SBD/June 27, 2012/Facilities

Cardinals' Ballpark Village Lands Its First Tenant After Reaching Deal With A-B

A-B's restaurant is the first of three anchor tenants around the event plaza
The MLB Cardinals and A-B InBev have "reached a licensing and sponsorship agreement for a restaurant and beer garden" as part of the $100M first phase of Ballpark Village, the "long-awaited development alongside Busch Stadium," according to a front-page piece by Tim Logan of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The restaurant, one of "three anchor tenants around an event plaza, will be owned by the Cardinals and their development partners Cordish Co., but will bear the Budweiser name, have a German theme and offer more than 100 beers on tap." Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said that the team has been "talking for some time with the brewer about a role in Ballpark Village." Alcohol laws "prevent big breweries from owning restaurants and bars, but A-B has in the past licensed its name and brands to themed bars." It is "not clear how much A-B will contribute financially to the Ballpark Village project." However, DeWitt said A-B's investment is "substantial." Ballpark Village has been a "sore spot downtown for five years." The Cardinals have "floated multiple development plans, only to see financing and tenants fall through, and the 10-acre site is still an empty field." What was first pitched as a "glitzy mix of office towers, condos and shopping, maybe even an aquarium, is now two blocks of 'entertainment concepts' that will be surrounded by parking lots, where the Cardinals hope to build more in the future." DeWitt said that, "Those two blocks are now 80 percent leased." The team today is set "to pitch their plan to a committee of St. Louis Aldermen." The board must "amend the redevelopment plan and bless" $18M worth of tax-backed bonds for the project to go forward. If that happens, and state approvals follow, DeWitt said that he "hopes to finally start construction on Ballpark Village this fall, with a goal to open" the restaurant and other tenants by Opening Day in '14 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/27).
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