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Cardinals seek tax incentives for Ballpark Village Phase II

Provided by the Cardinals
Artists' rendering of new apartment building and what it would look like from the Busch Stadium. The 29-story building is just part of Phase II of Ballpark Village.

The next phase of Ballpark Village would change the look of downtown St. Louis.

The Cardinals, along with development partner Cordish, plan to build a 29-story apartment building at the corner of Clark Avenue and Broadway Avenue, just north of Busch Stadium.

“It would really be a show stopper for the city skyline,” said Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III after a meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen's Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee on Wednesday.

The plan also includes construction of the first Class A office building in downtown since 1989, as well as more parking and retail space.

The project would create 1,500 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent new jobs, according to the team.

But the $220 million project depends on about $65 million in tax incentives from the city and state. That includes:

  • $42,936,498 in TIF bonds from the city as part of the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority
  • $6,890,544 in tax revenue from a 1% sales tax as part of a Community Improvement District
  • $6,695,652 in tax revenue from a 1% sales tax as part of a Transportation Development District
  • $8,878,050 in the state’s share of the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority

Legislation for the city’s portion came before the aldermanic committee on Wednesday. The sponsor, Alderman Jack Coatar, 7th Ward, said it would mean a portion of taxes would go toward paying off the bonds.
“These are tax dollars generated at Ballpark Village, not from anywhere else; they’re not coming from general revenue,” Coatar said. “This is money that ‘but for’ this project wouldn’t be generated elsewhere.”

The St. Louis Development Corporation projects the city would net about $4 million in new tax revenue over 10 years. The TIF itself end in 2037 but could be paid off earlier. That’s even factoring in that some restaurants, residents and jobs would likely be pulled from elsewhere in the city.

The city’s development officials recommended aldermen approve the package. Yet members of the HUDZ committee asked that the vote be put off, so that they could better understand the numbers.

Alderwoman Cara Spencer, 20th Ward said the project looked “beautiful,” but she said the presentation of the numbers from the SLDC left her frustrated.

“We’ve clearly spent a lot of time envisioning a beautiful space downtown and we come before our committee and we’re very unprepared to discuss the numbers,” Spencer said.

The committee expects to vote instead at its next meeting, on Nov. 30.

DeWitt said the delayed vote should not affect the project’s timeline. He said the Cardinals hope to break ground in the second half of 2017 and completion is expected in early 2019.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.