Originally, the Cardinals had planned on having an elaborate “Ballpark Village” built around their new stadium, complete with office, retail, residential, and restaurant space. A grand plan indeed, and one that no doubt aided their effort in obtaining financing for their new stadium. The thing to remember about such plans, however, is that they can be changed radically by events like, oh, the emergence of a flaming crater in the place where this country’s real estate market used to be:
The Cardinals today announced their plans for the Ballpark Village site during this summer’s All-Star Game: a parking lot and a softball field.
The move is far less ambitious than their original plan to have a $365 million entertainment district greeting fans from around the country who visit St. Louis in July to see baseball’s best play at Busch Stadium . . .
. . . “The softball field and parking lot are temporary but welcomed improvements designed to provide additional amenities to our fans as we wait for final approvals on the larger Ballpark Village plan,” said Bill DeWitt, president of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Today and next week local governments in Miami will be voting on the Marlins’ ballpark proposal, and it seems like smaller towns are considering similar plans for minor league parks three or four times a year. Almost all of them continue to be premised on surrounding development, many of which themselves are called “Ballpark Villages” too. My guess: no one is including parking lots and softball fields in these proposals. Yet here they are in St. Louis, willing to serve as a giant warning sign to those who would spend the public’s money on grandiose commercial development schemes.
But if you’re on the city council, who are you gonna believe? The blueprints, or your own lyin’ eyes?