR WAY
If there's a cost overrun, the Cardinals will pay for it. If the Cardinals fail to develop the village, they'll have to pay penalties. That's good.
The politicians claim that the ballpark and the village will generate enough revenue to cover taxpayer investment. That's questionable. And if there's a shortfall, the difference will be made up by a stadium naming-rights fund. We'll see about that.
June 20, 2001 Wednesday Three Star Edition
CARDS' OFFER IS IN THE BALLPARK
June 21, 2001 Thursday Three Star Edition
CARDS HOPE TO BEAT BALLPARK VILLAGE DEADLINE, BUT DEAL FACES ROADBLOCKS;
COMPLEX COULD BE FINISHED YEARS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, OFFICIAL SAYS;
TEAM EXECUTIVE REPORTS INTEREST FROM DEVELOPERS
The first half of
The initial phase would include a Cardinals museum, an aquarium and a building that would have retail space at the street level and office and residential space above.
The stadium-finance deal the Cardinals signed with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive George R. "Buzz" Westfall and Gov. Bob Holden gives the team until April 1, 2006, to start that work and until April 1, 2011, to complete it.
The agreement gives the Cardinals and their development partners until 2014 to complete the second half of
But DeWitt said that section could be finished by 2009 or 2010 - if not sooner.
"There's a chance the whole thing could get done at once," DeWitt said. "We've talked to some developers who want to do it all."
The designs for
* 470,000 square feet of office space.
* 110,000 square feet of street-level commercial and retail space.
* 400 residential units.
* 1,850 parking spaces.
* 16,000 square feet of museum space.
* 94,000 square feet of aquarium space.
Although the Cardinals agreed in their financing deal to take responsibility for $300 million in development work at Ballpark Village, that figure does not reflect the full cost of all the buildings the team is envisioning, DeWitt said. "That's more a negotiating number that we need to deliver," he said.
Some downtown watchers question whether the project will deliver the benefits the team is suggesting.
"If there was a real demand for this sort of development, it seems to me that it would be happening right now," said Jamie Cannon, a retired architect and president of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. "There are probably lots of good land buys available downtown."
DeWitt noted that occupancy rates are running above 90 percent for first-class office space in downtown
"If we can't absorb another 400,000 square feet of office space over the next seven years, then we really are in trouble," DeWitt said.
The Cardinals have been studying mixed-use buildings elsewhere to determine how to make the combination of street level retail and commercial space work with the office and residential space above and the attractions nearby.
"It should be a mix of retail that supports the development above and around it," DeWitt said.
The development plan for
Although some of the residential units would be affordable enough for young professionals, others would come with a hefty price tag, he said.
July 10, 2001 Tuesday Five Star Lift Edition
FUTURE OF THE BOWLING HALL OF FAME IS CLOUDED BY PLAN FOR NEW STADIUM ;
CARDINALS ARE SEEKING
MUSEUM OFFICIALS WANT DEAL
DeWitt said he could foresee offering the bowling museum another site in the
When Cardinals owners began showing off their colorful renderings of red-brick
"You're going to see pictures in the paper with your building off the face of the Earth," DeWitt warned.
But he also set up an easel with a different sketch, where the bowling museum is left in place.
Adding more uncertainty, the Cards want to build their own 15,000-square-foot museum in the Village. That's triple the space they've been using to house their memorabilia at the bowling museum since 1997.
When the Cardinals moved in, the bowling museum's slumping attendance shot up more than 30 percent to about 44,000 last year - a big boost for a nonprofit museum that relies on donations to keep it out of the gutter.
Local bowling leagues, national bowling organizations, bowling center owners and manufacturers subsidize more than half of the museum's nearly $1 million budget.
September 9, 2001 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDINALS PREPARE TO BEGIN DESIGN WORK ON STADIUM
William DeWitt III, vice president of business development for the Cardinals, said that while the plan for
"The Village is involved," he said, "but mostly I'm blocking and tackling to get the stadium site ready."
January 20, 2002 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDINALS OWNERS TAKE THEIR SHOW ON THE ROAD
February 7, 2002 Thursday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDINALS LINE UP HELP TO PROMOTE NEW STADIUM ;
CONSULTANTS ARE WORKING TO GAIN SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC FUNDING; STILL, NO BILL HAS BEEN FILED
February 12, 2002 Tuesday Five Star Lift Edition
STADIUM BILL ADDS $100 MILLION PENALTY;
CARDINALS WOULD HAVE TO PAY THAT IF
The Cardinals could be on the hook for a $100 million penalty if the team gets public money for a new ballpark but the surrounding
But the bill does not specify, for example, how long developers would have to complete
February 15, 2002 Friday Five Star Lift Edition
LATEST BILL OFFERS A FEW ANSWERS TO FOES OF STADIUM PLAN
February 15, 2002 Friday Five Star Lift Edition
SLAY SEEKS BALLPARK VOTE HERE FIRST
February 17, 2002 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
BUILDING A VISION
February 26, 2002 Tuesday Five Star Lift Edition
PLAN SPELLS OUT STADIUM FUNDING DEAL;
The St. Louis Cardinals would have until 2035 to fully pay a $100 million penalty if the team doesn't build
he team owners also are committed to building the $300 million
February 27, 2002 Wednesday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDINALS, PLAN'S FOES SEE PENALTY CLAUSE DIFFERENTLY
The only way the Cardinals would pay the full amount in penalties is if the owners make no effort to develop
The agreement calls for the Cardinals to reach certain targets on the first three-block phase of project by the end of 2009, or at least spend $100 million toward that goal.
