SBJ/June 20 - 26, 2005/SBJ In Depth

Cardinals hire developer for neighboring project

The St. Louis Cardinals have selected the Cordish Co. as the developer for Ballpark Village, an eight-acre mixed-use development downtown planned for land north of the new Busch Stadium.

Cordish, headquartered in Baltimore, handles a variety of real estate projects across the country. The fourth-generation, family owned company has transformed areas of Baltimore; Louisville, Ky.; Charleston, S.C.; and other cities into rejuvenated destinations for local residents and tourists.

Cordish currently is undertaking a nine-city-block retail, entertainment, office and residential project in downtown Kansas City’s Power and Light District, adjacent to the new Sprint Arena.

Cordish Co. will oversee work on Ballpark Village, an area north of the new Busch Stadium.
Bill DeWitt III, Cardinals senior vice president of development, has led the organization’s plans for Ballpark Village and the selection of Cordish.

Brothers Jonathan and Blake Cordish will lead the project for their company. Both emphasized the goal to make Ballpark Village unique to St. Louis and to draw both national and local tenants to the area’s planned retail and entertainment space. The village also will include residential and office space.

A public plaza in Ballpark Village will provide a gathering spot for fans. Also, the Cardinals will locate their team museum in the development.

National tenants at other Cordish developments have included ESPN Zone, Hard Rock Cafe, Barnes & Noble and Gold’s Gym.

The Cardinals own the Ballpark Village site and are obligated by the team’s deal with the city of St. Louis to create at least $60 million worth of development there. But Bill DeWitt Jr., Cardinals chairman and general partner, said the club expects to spend “multiples” of that amount to carry out its plans with Cordish.

The Cardinals and Cordish agreed to be 50-50 partners in the development.

Both parties will immediately begin to refine plans for the village based on conceptual plans already drawn up by the Cardinals. They will likely break ground in late 2006, several months after the new stadium is completed in time for Opening Day next April, DeWitt III said.

Cordish plans to open an office in St. Louis from which to operate during the development. As work progresses, as many as 30 Cordish employees may be staffed here, Blake Cordish said.

The company has in-house expertise in architecture, design, construction, engineering and leasing, but intends also to work with local subcontractors to carry out their plans. Details related to their local office location and subcontracting plans will be determined over the next several months, Cordish said.

Christopher Tritto writes for the St. Louis Business Journal.

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