Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ballpark Village

After all the talk that it would never happen, it is finally official. Ballpark Village will be built. It was made official in a story on Fox 2 News tonight. I have had the renderings since November 10, but it is nice to see that Ballpark Village is now officially designed and will be under construction by the end of the baseball season. Cordish of baltimore is the lead developer.

Ballpark Village will be a $450 million project covering six city blocks adjacent to the new Busch Stadium. The new development will have 1,200 condos in four towers, 450,000 square feet of retail, and 400,000 square feet of office space.

In my mind, the best feature of Ballpark Village is that it restores the street grid. The old Busch and the parking lot where the new Busch is was a giant superblock. While the new park is a superblack, it is in a spot where I think the stadium works well for it's size, right up against the highway where no through streets are anyway. Ballpark Village will be able to tie together the south end of downtown with the north end of downtown much better than the old Busch did. The village will be urban.

I find the design of the buildings to be good for the most part. Good mix of styles. Brick for the mid-rise buildings on the west end of the site, and all glass for the east end of the site. These buildings will make a dramatic difference in the skyline, and they offer a different style than much of downtown. The new towers should add a nice modern contrast to the surrounding historic buildings in Cupple's Station and the Tum's factory, along with the retro designed ballpark. I did a rough count of floor heights and it looks like there is one at 15, two buildings in the 15-20 range, one at 25, One at 26-27, and one at about 34 floors. And these towers will be in camera views shipped all over the country.

1,200 residents in a six block area also brings badly needed residential density to the south end of downtown, an area lacking much besides offices and useless parks. There needs to be many year round residents, not just fans and office workers, for an area to really thrive. Look at the area around Washington Ave. for an example of what good density can do.

But I am glad to here that office space will be in the project. There are several firms looking for large Class A spaces downtown, so hopefully some will consider Ballpark Village.

Being next to the new ballpark and having so many residents and shops should make for some nice pedestrian traffic on the streets. Another great urban aspect of this development. The open section of Busch should make for large crowds on Clark catching some of the games for free.

Overall, Cordish does good urban developments.

Now if we could just get something done about the ugly and anti-urban stadium parking garages.


Joe said...

I'll believe it when I see it, but it does sound good.

Since they are no longer attached to the stadium, I wouldn't be surprised if something does happen to those ugly parking garages. But let's wait for the Village to be completed first.

Anonymous said...

The garages aren't just used for the Stadium, but surrounding office buildings and hotels, including Bank of America, The Equitable Building, MCI Building and Millenium Hotel. Indeed the former office buildings listed have direct skywalk access over Walnut to repective Stadium West and East garages, and the latter hotel has tunnel access under Fourth Street.

Matt Fernandez said...

I understand the garages are not just used for the stadium, but something can still be done to make them more urban. Redesign the facades, open up space at the street level for retail and restaurants. Allow the garages to interact more with the surrounding urban environment instead of just being isolated supeblacks.