We started Saturday's City to River walking tour at Busch Stadium at the Stan Musual statue across from the MetroLink Station to emphasize the lack of a direct connection between two of Downtown St. Louis' top attractions, the Arch and Busch Stadium. Before we were able to make this point though, we walked past the six block reminder of broken promises by the St. Louis Cardinals organization to develop Ballpark Village north of the stadium.
Four and a half years after the demolition of the old Busch Stadium, Ballpark village today remains a large asphalt surface parking lot, a softball field, complete with cross slope and a small lake all surrounded by a beautiful chain link fence. Across the state however in Kansas City, Cordish, the developer who was to build Ballpark Village completed last year the Power & Light District, which bears striking similarities what Ballpark Village would have been, including tenant mix.
Yesterday an article in the Post Dispatch about incentives used to keep large office tenants Downtown was a stinging reminder of the loss of the Centene Headquarters, to Clayton, the nearly completed development which I covered in my last post. One thing seems certain and that is when the economy does finally recover, the likelihood of a developer coming in and developer coming in and building a six block development at once is slim. The street grid should be returned and the project should be broken up into the separate blocks that once occupied the area.
I have to wonder, if this had occurred from the beginning right after the demolition of Busch, would Centene have been able to come in and simply acquire the two blocks they wanted and built their buildings without being mired down in a complex series of negotiations between a "master developer" and the City, or would we still be stuck with the same field of broken promises?