July 17, 2007

26.8 Million Recommended for Ballpark Village


JEFFERSON CITY -- The Missouri Department of Economic Development recommended today that the state pitch in about $26.8 million toward the development of
Ballpark Village, fortifying hopes that the project adjacent to Busch Stadium
can be completed by the time St. Louis hosts the Major League All Star game in
2009.

Mayor Francis Slay traveled to Jefferson City today to urge the board to sign
off on the project, vowing that it would create an entertainment district that
is unrivaled in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

"This really is a transformative project," he said.

The Cardinals and their development partner, Baltimore-based Cordish Co., are
seeking up to $115 million total in public funds, some of which has already
been approved by the city.

The team's vision for Ballpark Village calls for six-blocks of stores,
restaurants and entertainment on the grounds of what was the old Busch Stadium.
Plans include a Cardinals Hall of Fame, office space and themed restaurants,
like an ESPN Zone or Hard Rock Café, which appear in other Cordish developments
around the country.

Sallie Hemenway, of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said a
state review of the project suggests that it would be a solid investment for
the state, potentially triggering tens of millions of dollars of new tax
revenue.

"Most important for us is that is continues the state’s investment in downtown
St. Louis," she said.

"Things are right on track, and with a project of this size and complexity,
that’s not always the case," Blake Cordish, who is overseeing the development, said.

While the Cardinals have not announced when construction will begin, both City
Hall and the team want the Village and running by July 2009 – when the new
ballpark will host its first all-star Game.

Slay said today that if state financing is approved next month, a
groundbreaking could take place as early as September.

State financing is one of the final steps before construction can begin.