Monday, June 28, 2010

Phase I of Ballpark Village to be Scaled Back?

At a recent gathering of commercial real estate professionals, Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III told the crowd that efforts to finance the construction of Ballpark Village have progressed in recent months.  Of course, we've heard this song before on several other occasions, and Ballpark Village still consists of just a softball field and a parking lot (which looks absolutely atrocious on TV).

The interesting aspect of DeWitt's presentation was the revelation that the plans for the first phase of the development have been phased back a bit.  This could actually be a good thing.

According to DeWitt, phase I of Ballpark Village will be built on the tow blocks at the southeast corner of the development's 10-acre site, directly across from Busch Stadium at the northwest corner of Broadway and Clark.  It will consist of a new office tower totaling somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 sf, as well as retail and restaurant space.  As a point of comparison, the Deloitte Building at 100 S. Fourth Street is approximately 250,000 sf.  It's also worth noting that the Deloitte Building has historically enjoyed stable, high occupancy rates compared to other downtown properties.

With Stifel Nicolaus planning to lease at least 175,000 sf, building a smaller office building could help minimize the potential for another round of musical chairs among downtown office tenants.  Stifel's four-plus floors in One Financial Plaza...And finally having tangible construction underway could help generate interest among prospective tenants for office space in future phases.


Yet Another St. Louis Blog by Kevin B. said...

Well, about damn time (he says, fully expecting another two years of inactivity on the property).

Seriously, save us the reassurances that it's going to happen, Cardinals, and - you know - start making it happen. I'm really happy to see they recognize (hopefully...) that it's okay to build this thing piecemeal -- you're right, any development can only increase other potential tenants/developers confidence in the area.

Mark my words though, if there is no forward movement in the offseason, I will personally climb the fence, put a chair and a radio in the middle of that field and invite others to come in for a pick-up game. Weird, I know, to actually use the ballfield they put up, right?

Anonymous said...

What a dissappointment if we can't get at least 150,000 to 200,000 sf of speculative office space out of the first class A officer tower in decades. Sorry, but Stifel Nichols and DeWitt's risk adverse mentality probably has cost them at least two tenants, first being the law firm that bailed and now most likely Peabody. Simply put, Downtown is not going to make the next big jump forward until someone takes risk.

Matt Kastner said...

We all want to see Downtown development to be coming a quicker pace, but do you know what would be worse than the status quo: a huge failure. Ballpark Village has the potential to help really transform Downtown. But if done wrong, it could be another St. Louis Center. The reality is that we are still in a recession. Perhaps even a double-dip recession not yet half over. No question that the Cardinals have screwed up the projects implementation, but the most important thing is that it is done right in the end.