The Devolution of Ballpark Village and the Proposed Street Grid

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The gleaming glass towers of Ballpark Village are so last decade. We're all used to the idea of a scaled down vision, less the site of a new corporate headquarters and more home to a bull riding bar. The one saving element of the plan, through the ups and downs of development promises, has been the restoration of the street grid. While seemingly under attack everywhere else (along Washington Avenue, at the Arch, even Chestnut, not to mention residential streets throughout the city), the vision of a former superblock becoming six square city blocks was wonderful. Yet that vision may essentially be gone. Follow through the images below for a rough timeline showing the devolution of Ballpark Village.

Ballpark Village
{early plan showed a large central pedestrian space with adjacent streets}

Ballpark Village
{streets break up the superblock in this early rendering}

bpv_site plan
{the large central space was then broken up and a more coherent street grid introduced}

BBV Brochure_010912_2_Page_08_crop
{eventually parking replaced buildings as further development waited}

the plan of early 2013 shows fewer streets and 710 parking spaces - 2013
{the plan of early 2013 shows fewer streets and 710 parking spaces – 2013}

Ballpark Village, St. Louis - 2013

Ballpark Village, St. Louis - 2013

Ballpark Village, St. Louis - 2013
{the rendering from Clark has been featured in print and news stories – 2013}

Ballpark Village, St. Louis - 2013
{the view looking south from the parking lot is quite a bit less attractive – 2013}

Ballpark Village, St. Louis - 2013

Ballpark Village
{long gone are the days of glass skyscrapers filling the village – c. 2007}

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  • Another thing, these Cordish developments are are becoming very uniform. Cordish has PBR bars in Baltimore (Power Plant Live!), Kansas City (Power and Light), Louisville (4th Street Live!), Houston (Bayou Place), Hampton (Hampton Roads), and just about every other development! So… Why even have a press conference stating that this Hoosier bar is coming to our urban center? Shouldn’t we have already known?

  • T-Leb

    Long gone? Anything can happen when the economy heats back up. Money on the sidelines will look for places to go, like water finding gravity.

    • Alex Ihnen

      This is true. I hope that a new plan is developed before investors return.

      • STLEnginerd

        I think we need to hope investors return so they can develop a plan because as of right now the plan seems to be to operate a parking lot.

        On the plus side MAYBE a parking lot so close to the stadium will starve out some of the smaller lots. They sell out to build actually building on them. Probably dreaming.

  • Presbyterian

    Wait … Is that an old timey street light planted directly into the blacktop? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Classy. Our $17million in MoDESA public bonds have to go toward public infrastructure costs. I always imagine $17million buying something more — oh, I don’t know — more infrastructury.

  • The partnership with the Cordish Company has been a disaster since the beginning. This spot has so much potential for real, sustainable, and dense internal urban growth. Instead, we get a faux brick imitation of the world’s largest Buffalo Wild Wings. The city’s goal should be simple… density! Anything that contradicts this goal (surface parking?) should be shot down. Once any measure of density has been achieved, the city/developers will no longer have to beg businesses (grocery/retail/restaurants) to come to the area. It will happen naturally. The fact that Cordish and the Cardinals are excited that PBR decided to grace this development with their presence shows us all how poorly this whole project was handled. Ugh…

    • samizdat

      I just wanted to say, in response to this: “…we get a faux brick imitation of the world’s largest Buffalo Wild Wings.”,

      Bravo, sir, bravo!

  • RyleyinSTL

    Kill it with fire!

    Oh wonderful…a square warehouse covered in styrofoam, stucco and advertisements surrounded buy nearly 1000 parking spaces! A suburban strip mall development right in the middle of downtown, how amazing!!! I guess we should all count our blessings that Cordish didn’t try to build this in Fenton instead.

    Why don’t we just start using the lot as a garbage dump instead, I hear the one next to the city is full.

    If you can’t build anything nice then don’t build anything at all….just plant some grass and get out of my city.

  • Looks like it wants to be Wrigleyville, but in a KC Power & Light District kind of way.

    • It does have that feel from the renderings. To me the most important thing would be to maintain the street grid as much as possible (even if some of it is just a plaza) and use the stadium as a terminating vista. That will give “Ballpark Village” the best shot at becoming a piece of downtown, instead of this dead end next to it.

      Wrigley Field is neat because you can all the sudden turn down certain streets and be like “oh there’s a baseball stadium”. It’s a piece of the fabric, instead of a new quilt all on its own.

  • If I were the City, I’d be tempted to INSIST that the Cardinals maintain their unused space as…well, unused space. Give it the SLU treatment and make it an unused and — more importantly — un-revenue-generating grass lot.

    At least with that stigma, they might…might…recognize an immediate need for the development they initially promised when selling the new stadium and retaining their entertainment tax dollars (#Golterman’d).

    With the parking lots in place and the respective revenue coming their way, they won’t — nay, SHOULDN’T — feel immediate pressure/backlash to develop the site they initially proposed. Under this design, plan on that same massive lot for the next 5+ years and MAYBE a McDonald’s somewhere along the way (at least that, I suspect, would be a walk-up/in only…again, maybe).

  • Mark Brown

    In my opinion, neither the St. Louis Cardinals nor The Cordish Companies respect St. Louis. How dare they plop a mall right in the heart of downtown. We’ve been down this mall road too many times St. Louis. I like the dirt lot better. The City of St. Louis is too passive and settles for anything. We need to protest.

  • UrbanCentrist

    Cars and surface parking…ugh. The most redeeming feature of surface lots? They can be built upon with relative ease. Their worst feature? Saint Louis suburbanites just CANNOT get enough of them! I’d at least like to see a “transitional” development with garages for those who aren’t yet ready to ditch the car combined with retail, etc on lower levels, oriented to the street and transit (a la the Loop Public garage). Too much to hope for? I hope not.

    • Psycho Tim

      It’s not just the suburbanites that love cars and parking lots. Considering that Metrolink fails to hit significant population centers, how do you think people get around? And please, don’t say the bus.

      • JNOnSTL

        What’s wrong with the bus? People need to lose their stigma of riding a bus. For going downtown to a baseball game, they are perfect. More than a dozen lines stop within a few blocks of the stadium. You don’t worry about parking a car, and you don’t worry about drinking too much and driving.

        • I love taking the #10 to get to games, but I don’t have too far to travel.


    So. Terrible. So. Ugly. Must. Find. Toilet. Must. Puke.

    My skin crawls when I see this monstrosity. Gotta love the way that they’ve turned the structure into a giant billboard (I know, I know, I’ve been to a stadium before, lot’s of ad space, but ick, have some integrity). I like how they add two decks of seats so they can squeeze out some more ticket sales.