The annual penalties for failing to meet that timetable start at $500,000 for 2009 and rise to $6 million by 2031.
However, if the Cardinals have completed some work on
The formula also would allow the Cardinals to deduct an amount equal of the taxes paid on the property or produced by any businesses there.
If the Cardinals fail to develop the second phase of
The Cardinals say the provisions exist only to protect the city of
"From a negotiating point of view, you try to mitigate the risks that you have," said Bill DeWitt III, a team vice president. "From our planning point of view, we don't think those would even come into play at all."
An economic impact report prepared for the team last year projected that
The potential penalties should quiet skeptics, DeWitt said.
"I think the sheer magnitude of the guarantee will send a message that we're serious about
March 15, 2002 Friday Five Star Lift Edition
That secondary development, dubbed
Backers of the stadium plan say
Opponents wonder about the Cardinals' commitment to
"The Cardinals are putting this in at the insistence of the politicians," said Fred Lindecke, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums.
The Cardinals say the financial penalties, plus another clause that could force them to forfeit one or more blocks of downtown real estate, prove their determination to follow through on the project.
But one politician with a vote on the deal is hoping to give it more teeth.
State Rep. Richard Byrd, R-Kirkwood, does not believe the penalties are sufficient to guarantee the construction of
Byrd is preparing an amendment that will be offered to the Cardinals stadium bill that would withhold state payments if components of the village are not substantially completed by the end of 2010.
"If there is going to be any economic benefit, it will come from
Even if the stadium does not produce a net gain in taxes or economic activity, it could add to the vitality of downtown
"I think it's going to create some energy that currently doesn't exist," said Rishe, who specializes in the business of sports.
The first phase of
* 470,000 square feet of office space.
* 110,000 square feet of commercial space.
* 16,000 square feet for a Cardinals museum.
* 94,000 square feet for an entertainment attraction.
* 400 residential units.
* 1,850 parking spaces.
The agreement calls for spending on those projects to total at least $100 million.
The second phase of
The Cardinals have agreed to start work on the first phase of
If they miss the 2009 deadline, they start paying damages to the city and state.
But the maximum penalty the first year would be just $500,000. It would rise to $1 million the second year, $1.5 million the third year and $1.75 million for each of the next four years.
The penalties would rise several more times, ending at $6 million in 2035.
However, any amounts the Cardinals would owe would be reduced according to a formula that measures the team's progress by dollars spent.
In other words, if investment in the first phase of
Byrd said his amendment would require that at least five of the six components of the first phase of
Under the stadium funding agreement, the city, county and state would cover $208 million of the stadium's $346 million construction cost. The Cardinals' share would be at least $138 million, including the value of the land under the stadium.
The state would pay $7 million a year for 30 years to finance its share; the city would pay $4.2 million a year for 30 years. The county would pay $95 million over the life of the agreement.
The city thinks that taxes generated by the stadium alone would cover its bond payments. Mayor Francis Slay said the state would get back $610 million for providing $210 million over the 30-year life of the agreement.
But the deal contains language that hedges. For example, it says "the Cardinals make no representation that the project will generate the projected economic activity taxes or the projected new state revenues."
Smith, the city's bond attorney, called that language standard legal boilerplate.
But Lindecke, one of the opponents, calls it something of a loophole.
"The entire economic development argument is built on this," he said. "And yet they write in their own agreement that they don't believe it, that they don't stand behind it."
Team could offset penalties
But the actual cost of the penalties could be much lower.
In present-day dollars, the $100 million in payments over 25 years would cost $34.8 million.
Put another way, the Cardinals could put $34.8 million into treasury bills, make no effort to develop the village and cash in some of that investment each year to pay the penalties.
That expense might be more than offset by an increase in the value of the Cardinals. A new ballpark would boost the team's ability to generate revenue and profits.
Greg Smith, an attorney who worked for the city on the stadium deal, says this scenario is ludicrous.
"Like taking $35 million out of your pocket is nothing," he said. "Can you imagine anybody doing that?"
No developers have signed on yet for
"I'm confident we'll make good on the promise to develop the village," said Bill DeWitt III, a vice president.
The Cardinals might even begin work on both phases of the village simultaneously, Smith said.
The underground parking garage included in the preliminary designs runs under both sections of the village, so it makes sense to approach that construction as a single project, he said.
Spending may top projections
If the Cardinals follow their original development plan for
The stadium agreement requires the Cardinals to start developing one of those blocks by April 1, 2009. Work must begin on another block the following year and on the last block the year after that.
If the Cardinals miss any of those deadlines, they must surrender a block of land.
But if there's little demand for the property, "That's no penalty at all," Lindecke said.
"They simply dump these nuisance blocks on the city," he said. "The city has got hundreds of problem blocks already."
Lindecke can envision a worst-case scenario in which the Cardinals ownership group decides to milk the new stadium for all the cash it can and then bail out.
March 16, 2002 Saturday Five Star Lift Edition
CITY APPROVES SPENDING FOR DOWNTOWN STADIUM
April 28, 2002 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
DOES THE PUBLIC SUPPORT FUNDING A NEW BALLPARK?;
WITH BALLPARK VILLAGE ASSURANCE:
45.7% SAY NO
May 10, 2002 Friday
"Don't the penalties give you some comfort?" asked the committee chairman, Rep. Henry Rizzo,
"They remind me of a spaghetti strainer," Murphy replied.
