St. Louis (KSDK) - After nearly a decade of delays, Ballpark Village is one step closer to becoming a reality.
On Thursday, the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority gave the project the thumbs up. It's a step forward in a process that's generated excitement, frustration and skepticism.
The first phase of the project will house about 100,000-square feet of entertainment and retail space. Developers say 80 percent of which is already pre-leased. Also planned is an area for live music and shows.
Developers plan to use union and minority labor and hope to make Ballpark Village an environmentally friendly project. They also say the project will create nearly 800 construction jobs and 450 permanent jobs.
The first phase is expected to cost $100 million and will rely partly on public tax money. Cardinals President Bill Dewitt III says this deal, unlike the one approved in 2009, is much less risky for the city.
"The city isn't writing a check," said DeWitt. "There's no exposure to their general fund. And if the project does not do well, the Cardinals and (developer) Cordish are on the hook for having purchased those bonds that don't pay off. There's no city exposure, no state exposure."
The project still needs approval from the city's Board of Aldermen. That could come later this month. It would then need to be approved by the state.
If all goes according to plan, construction could start as early as this fall and Ballpark Village could open by spring 2014.