After years of rainouts, St. Louis’ Ballpark Village recently had its opening day. Built on a 10-acre parcel that formerly housed the old Busch Memorial Stadium, the Cordish Companies development offers an array of bars, clubs, and retail vendors, as well as an assortment of visual salutes to the city’s Cardinals ball club, which embarked on its regular season a week after the March 27 opening.
At the heart of the project is the Live! marketplace, a hangar-like 20,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment area lined with a banner of TVs made to resemble a ballpark balcony. The space is flanked on one side by another food and drink section, this one honoring hometown brewer Budweiser, and on the other by a 34,000-square-foot retail venue featuring an historic exhibition on the Cardinals.
First announced in 2007, the Ball Park Village project stalled through the financial slump and saw a number of design changes—and at least one tenant pull-out—before finally breaking ground last year.
Michael Pandolfi of Jeffrey Beers International, who did indoor work on the MXfinity Live! development in Philadelphia, led the design for the project’s interior spaces. Pandolfi said that the Philly project gave his team some insight into the possibilities of the St. Louis development. “We learned that these spaces need to be social,” he said.
In addition to taking cues from the current Busch Stadium, which sits just south of the site, the interior design team drew inspiration from buildings found in the nearby Couples Warehouse district. Elements from these warehouse and factory structures were reprised in the village’s exposed concrete, black steel beams, and industrial-style skylighting.
“We wanted it to look as though maybe the building was at one point an existing warehouse, and it was rehabbed into the Ballpark Village,” he said. “The goal was that it wouldn’t feel like a brand new building, but rather something that was part of the make up of that area.”
The development’s construction team utilized a sideplate structural system, consisting of “large columns and beam connections that eliminate the need for conventional cross bracing enabling the building design greater flexibility and wide open spaces,” said Matthew T. Herbert of Baltimore-based Design Collective, the project’s exterior design firm.
Like any downtown project, Ballpark Village has its share of critics, most of whom balked at the dress code—prospective villagers were dismayed to learn that they would not be allowed to enter the building’s bars and clubs while wearing sweatpants—than at its somewhat muted facade, which is hidden behind the building’s elaborate corporate signage.
Plans for the future build-out of the remaining property, which currently serves as a parking lot, have yet to be revealed. Total costs for the project’s first phase came in at $100 million.