DeWitt said later that the economics of the deal were sound and that the commitment to build
May 19, 2002 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDINALS STADIUM BILL
July 7, 2002 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
While the retro design could be resurrected -- especially if the ballpark is built downtown -- people close to the project say that team owners are not seriously discussing
Cardinals President Mark Lamping says a
"I would assume there would be sites where we would not expect development to occur around the ballpark along the lines of
He said the retro design and accompanying
Now that state funding is an unlikely part of any plan, the
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Friday that he still hoped that
September 19, 2002 Thursday Five Star Edition
CITY RACES TO PUT TOGETHER PACKAGE TO KEEP CARDINALS
Slay said any deal the city would broker with the Cardinals would have to include Ballpark Village, the retail and housing development that was a part of the initial proposal.
September 25, 2002 Wednesday Five Star Lift Edition
CITY, CARDS MOVE FORWARD ON DEAL;
CONSULTANT TO TEAM SAYS STADIUM AGREEMENT MAY BE REACHED BY NEXT WEEK
The city's Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority took the first formal step in the process Tuesday when it approved a redevelopment area for the ballpark and
On Friday, for example, the Board of Aldermen will take the first of three votes on the redevelopment plan as well as a proposal that would eliminate the 5 percent amusement tax the Cardinals collect on tickets. Doing away with the tax would save the Cardinals about $3.4 million a year, money they could use toward the new ballpark or
City leaders said Tuesday that the Cardinals expect that they can build two blocks of
September 27, 2002 Friday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDS WOULD GUARANTEE ONLY TWO BLOCKS OF DEVELOPMENT
Through every phase of negotiations for a new Cardinals stadium, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other city officials have maintained that the centerpiece of the new facility would be Ballpark Village, a six-block development of nearby office buildings, retail shops, restaurants and housing that would help revitalize downtown.
"It's never been about baseball," Jeff Rainford, the mayor's chief of staff, said Thursday. "It's about creating a neighborhood in downtown
But as the city scurries to complete a deal for a privately financed Cardinals stadium, it finds itself with a dramatically scaled-down version of the village concept -- and no guarantee that the city will ever get the development that city officials had originally envisioned.
The two blocks guaranteed to be developed in the latest plan include office buildings, a Cardinals museum and a few retail shops, but very little housing.
The city hopes the Cardinals eventually will develop more blocks. The team, which under the new plan would be responsible for building the development, says it would like to but that it isn't making any promises.
"Our assumption and intention is that the
Under the Cardinals' original plan, which died in the Missouri Legislature in the spring, the city,
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will begin clearing the way for development today when a bill is introduced to create a redevelopment area for construction of the stadium and surrounding development. Creating a redevelopment area allows the city to use its power of eminent domain to acquire property for construction and gives the developer some tax advantages.
Legislation also will be introduced to eliminate a 5 percent amusement tax on the Cardinals tickets. By not lowering ticket prices, the team could then use the $3.4 million that the tax raised annually to help pay for leasing the new stadium from the private investors that the city hopes will build it.
So far, 14 of the 28 city aldermen have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation, which is expected to pass easily.
The first block, to be completed by the end of 2009, would include a 300,000-square-foot, seven-story office building that would feature two levels of underground parking with street-level retail and rooftop housing.
The second phase, to be completed two years later, would feature a public plaza, a 27,000-square-foot, two-story retail and office building and a
The National Bowling Hall of Fame, which was to be torn down and turned into retail space under the old plan, would remain where it is on one block.
There is not yet a timeline on when the other blocks would be developed, Lamping said.
"What we're trying to accomplish is a 365-day-a-year neighborhood, but one that will work in complement with the thousands of guests who show up at least 81 days a year (to Cardinals home games)," Lamping said.
Rainford said the city supports a heavy dose of office space in the early stages of
"We don't see this as creating new office space just to shift things around downtown, but rather to provide more space so that we can attract other business to move into the city," he said.
When that happens, there will be more of an interest in living downtown and adding to the 1,200 new housing units that are under construction downtown or will be very soon, he said. That includes the loft district along
Dick Fleming, president of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, said if
Lamping says talks are still early but the Cardinals are already getting "numerous expressions of interest from developers and tenants as well as those who want to buy housing in
October 4, 2002 Friday Five Star Lift Edition
November 17, 2002 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDS HAVE A PLAN, BUT NO MONEY YET;
OWNERS SEEM CONFIDENT THEY'LL FIND INVESTORS, WIN TAX SUBSIDIES
January 12, 2003 Sunday Five Star Lift Edition
CARDINALS WOULD PLAY A SEASON IN BUSCH AS IT COMES TUMBLING DOWN/ NEW STADIUM WOULD OVERLAP ABOUT ONE-EIGHTH OF BUSCH AT CENTER FIELD
The hole left by Busch Stadium would be backfilled to create the
November 19, 2003 Wednesday Five Star Late Lift Edition
CARDS SAY STADIUM CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN NEXT MONTH
January 21, 2004 Wednesday Five Star Late Lift Edition
ROBERTSES MAY TAKE A SWING AT BALLPARK VILLAGE ENDEAVOR
May 30, 2004 Sunday Five Star Late Lift Edition
CARDINALS ARE IN LINE FOR AN ALL-STAR GAME
February 20, 2005 Sunday
FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
Cards likely are in line for 2009 All-Star Game
"That's probably the most likely scenario," said chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., referring to the 2009 game being in the newest of the Busch stadia.
