A Ground Breaking - Remembering Busch II 8 Years Later
Ground will finally be broken today for the long awaited Ballpark Village across Clark Street from Busch Stadium. this view of the remaining half of Busch Stadium II was taken in late 2005 as construction progressed on the current stadium.
For much of the last 8 years the site has looked like this, with a large surface lot on the east and a fenced softball field taking up a a bit less than the west half. The new Ballpark village has been pared down from several previous proposals, which may be a good thing. Once the infrastructure is in place dividing the large site into smaller blocks one can hope that future development might occur organically with several different mixed use buildings that might include office space, residential, etc. on upper floors and a mix of commercial uses on the ground floor that doesn't simply rely on a recipe of more chain bars that populate Cordish developments.
I am not one of the people that pines for the old stadium, as it is hard to beat the view of the arch and skyline beyond the game while seated in the present Busch Stadium. There are some things I miss about the old place though including the fact that it was nearly impossible to get lost and getting to your seat or to the hotdog and beer stand was a much more orderly and direct task that also happened to include more views of the city around you. The simplicity of the form of Busch II and of course the graceful ring of parabolic arches will also be missed, but the complete lack of street presence that is the result of a round form on a large square city block will not.
Vanishing STL was created to illustrate the continuing loss of irreplaceable architecture from landmark buildings to ordinary homes due to demolition, abandonment and neglect. Often I write about structures threatened with demolition to bring awareness of the situation and promote preservation as an alternative. All photos are by Paul Hohmann unless noted otherwise.