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Cardinals' Ballpark Village could break ground by end of year

Officials with the St. Louis Cardinals say construction should begin on the much-delayed Ballpark Village by this coming fall.

The $100 million project received support Thursday from the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority—known as MODESA.

MODESA’s support frees up $17 million in bonds set to expire by the end of the year—a fact which has the Cardinals, their developer Cordish Co. and the City of St. Louis moving quickly to clear these last few hurdles.

Unlike the deal put forth in 2009, the Cardinals, together with Cordish will be purchasing and selling the bonds.

A fact which Cardinals President Bill Dewitt III says increases the team’s exposure, but not too much.

“We do take some risk, but we’re betting on ourselves, to execute on project adjacent to our ballpark, that completes the vision that we had for it when we started on it,” says DeWitt III.

Under the new deal Cordish will also be required to use $25 million of its own Federal New Market Tax Credits.  The City of St. Louis is forgoing some $12 million in local taxes spread over 35 years to support the project.

The complete plan now goes back to the city's board of aldermen for full vote, before going on to the Missouri Development Finance Board for the final approval.

According to the Cardinals phase one of the project is currently 80 percent leased and includes plans for a Anheuser-Busch brewpub and a Cardinals Hall of Fame restaurant.

Figures released by the Cardinals estimate the total tax revenue over the first 25 years could reach $127 million for the city of St. Louis and $118 million for the State of Missouri.

Follow Adam Allington on Twitter:  @aallington

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