June 2, 2005 Thursday
FIVE STAR LATE LIFT EDITION
Cardinals team up with developer for
THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS today will announce a partnership with Baltimore-based Cordish Co. to develop
June 3, 2005 Friday
FIVE STAR LATE LIFT EDITION
Cardinals want village where fans can eat, drink, shop, live
Cordish's plan for
"The idea of living in a place where you could look out the window at home plate is pretty thrilling," Cordish said.
The area won't be ready by the time the new Busch opens, set for Opening Day next year. Cardinals Vice President Bill DeWitt said groundbreaking won't be until later in 2006. The team owns the 12-acre site targeted for Ballpark village; Cordish and the Cardinals will be equal partners in developing the area.
April 7, 2006 Friday
Ballpark figures won't add up without Village
"If it's executed well, it will be the next major jump" for development around sports stadiums, said Rosentraub, the author of several books about baseball parks. "Will the new stadium benefit the economy? I wouldn't think so. But
Still, boosters and skeptics agree that
April 9, 2006 Sunday
Work is expected to begin in the fall on the biggest development in the neighborhood,
April 10, 2006 Monday
It's time to play ball! Take me out to the new ballpark, an urban paradise for Cardinals fans
September 10, 2006 Sunday
Cards want public money for
Team officials have promised that the site one day will be
Now they are back, pushing for a $650 million project on all six blocks. But with that renewed ambition, comes an outstretched hand -- more public financing. A look at similar projects shows that the taxpayers' burden could well exceed $100 million.
While the team says it can't complete its expanded vision of the village without city or state money, there's also the question of how the request will sit with a loyal but anxious fan base. Such fans have grudgingly parted with the old stadium and shelled out dollars for everything from Build-a-Fredbirds to old Busch Stadium urinals.
Either way, the team is obligated to develop the site of the old Busch. But without public assistance, the Cardinals front office warns, the plans will fall well short of the fences.
"We can do something without help -- and we can satisfy our development commitments without any help," said Bill DeWitt III, the team's senior vice president. "The question is what are you going to get with that?"
Vision shown on high
The Cardinals have been stingy with specifics about
Inside, plasma televisions give viewers a virtual tour of the design. A scale model, which the team's development partner would not allow to be photographed, offers a detailed portrait of the
Office towers and condominiums overlook the outfield, with terraces -- and even bleachers -- where spectators can see the game. Nearby is a courtyard with the same dimensions as
The model shows plans for a gourmet grocery, boutiques and a restaurant row. The video tour shows one building labeled "Cardinals Experience" and another that could be the new home to the bowling museum -- featuring a giant bowling pin out front.
There also are plans for an entertainment-themed restaurant -- think Hard Rock Café or ESPN Zone -- and a bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.
Those amenities would be in line with what the firm hired by the Cardinals, Baltimore-based Cordish Co., has placed in other entertainment projects from
"The potential is just enormous," said Blake Cordish, vice president of the company that was founded by his great-grandfather.
Search for funding
But the potential has a price tag: $650 million.
That's nearly $200 million more than the cost of the new stadium -- or enough to sign six Albert Pujolses through the end of the decade.
Cordish confirmed that the project, at least in its proposed scale, would not happen without assistance from the city and the state, although he declined to name a target amount.
Most of the firm's other projects have been the result of a public-private partnership. In
A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Mike Downing, said the state was in "preliminary discussions" with the Cardinals to obtain similar benefits.
The money would come from a law enacted in 2003, the
The money could only be used for public improvements such as roads and sewers, improvements that would be a vital part of developing the site of the old stadium.
Downing said it is too early to tell how much money
Talks with the city
The team and Cordish are in discussions with Mayor Francis Slay's office about providing tax-increment financing for the project, incentives potentially worth tens of millions of dollars.
Tax-increment financing, which the city has used for many lofts and other projects, allows the taxes from the increased value of the property to be used up front to help pay for redevelopment costs.
The city is already giving the Cardinals a tax break for more than $3 million a year by waiving the 5 percent tax on ticket sales. That incentive came with the promise that at least $60 million would be spent to build one block of
Now that the team is talking about spending more than 10 times that amount on Ballpark Village, the city is contemplating giving more public assistance -- though the mayor's office won't say how much.
"We want the biggest, most exciting, most transformative project possible," said Jeff Rainford, Slay's top aide. "If we just said, 'We'll settle for mediocrity,' we would be done by now."
Asked about criticism that might come from approving more public funding for the Cardinals, Rainford said: "We've got a lot of small thinkers."
David Newburger, an attorney who chairs the city's Tax Increment Financing Commission, said the board would take a long look before deciding whether to give the Cardinals public subsidies beyond what was granted for stadium construction.
"The commission would want to know that the changes that are made in
DeWitt, the Cardinals vice president, said he hopes to break ground on
"When you see what we have planned for this thing, it's just going to blow you away," he said.
As it stands now, fans are beginning to wonder how long they will have to stare at the pit of dirt just outside the outfield wall of the new stadium, coined Baseball Heaven by its owners.
"It certainly can't stay the way it is," said Paul McClelland, a
September 15, 2006 Friday
Think twice: Don't be an idiot about a ballpark village
When I think about the plans for
"Does the city have this in writing?" the businessman asked. "Yes," I said. "It's all guaranteed."
"Then don't count on it," he said. "If you have to get it in writing, you're in trouble."
