January 10, 2019

As $261 million Ballpark Village project approaches opening, apartments already leasing

It’s 18 months before anyone will be moving in, but the St. Louis Cardinals and their development partner, the Cordish Cos., say they’ve already signed up tenants for 25 percent of the apartments in the 297-unit apartment tower under construction next to Busch Stadium.

“It’s really unheard of,” said Nick Benjamin, Cordish’s vice president for development and managing director of multifamily housing. “It’s great. It just shows the enthusiasm the market has.”

Baltimore-based Cordish and the Cardinals began offering units in the 29-story residential tower in February, over two years before the anticipated completion. That’s pretty early in the industry, Benjamin said. But with a big chunk of the target market made up of those always-enthusiastic Cardinals fans, the project has a unique edge.

After breaking ground just more than a year ago, pieces of the $261 million mixed-use development that promises to transform the southern swath of downtown should be complete by the middle of the baseball season. Future taxes generated at the site are financing about $73 million of the cost.

Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III and Benjamin gave an update on the project Wednesday as they launched an interactive portal to give prospective renters 360-degree views of each unit in the apartment tower. Using drones to collect images that recreate what residents will see from their windows and balconies, the website offers sweeping views into Busch Stadium or toward the Gateway Arch and Mississippi River.

“There’s not one apartment that doesn’t have a special view of something,” Benjamin said.

A shared deck on the eighth level — above the already-constructed seven levels of indoor parking — will offer a bar and pool with views straight into Busch Stadium that are “basically a center field experience,” Benjamin said.

Rents are expected to range from about $1,300 a month for the smallest one-bedroom units up to $3,200 for larger two-bedroom units. Penthouse suites, as large as 2,600 square feet, would rent for $7,900 a month.

But first, the new 120,000-square-foot office building to the west along Eighth Street will open. The developers are working quickly to have it ready by August so their anchor tenant, accounting firm PwC, can move its St. Louis offices from Bank of America Plaza down the street to its new 50,000-square-foot digs in Ballpark Village. Benjamin said they hope to announce more office tenants by the end of March.

The new retail building, primarily occupied by a Onelife Fitness, should open a few months later in the fall. And about this time next year, the 216-room Live! by Loews hotel should be finished.

DeWitt said his new role as a co-developer is similar to owning a baseball team: You have to look ahead and stay optimistic about the future. And DeWitt said he is very optimistic about the change in atmosphere the mixed-use portion of Ballpark Village will bring to even those who don’t live there but still come downtown to watch baseball.

“It becomes a neighborhood,” DeWitt said. “Really, when you come to a Cardinals game, you’ll get that sense of a true community.”

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