Despite the weak economy and shaky credit markets, Ballpark Village is still moving forward, Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III told the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Thursday.
Site work on the $320 million first phase of the long-awaited project will begin early next year, and the Cardinals and co-developer Cordish Co. are seeking approval for a $100 million tax increment financing bond to be issued in March. Once that happens, construction will start in earnest, DeWitt said.
"We're moving down the path," he said. "We're committed to the project."
DeWitt acknowledged that the volatile credit market had raised some questions about Ballpark Village. But he said he was confident that bond markets will improve by March. "We remain very optimistic," he said. "If some semblance of normalcy comes to the market and the range of volatility in the bond markets, we'll be in great shape."
The Cardinals and Cordish are due to present a site plan Nov. 6 to the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority, one of several agencies that must approve public funding for the project. They designed a new site plan after deciding to put off condominiums until phase two because of the weak housing market.
DeWitt gave a preview to the council, showing off the 20-story office building and entertainment district he hopes to build just north of Busch Stadium. The developers have lease agreements on 80 percent of the space in the first phase of Ballpark Village, contingent on March's bond sale, he said.