That makes sense. If a project looks good to a businessman, he'll want to do it. Think about Chouteau's Pond, the much-talked-about proposal to build a lake just south of downtown. If the city were to help with that project, it wouldn't need any written guarantees that businessmen would develop around the lake. Quite the contrary. Developers would be scrambling for lakefront property. Housing, restaurants, the whole deal. If you have a lake, the developers will come.
Not so with a ballpark. If developers thought a
Now comes the word that yes, the Cardinal owners could live up to that promise, but the Village would be a lowercase sort of place: ballpark village. Doomed to failure. Who wants to live in ballpark village? On the other hand, the city could have something spectacular -- three times the size of the original plan -- but the taxpayers are going to have to help out again. Maybe $100 million or so worth of help.
There are, of course, different ways to look at this. Jeff Rainford, the mayor's top aide, took an exuberant approach when he talked to a reporter: "We want the biggest, most exciting, most transformative project possible."
Then there is the less exuberant view. If this is really a worthwhile project, a winner, a money-maker, shouldn't the businessmen who are going to make the money come up with the funding? If they're not confident that the project is a winner, maybe the taxpayers ought to hold on to their wallets.
In the same story in which Rainford took the exuberant stance, there was this sentence: "Asked about criticism that might come from approving more public funding for the Cardinals, Rainford said, 'We've got a lot of small thinkers.'"
The day that story appeared, the mayor, as he so often does, retreated into his office and pounded away on his blog. He repeated the Rainford quote about small thinkers and then wrote: "One problem, though. Here's what Rainford actually told the reporter: 'We've got a lot of small thinkers at the Post-Dispatch.'"
Yes, we do. Big heads, but small thoughts. The big-head part is obvious. You need an oversized ego to go into this business, to want to see your name in print. And what about somebody who wants his picture in the paper? I'll admit it. Given a choice between a raise and a bigger photo, I always take the bigger photo. And yet, tiny thoughts. It must be hard to be the mayor of a city when you have a newsroom full of small thinkers down the street.
What I mean is, maybe the mayor and Rainford have a point. Maybe the Cardinal owners have all the faith in the world that
September 17, 2006 Sunday
Going yard The go-yard version of
Now come the owners of the St. Louis Cardinals offering the public a choice of two visions of a "
Ah, but Choice No. 2. That is going yard, as they say in baseball. That's a soaring, moonshot, Albert Pujols-off-the-glass-in-Houston home run vision of a
In an office on the 17th Floor of the Bank of America Tower downtown is a room-sized scale model of downtown, with the grander
"This is the home run," said team president Mark Lamping, tapping the model for emphasis and knocking a railing off the miniature stadium. "Before you abandon the home run, you have to see if you can make it work."
"If you can make it work."
That's what the public must know -- razzle dazzle aside -- before any promises are made or any papers signed.
This is an opportunity for something special. We'd like to think the Cardinals, together with the Cordish Co., their Baltimore-based development partner, could pull this project off. Cordish, a family-held "multi-billion dollar conglomerate," specializes in fancy mixed-used, entertainment-driven commercial complexes, with more than a dozen in various stages of development around the country. One thing they all have in common: Taxpayer money is involved.
"Without help from the public sector, the financial equation does not pencil out," Cordish chairman and CEO David Cordish told The New York Times.
Details of the
The details will determine whether this project merits public support. City and state development officials will vet the plan, but Mayor Francis Slay and Gov. Matt Blunt also should insist on a full and independent review by outside experts, with no ties to the Cardinals, the Cordish Co., or to state or city political entities. Such a review would include attendance projections; economic assumptions; the market for new Class A office space; the market for high-end housing and the project's potential impact on existing businesses.
In one way, the choice for the public comes down to this: The city and the state can have a sure thing: 100 percent of the taxes (sales, property, entertainment, etc.) generated by a two-block project. Or, they can swing for the fences and get half the taxes generated by a $650 million development for 23 years, and all of it after that.
It would be nice to think that downtown
It's also important to remember that what a developer originally asks for in terms of subsidy is not necessarily what he'll take. The Cardinals originally asked taxpayers to pay for two-thirds of their new stadium; in the end, it was built with less than 25 percent in public funding. In
Given the popularity of Cardinals baseball, it could be that the bloop single Ballpark Village, if started at the $60 million level by the Cardinals, would grow on its own, driven only by market conditions and demand. That might take a while, or it might never happen. Investors might prefer to take their money some place where the public is willing to take on more of the risk.
The go-yard version of
September 21, 2006 Thursday
City must be open to ideas to strike deal on park plan
September 24, 2006 Sunday
Village of dreams?
2006 Village crossroads
THE SCENE The new Busch Stadium opens to sellout crowds. The pit that was the old Busch Stadium, the proposed site for
THE STATUS Team hopes groundbreaking would be spring 2007 -- the same year they once thought the first phase would be finished. Executives from Cordish pitch an expanded $650 million Ballpark Village -- a bowling alley, a gourmet grocery store and towers that rival the Arch in height.
THE MOOD Push for more public funds gets mixed reaction from loyal but anxious fan base.
October 27, 2006 Friday
A deal on
The mayor and a developer working with the Cardinals have reached an agreement for financing
The complex deal would provide more than $100 million in public funds to help build a $387 million development. The proposal must be approved by other city and state officials.
Riding the momentum of the Cardinals' improbable championship run, representatives of Mayor Francis Slay this week reached the agreement with executives from the Cordish Co., a
Here, the firm is making a pitch to change the downtown landscape: six blocks of stores, condos and restaurants next to the new ballpark. Highlights include a grocery store, a pair of "celebrity chef" restaurants, a Cardinals museum, boutique shops and a bowling alley.
