5 min read
Posted on 07.23.08
  • 5 min read
  • Posted on 07.23.08

From the St. Louis Cardinals, et al:

The St. Louis Cardinals, The Cordish Company and the Honorable Francis Slay, Mayor of the City of St. Louis, today announced that an agreement has been reached to proceed with the development of Ballpark Village, a world-class entertainment and lifestyle development planned north of the new Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis.

Ballpark Village will transform multiple blocks of downtown St. Louis into one of the premiere mixed-use developments in the United States, acting as an important catalyst for the continued revitalization of downtown St. Louis.

"This is an exciting day for the St. Louis Cardinals organization, our fans, and for the city of St. Louis," said Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals. "We greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in reaching this important milestone. We are absolutely committed to delivering a development of the highest quality for our fans and for the City."

DeWitt also noted that many developments of the same scope as Ballpark Village have stalled or been put on hold throughout the country, which makes this announcement all the more meaningful.

"The Cordish Company has been a terrific partner in working through an extremely complicated mixed-use, public/private development deal," DeWitt said. "We chose Cordish as our partner because of their track record in delivering these types of projects in other cities. But we have also been impressed with their design team's willingness to tailor this project to the specific characteristics of the St. Louis market."

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Wednesday that he supports the new agreement and will recommend it for immediate approval to the Board of Estimate & Apportionment, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and the State of Missouri.

"We are very pleased to be moving this project forward. It will undoubtedly have spin-off benefits for the entire metropolitan region," Mayor Slay said. He added: "In today's market, it is extremely rare to finance a development of this size without putting any existing tax dollars at risk. With zero City risk and zero City direct investment, Ballpark Village will create thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, generate tens of millions of tax dollars for City services, and create new office space to keep and attract high-paying professional jobs."

"Ballpark Village is going to be spectacular, and we are thrilled that an agreement has been reached," said Blake Cordish, senior vice president of The Cordish Company. "Most importantly, as we have experienced in other cities, Ballpark Village will act as an anchor for the continued renaissance of downtown St. Louis. We passionately believe in the future of St. Louis, as evidenced by what will be a multi-hundred-million-dollar investment in the City, and are committed to delivering a world-class development that will celebrate St. Louis and feature a connection between the ballpark and the City which will be unmatched in the U.S.

"The tenant interest in the project has been unflagging and overwhelming from the beginning. At the end of the day, when you have positive tenant interest, projects always find a way to happen. We look forward to making announcements as the development proceeds and opening a world-class development for the City, the Cardinals, and their fans."

DeWitt added that Ballpark Village will provide new class A office space which will help fill a void in the market. "With views of the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, downtown, and the river, Ballpark Village will offer signature office space unavailable anywhere else in the region," DeWitt said.

DeWitt, Mayor Slay and Cordish all commended Stifel Nicolaus and its chairman, Ron Kruszewski, for assisting in the complex negotiations which made today's announcement possible. Mayor Slay enlisted the company several months ago to help facilitate negotiations between the parties in a financial environment that was undergoing rapid change. Kruszewski commented, "We were charged with modifying the previous development agreement to give the development team more flexibility to respond to changing market conditions while also preserving the City's core principles, primarily that no existing taxpayer money or credit be put at risk in any way. This new agreement accomplishes all of these goals."

David Cordish, chairman of The Cordish Company, said, "The City administration should also be applauded for showing remarkable creativity in enlisting the private sector to help accomplish its goals. Stifel has spent hundreds of hours, noncompensated, and successfully helped structure a partnership between the developers and the City of St. Louis for a project that will dramatically change the St. Louis region for the better."

Highlights of the deal include:

• As with the previous agreement, the City is not at risk and does not use general funds to finance the public portion of the project - all public money comes from a portion of the future tax revenues of the project itself.

• Approximate phase 1 costs increase from $280m to over $320m and the approximate total project cost (phases 1 and 2) from $387m to over $600m.

• The percentage of city and state participation (plus TDD/CID assessments within the project) in the first phase decreases from 35% to 32% in the anticipated phase 1 and decreases from 30% to 24% upon the anticipated completion of phase 2.

• Over 3,000 construction jobs are expected to result from phase 1 development as well as over 2,000 permanent jobs.

• The office component is now a range of between 100,000 - 750,000 square feet in phase 1. The current plan for phase 1 calls for approximately 300,000 square feet of office.

• The retail component is now a range of between 225,000 and 360,000 square feet. The current plan for phase 1 calls for approximately 300,000 square feet of retail.

• The residential component is a range of between 100 and 250 units and will likely be developed in the second phase.

• The agreement enables increased office space as well as a hotel component in the first phase of Ballpark Village.

• Developer provides cost overrun protection.

• Developer provides completion guarantee backed by financial penalties.

The Cardinals and Cordish are expecting to begin construction on the site work for the project shortly. The exact date will be announced in the coming weeks. This will allow the developers to get a jump start on the construction schedule as the final approvals make their way through the City and State governmental bodies. The final closing for the public portion of the financing is expected to occur in early 2009.

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