The village site - the spot where the old Busch Stadium once stood - has sat empty for more than 10 months as Cordish and the mayor's office negotiated several issues, including the number of residential units, the amount of parking spaces, and the size of the public subsidy.
Those issues have been resolved in an agreement that covers phase one of
The first phase will include all of the ground-level retail and entertainment venues, plus 250 condos and 100,000 square feet of office space. The next two phases would add a pair of office and residential towers atop first-phase buildings. When those are built will depend on demand in the market.
"We've worked very hard on both sides to the point where we could make this important milestone," said Blake Cordish, vice president of the company founded by his great-grandfather.
The package still must pass several rounds of state and local approval before the deal is final. In the months ahead, city aldermen and others will be asked to support the incentive package.
Funding for the $387 million phase one will come mostly from Cordish, with tax dollars created by the development footing the rest. Details include:
- $271.2 million in private funds from Cordish.
- $56 million in tax-increment financing from the city.
- $29 million in state money authorized by the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Act.
- $26 million from a special tax district created for the development. It would create an additional 1 percent sales tax in the district and a $1 ticket tax for the development's attractions, such as the Cardinals museum.
- $5 million in public bonds to be bought by the Cardinals and Cordish.
The $116 million public portion of the funding would be raised upfront by issuing government bonds. Those bonds would be paid back with taxes generated by the project.
Bill DeWitt III, the Cardinals' senior vice president for business development, noted that Cordish has received larger public subsidies in projects elsewhere.
In a similar downtown development under construction across the state, the firm was awarded nearly $300 million in tax incentives for the Kansas City Power and Light District.
The city "drove a hard bargain," DeWitt said. "I think the Cordish guys, just from my perspective, felt it was a stretch. At the end of the day, they kind of feel so excited by the site, and our partnership, and everything else, they are ready to go."
The agreement is a coup for Mayor Slay, who has made bringing more people and businesses downtown a focus of his 5 1/2 years in office. But the mayor also has expressed concern about public reaction to tax breaks for
The Cardinals' commitment to build
Slay is quick to point out that city funds are not being used for
"Everything for the project will come from the project," Slay said in a statement. "Not one dime of anyone's tax dollars will be used to build phase one of
That also means public agencies such as the St. Louis Public Schools won't receive the full tax benefits of the development for more than 20 years.
Officials estimate that over a 40-year period, the project will bring in $142 million in new taxes to the school district and $291 million to the city.
In the tax-increment financing arrangement, a portion of the taxes generated by the development would be used to pay back bonds issued for construction. Much of the money will be used for building streets and other infrastructure.
Cordish is hoping for a similar arrangement with the state. Under a
An additional funding source would come from making
Cordish and the Cardinals also have promised to buy $5 million in city-issued bonds that would be paid back with future taxes generated by
Blake Cordish said his firm has had detailed discussions with stores and restaurants that could anchor
Many of the company's other projects in places such as
"I can say with absolute confidence that the tenant mix will be extraordinary," Cordish said.
Under the agreement between the developer and the Cardinals, the team has approval over every aspect of the village, including tenants.
The foundation of the partnership between Cordish and the team is the land underneath
The team had initially committed to spending a minimum of $60 million to develop at least two blocks of
Now that the project has grown exponentially, DeWitt says the $60 million figure was "a placeholder."
The city is hoping
The approval process for the state and city funds could last through the winter, putting a potential groundbreaking at spring or early summer. That would allow the village to open in spring of 2009 - the same year that Major League Commissioner Bud Selig has strongly suggested the new stadium could host its first All-Star Game.
Who needs to sign off on $56 million TIF:
- The city's Tax Increment Finance commission, made up of representatives of the city, school district and other public agencies.
- The Board of Aldermen.
- The city's Estimate Board - made up of the mayor, the comptroller and the president of the Board of Aldermen.
Who needs to sign off on state tax incentives:
- The city's Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority, appointed mostly by the mayor.
What's the plan?
Six blocks -
The proposal includes 270,000 square feet of restaurants and entertainment, 100,000 square feet of offices and 90,000 square feet of retail space.
If approved, building could start as soon as spring or summer, with completion of the first phase by spring 2009.
- Four "signature" restaurants, including two endorsed by celebrity chefs
- 250 condos
- 1,200 parking spaces
- A Cardinals museum
- A bookstore
- A bowling alley
- A gourmet grocery store
- A boutique shopping area
October 28, 2006 Saturday
The Cardinals owners, their developer partner and city officials capitalized on the World Series euphoria Friday as they unveiled a model of the
Local business and civic leaders gushed during the announcement, describing the deal with Baltimore-based Cordish Co. as historic and one that could become the most significant economic development in the city in the past 25 years.
"It is much bigger and better than what was originally talked about," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said at a news conference Friday afternoon. The $387 million development would rely on more than $100 million in public funds to finance the project.
Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said the mixed-use residential, retail and entertainment complex would change the way residents in the area shop and play.
"This is about a life experience," DeWitt said. Boosters say the project will raise the city's profile, generate millions in tax revenue and draw additional development to the area.
"We didn't just get a ballpark, we literally have gotten an urban village," said Richard Fleming, president of St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.
Yet, those critical of using public tax incentives for private development were quick to recall the promises made when the Cardinals and the city lobbied for tax subsidies for the new stadium.
In 2002, the city agreed to waive its 5 percent ticket tax for the Cardinals in exchange for the team promising to spend a minimum of $60 million to develop at least two blocks of
Even with subsidies, Slay says, the expanded project, which is to cover six blocks, should generate twice as much tax revenue as a smaller, non-subsidized project. City officials estimate
Moreover, Slay said that no existing tax dollars would be used for the project. The $116 million public portion of the funding would be raised upfront by issuing government bonds, which would be paid back by taxes generated by the project.
Slay stressed that he doesn't believe the project could happen without the tax incentives.
Lindecke countered that a project being billed as such an economic gem shouldn't need public assistance.
"The real reason they want it is because they know they can get it," he said.
At the gathering Friday, officials offered rosy economic forecasts. Fleming said the project would create 3,040 permanent new jobs, along with 3,000 more construction jobs.
Chairman David Cordish wore a red Cardinals jacket and described the endeavor as "life changing" for the city.
"You need a critical mass in one area that gives a sense of place that then spirals out and has ramifications beyond that area," Cordish said. The village model showcased bleachers on condominium towers, a Cardinals museum, boutique shops and anchor restaurants.
Cordish said the company hopes to break ground in the spring and have the first phase completed by the start of baseball season in 2009. The first phase of the project includes ground-level retail and entertainment venues, 250 condos and 100,000 square feet of office space. The company said it plans to hold many free events, such as concerts, fairs and movies, to generate traffic to the Village, especially during the offseason.
The project still must pass several rounds of state and local approval before the deal is final.
St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Jim Shrewsbury said he did not think the proposal would have much trouble getting the numerous approvals the project needs from the board.
"At the end of the day, we're going to have a
The Cordish Co. will provide $271.2 million in private debt and equity. The rest of the financing breaks down as: $26 million from sales taxes charged at
James A. Cloar, president of the Downtown St. Louis Partnership, said he realized that supporters faced a skeptical public perception about the funding. Despite the relatively lower tax subsidy for Busch Stadium compared to stadiums elsewhere, "the public still seems to think they paid for the ballpark."
He said the tax incentives offered to Cordish for
October 29, 2006 Sunday
WHAT'S IT MEAN FOR THE CITY? This man has a plan for
Tenants such as ESPN Zone, a national entertainment venue that developer Cordish has brought to other cities, could generate the kind of buzz that would bring in visitors. Cordish is also promising several unique restaurants and boutiques in the complex.
"That creates a bit more new revenue than simply recirculating revenue that's already downtown," Rishe said.
Economists and planners say the 29.9 percent public financing for the project puts
Gowrisankaran said he was a bit concerned that the initial phase of
"The best thing for downtown is to have people living there," he said.
The Downtown St. Louis Partnership estimates that there currently are 10,000 people living downtown. The
Tranel and other experts agreed that the project needed more places for people to live. But the project can't hurt in increasing activity downtown.
"It's going to put more regular people on the streets: people working in office space, creating demand for lunchtime restaurants," he said. "To the degree that it has the elements that the city is trying to capitalize on -- to build a critical mass of people living downtown who need dry cleaners and drugstores and grocery stores -- it makes that area more viable as its own community. It's capitalizing on a lot of other efforts that the city is making."
Steve Moehrle, an associate professor of accounting at UMSL, said he'd rather see developments go in without a public financing component. He said, however, that wasn't realistic with cities competing for economic development.
October 30, 2006 Monday
Cardinals deliver winning teams and more The owners' commitment to the community is clear.
DeMause and others have raised questions about the owners' commitment to the ballpark village project that is supposed to be built adjacent to the new stadium. The Cards initially pledged the land plus at least $60 million to develop this area into a residential, commercial and recreational destination.
January 16, 2007 Tuesday
City gets '09 All-Star Game FIRST SINCE 1966 • New Busch Stadium nets prize for
January 27, 2007 Saturday
Aldermen get bills on
A series of bills related to
February 1, 2007 Thursday
Snag in talks delays hearing on project Legal language, developer's changes could be issues pushing vote till April 16 or later.
February 7, 2007 Wednesday
At 9 a.m., the board's Housing Committee will discuss a series of
February 8, 2007 Thursday
A reworked proposal for funding
There was also a provision added that would require the developers to do more to train and hire city residents, especially minorities, to build and work at
Yet for the Cardinals, timing is a key factor.
The team is hoping to open at least part of
The Cardinals and Cordish are seeking up to $115 million in state and local subsidies for the project - taking only, according to city officials, new tax dollars generated by the project itself.
Although aldermen endorsed the proposal by a wide margin, some expressed concern they did not have enough time to go over the thick packets of information that contain the details of the plan.
February 9, 2007 Friday
Developer gets its way: It's the firm's call on condos
The reworked plan, made public Wednesday, does not require Cordish to build 250 residential units that were originally part of the first phase.
February 10, 2007 Saturday
City's OK sends Ballpark Village plan to state Plan providing up to $115 million in public financing is approved by aldermen, 25-4.
Friday's decision puts the groundbreaking of
May 19, 2007 Saturday
Clayco exits Ballpark Village General contractor says its hands are full with proposed Bottle District development.
May 23, 2007 Wednesday
Potential hurdles mean that ...
The Cardinals insist their ambitious
- The state still must sign off on millions of dollars in public subsidies.
- Other downtown projects could emerge as competition.
- And then there's the question of where to put 5,000 years of bowling history.
The vision for the $387 million entertainment district calls for most of it to be built on the crater that was the old Busch Stadium - property owned by the team. The rest of the site is held by the
Obtaining the museum property is a key step for
Even so, Bill DeWitt III, the team's senior vice president for business development, said construction will begin as planned - in late summer or early fall.
And the 2009 opening, in time for the stadium's first Major League All-Star Game, is on target, DeWitt said.
He said the team and its development partner, Baltimore-based Cordish Co., are "full steam ahead" on design, financing and negotiating with potential tenants, whom he declined to identify.
DeWitt acknowledged that until backhoes hit the soil, it might be hard for the public to picture
July 18, 2007 Wednesday
August 22, 2007 Wednesday
Condos are back at Ballpark Village Cardinals clinch deal with state for $29.6 million to boost project.
Tossing aside earlier misgivings, the Cardinals now say that plans for
September 24, 2007 Monday
Centene to move downtown BALLPARK VILLAGE HQ • Firm will build skyscraper, parking, hotel, shops. CLAYTON DEAL FELL THROUGH • But company decided to stay in region.
In a move that local and state leaders touted as "historic" and proof of continued revitalization in downtown St. Louis, Centene Corp.
said Sunday it will move its headquarters to
The company has agreed to purchase two blocks where it will develop a $250 million office and retail complex.
The project will consist of two buildings - including a 27-story skyscraper - with up to 1.2 million square feet of office space, 1,750 parking spaces and 50,000 to 75,000 square feet of retail (about half the size of a
Centene plans to add 1,200 jobs on top of those already in the Clayton office, where it will maintain a "significant presence," company officials said.
Centene, which manages Medicaid contracts for several states, will receive $78 million in tax incentives from the city, with the promise of more from state and federal programs.
The company sent out 60 requests for development proposals after its attempts to create a similar mixed-use project in Clayton fell through this summer, said Michael Neidorff, chairman and chief executive of Centene, and received 90 proposals back.
As the word spread, more offers came in "from across the state and around the country," Neidorff said. "But even though we looked at (many) locations around the country, we will keep the headquarters of Centene in the
The complex will be developed in two phases. The developer is BW Development, a company formed by Centene and its development partners, Overland-based Clayco and Chicago-based U.S. Equities. Clayco recently withdrew from consideration to be the general contractor for
"Being involved in Centene's development falls in line with our policy of being involved in projects where we can be equity partners,"
Construction will begin on both blocks in the summer of 2008, but completion will be in two phases.
The 27-story building, at the corner of Broadway and
The second building also will have two floors devoted to retail and 1,750 parking spaces. It will be designed so that up to 550,000 square feet of additional office space can be added as needed. When complete, the building will be in the "20-story range," said Barb Geisman, deputy mayor of development for Mayor Francis Slay.
A third building, to be developed by Baltimore-based Cordish Co., developers of
The retail portion of the two buildings developed by BW Development will be sold back to Cordish at cost and count toward the company's commitment to 360,000 square feet of retail in the first phase of
Centene expects to complete work by 2010, Geisman said.
"I am very confident that every effort will be made to open all the retail in phase one of Ballpark Village in time for the All-Star Game," set to be held here in July 2009, Geisman said. "But if it is off by a couple months, it's not going to have a major impact."
The project and its incentives still must be approved by the city and various state bodies, including the Missouri Development Finance Board.
"While there are plenty of t's to cross and i's to dot, the most important decision has been made," Slay said. "This will open eyes and lead to greater milestones and open more doors." Centene's decision would draw other employers to the city, he said.
That sentiment was echoed by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and downtown leaders.
Bringing a major employer into the city continues the natural progression of revitalization that started with drawing residents back into the city, said Jim Cloar, executive director of Downtown St. Louis Partnership. The next step was to bring in restaurants and services. Adding a corporate headquarters will help support and accelerate growth in both fields, he said.
Geisman said: "This is a real coup for the city, for everyone in the city. We have worked really hard to not only keep what we have but attract other key and notable businesses to downtown."
Centene will be the largest employer to move its corporate headquarters into the city in decades, maybe as long as 50 years, Slay said.
Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein expressed disappointment that her city wasn't able to find a suitable location for Centene, but she said the company's decision to stay in the region is a benefit for all. "If they were going to choose a different location, we are glad they stayed in the region," Goldstein said. "We are glad it will remain a significant presence in Clayton."
To encourage Centene to make the move to downtown
Centene will receive $24 million through a federal incentive program for underdeveloped business districts. The company will get $1.9 million from a special one-cent addition to the hotel sales tax through the formation of a special tax district.
The city plans to request more funds from the state's downtown economic development program.
September 25, 2007 Tuesday
Despite the fanfare Sunday surrounding Centene Corp.
's decision to move its headquarters to
Cordish Co., the Baltimore-based developer of that project, has yet to announce a groundbreaking date. Indeed, a general timeline has been pushed back twice - the first time to late summer or early fall from spring 2007, and most recently to as late as early winter.
Long touted as the crown jewel of downtown revitalization, the Cordish development was slated to open by the July 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, to be hosted at Busch Stadium.
But portions of Centene's $250 million office and retail project, which falls in the "future build-out" area of
January 24, 2008 Thursday
Not ready for prime time CARDS AND BUILDER AGREE It's not likely that much work will be done in time for next year's All-Star Game.
March 14, 2008 Friday
Centene deal may have hit a snag Fate of the project could be determined in the next few weeks.
None of the four players in the project would say Thursday whether the deal to move the health care management firm's headquarters from Clayton will take place. But none said it was dead either.